$7,000 worth of donuts and coffee for cops at RNC
$11 million that went to Freeman Companies, the Dallas-based general contractor that oversaw the renovation work at Madison Square Garden; the $1.4 million that went to Cathy Blaney & Associates, the host committee's chief fund-raiser; the $7,000 worth of donuts and coffee distributed to host committee staff members and police officers; the $2,269 spent on bowling at Chelsea Piers; and the $6,192 spent at the Stage Door Deli and Restaurant.
"$7,000 worth of donuts and coffee distributed to host committee staff
> members and police
> Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company
> The New York Times
> October 14, 2004 Thursday
> Late Edition - Final
> SECTION: Section B; Column 2; Metropolitan Desk; Pg. 1
> LENGTH: 1137 words
> HEADLINE: G.O.P. Convention Cost $154 Million, Most of It Donated
> BYLINE: By MICHAEL SLACKMAN
> The four-day Republican National Convention cost more than $154
> million to
> stage, with the New York City Host Committee raising $84 million in
> cash and
> other contributions, making the 19 hours of speeches and two years of
> by far the most expensive such event in the nation's history.
> A detailed report filed yesterday with the Federal Election
> Commission shows
> that the New York City Host Committee spent millions of dollars on a
> wide range
> of expenses, from $93,516 at the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South and
> on limousine services to $281,000 to build the circular stage that
> Bush used to make his acceptance speech on the last night.
> The report details items large and small, including the $11
> million that
> went to Freeman Companies, the Dallas-based general contractor that
> oversaw the
> renovation work at Madison Square Garden; the $1.4 million that went to
> Blaney & Associates, the host committee's chief fund-raiser; the $7,000
> worth of
> donuts and coffee distributed to host committee staff members and police
> officers; the $2,269 spent on bowling at Chelsea Piers; and the $6,192
> spent at
> the Stage Door Deli and Restaurant.
> The 2,294-page filing covers fund-raising and expenses over a
> period, and it documents an unprecedented success at having
> corporations and
> wealthy political partisans help pay for the event. Recent federal laws
> have put
> new restrictions of campaign spending, but the conventions remain a
> vehicle for corporations to give unlimited cash contributions.
> Top donors to the convention included Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg,
> who was
> the largest single giver, donating $5 million in cash and also paying
> for $2
> million in legal and accounting services; David Rockefeller, who
> contributed $5
> million; Goldman Sachs, which gave $1.15 million; Merrill Lynch, which
> gave $1.1
> million; and I.B.M., which provided $2.45 million in computer equipment
> In addition to the $81.6 million spent by the New York host
> committee, the
> overall convention cost includes about $58 million that the city spent
> on police
> and other services, most of which will be reimbursed by the federal
> and $15 million in federal money that went to the Republican Party to
> pay for
> the convention staff salaries, which covered expenses like the $207,000
> spent on
> the balloons that dropped from the ceiling after the president's speech.
> In monetary terms alone, New York's effort for the convention --
> from Aug.
> 30 to Sept. 2 -- made others pale in comparison. The Boston host
> raised $54 million for the Democratic National Convention in July, and
> about $48 million of that. Beyond that, the city of Boston spent about
> million on police and security, and, like the Republicans, the Democrats
> received $15 million from the federal government.
> The costs for both events are higher still when factoring in Secret
> costs, as well as the spending of other law enforcement agencies, like
> F.B.I. But New York's financial liability may well go even higher,
> since the
> city is expected to face civil lawsuits from some of the approximately
> people who were arrested during the protests during the convention.
> Nevertheless, the bulk of the cost thus far has been covered by
> donations -- a fact the city says is commendable, because it spared
> the burden of paying for the event. But government watchdog groups have
> criticized such donations as a potentially corrupting influence on
> politics and
> Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday that with the nearly $50 million
> subsidy to offset security costs, the out-of-pocket cost to city
> taxpayers was
> just under $8 million, which he said was offset by a $4 million surplus
> that the
> host committee is expected to donate to the city and about $4.5 million
> in goods
> given to the committee, like computer and telephone systems, that will
> be passed
> along to the city.
> ''The numbers will basically show that it's good news for the
> city,'' Mr.
> Bloomberg said yesterday. ''We raised all the money privately.''
> But if the mayor was hoping that the bright financial picture he
> would be a net plus for his political career, Democratic mayoral
> hopefuls were
> hoping to emphasize that the event helped the re-election effort of
> Bush, who polls show is unpopular among New York voters. Gifford
> Miller, a
> Democrat and mayoral hopeful who is now speaker of the City Council,
> questioned the mayor's accounting of the benefit to the city. ''As
> George Bush
> might say, this looks a bit like fuzzy math,'' he said.
> But, he said: ''To me the issue was never really about the money.
> It is a
> good thing for us to be in the center of the political discussion, if
> and only
> if we used it as an opportunity to make New York's case.''
> At the same time, government watchdog groups argued that the
> reliance on
> private donors undermined Congress's intention to have the conventions
> financed. The private donors included The New York Times, which
> $750,000 in advertising and $750,000 to help buy tickets to Broadway
> shows for
> state delegations.
> After the Watergate scandal, Congress enacted a requirement that
> be entirely publicly financed as a way to head off possible corruption
> corporate influence in politics, said Larry Noble, a former general
> counsel to
> the Federal Election Commission who is now executive director of the
> Center for
> Responsive Politics in Washington. But convention host committees,
> which have
> tax-exempt status in part because they are supposed to be in the
> business of
> promoting the host cities, have increasingly emerged as a vehicle for
> using soft
> money -- or unlimited corporate contributions -- to finance such events.
> The election commission has given host committees a wide variety of
> restrictions on what they may pay for. So when the Republicans came to
> Square Garden, the host committee could not pay for the balloons that
> dropped on
> the president but it could pay the $1.1 million for the stage set, which
> included the dramatic overnight construction that allowed Mr. Bush to
> the convention from a raised round stage emblazoned with the
> presidential seal.
> ''If you look at the way they work it, the fiction is the host
> committee is
> really working for the city and not directly supporting the parties,''
> Mr. Noble
> said. ''But what is going on is when the parties negotiate the
> contract, they
> put more and more of the financial burden on the host committees.''
> Robert Biersack, an election commission spokesman, acknowledged
> that the
> line is somewhat fuzzy. ''They are not supposed to spend money on the
> conduct of the convention,'' Mr. Biersack said. ''Usually that means
> the convention itself, messages from the podium, but it is fairly
> URL: http://www.nytimes.com
> GRAPHIC: Photo: The circular stage used on the last night of the
> convention cost $281,000. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty
> Images)Chart/Photos: '
> 'ADDING IT UP: The Cost of a Convention''More than $154 million was
> spent on the
> Republican National Convention.Host Committeeresponsible for planning
> promoting conventionTotal raised: $83,514,000 from cash and in-kind
> contributionsExample: Rent, Madison Square Garden -- $3,927,088TOTAL
> SPENT --
> $81.6 million*New York Cityresponsible for government services including
> securityTotal raised: $49,852,500 from a federal security grantExample:
> Security, N.Y.P.D. -- $54,200,000TOTAL SPENT -- $57.7 millionCommittee
> Arrangementsresponsible for running conventionTotal raised:
> $15,000,000+ from a
> federal grantExample: Balloons -- $207,000TOTAL SPENT -- $15.0
> million+Convention Total: more than $154 million*Projected
> by Federal Election Commission filings)(pg. B8)
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