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On the Guest List

As the Republican National Convention rolls on in St. Paul just a reminder to check in on the exploits of Nancy Watzman at the Sunlight Foundation who has been trying, with varied success, to gain access to the fancy corporate-sponsored parties that crop up around the conventions. Last week she traipsed all over Denver trying to get past the velvet rope and this week she's trying her luck with the Republican bouncers. Check our her updates here!

Signs of Shame?

Once bitten twice shy? Or actually, bitten quite a few times and now at least marginally chastised: it appears that years of scandal have taken their toll on the party schedule surrounding the Republican National Convention in St. Paul this week. There are still parties-a-plenty put on by lobbying powerhouses and corporations alike but the glitz is a bit more muted this time out.

Party Animals

Who knows, maybe the curbs on ostentatious currying of favor with lawmakers inside the Beltway (no golf games funded by Exxon! No sandwiches!) have sent corporations and their lobbyists into overdrive because they're packing in enough partying (read: writing checks to candidates) during the conventions in Denver and the Twin Cities to stay hungover well into October.

Under Surveillance

Just how well are those new ethics laws working out when it comes to corporations and their lobbyists throwing big parties for lawmakers attending the party conventions this week and next? The watchdogs of Washington, DC are looking to find out and now they're in Denver paying visits -- or at least trying to -- to the many events being put on by companies with a very real interest in getting legislators on their side.

Convening at the Convention

All this week the media's critical eye will be trained on the Democratic National Convention, Sen. Barack Obama and his newly minted running mate Sen. Joe Biden as they make their case for the White House. Today that means a raft of stories dissecting the role that corporate money and the ever-present big donors play in this multi-day spectacle.

Conventional Practices

The Democratic and Republican National Conventions are nearly upon us, and in and amidst the rampant VP speculation and who-invited-who gossip it bears repeating that conventions are a major vehicle for corporations and lobbyists to pour cash into lavish parties for political VIPs. Campaign contributions may have a few limits on them, but when it comes to these schmooze-fests, the sky's the limit. Champagne waterfalls all around.

Conventional Tactics

We've noted on several occasions the major loophole provided by Democratic and Republican conventions for corporations to flex their contribution muscles. Conventions don't fit under the guidelines that restrict corporate giving to candidates and parties, so the multi-million dollar events are a good opportunity for corporate interests to give generously - and reap the benefits.

Convention Cash

A big loophole allows corporations to pour money into the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions in exchange for access to lawmakers. The Denver Post examines the scramble for money in the 2008 host cities, Denver and Minneapolis and finds discomfort among both those raising the money and those giving it about what is going on.

Awareness is growing of the negative public attitudes towards the mingling of money and enhanced access to public officials: