26 February 2010

Corporations Buy Access

NY Times: For Donors to Governors’ Associations, Cash Buys a Seat at the Table

Operating outside the laws that block federal candidates and party committees from taking money from unions or businesses, the Democratic governors’ group — and its Republican counterpart — are case studies in corporate political fund-raising. The two associations brought in a total of more than $100 million over the last two years, and each started this year with more cash than its national party.

Both the Republican and the Democratic groups essentially sell access to governors and their staffs as part of corporate “membership” packages. Both often remind donors that state executives also exert influence in Washington, partly through their decisive role in redrawing Congressional districts.

At the moment, though, the Democrats’ efforts are more noteworthy. Their governors have overcome the national party’s antibusiness image to pull closer to the Republicans in corporate fund-raising. And the governors’ association’s eager courtship of corporate money is at odds with warnings from Congressional Democrats in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision that such spending is a threat to democracy.

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