Wednesday, May 16, 2012

DNC CEO Steve Kerrigan talks convention -- sort of

Steve Kerrigan, the CEO of the Democratic National Convention Committee, stopped by the editorial board this morning. Kerrigan is bright and engaging, a guy with whom it'd be fun to have a beer. But for the leader of "the most open and accessible convention in history," he sure dodged a lot of questions.

When, for example, will Charlotte residents and uptown businesses be informed about security requirements and how their lives will be affected?

"Months in advance," Kerrigan said. How many months? Kerrigan declined to be more specific. For families and businesses trying to plan for summer, yesterday would be good.

How much have you raised toward the $37 million the convention needs?

"We're right on track." How much is that? "We're right on track."

Are you concerned about any potential damage to Democrats resulting from the mess with David Parker, the chairman of the N.C. Democratic Party who promised to resign after a sexual harassment scandal at party headquarters but has decided to stay on?

"David Parker is a good Democrat," he said, preferring to let the state party sort out its own matters.

Kerrigan was more talkative on other issues. He repeated that he was proud of the Democrats' promise not to raise money from corporations or lobbyists for the convention. When we pointed out that the host committee is raising millions of corporate dollars to pay for an array of expenses, he said that the host committee and the DNC committee are separate, and if the host committee wants to raise corporate dollars, that's their business. When we suggested that to the public that may appear to be splitting hairs, he said, "It's an important hair to split."

Kerrigan was also refreshingly open about the fact that politics was a major consideration in bringing the convention to Charlotte. "This is going to be a nail-biter of a state, a nail-biter of an election," he said, and that swing-state status was one of the main reasons Obama is coming here in September. Kerrigan said that when he worked to bring the DNC to safely Democratic Boston in 2004, he argued that where the convention is held matters little when it comes to winning a state. Now he argues the opposite, and says that's because the convention has changed -- from just "a TV show" to a tool for recruiting volunteers, registering people to vote and otherwise engaging with voters.

Asked how a proposed new voter ID law could affect President Obama's chances in North Carolina, Kerrigan said: "It's people playing politics with people's rights. Voting is a fundamental American right."

-- Taylor Batten


Notorious L.E.V. said...

Taylor...excellent article!

Skippy said...

Or he could be lying about the corporate cash thing, imagine that. Everything about this adminstration has been a colossal joke:

The stealthy reversal was highlighted by the Wall Street Journal, which exposed a fund-raising group dubbed the New American City fund.

Money raised by the fund will be used to “defray administrative expenses incurred by the host committee organizations themselves, such as salaries, rent, travel and insurance,” according to a document filed with the Federal Election Commission.

The fund was created in April 2011, only two months after top Democrats announced that they would not use corporate funds for their convention.

The fund plans to raise at least $10 million. It is already getting money from Bank of America and Duke Energy, both of which are based in Charlotte. According to the Wall Street Journal, the third largest donor is Wells Fargo bank, which recently bought a Charlotte-based bank, Wachovia Corp.

Democrats defended the financial maneuvers.

“The [convention] host committee is not accepting corporate money for the convention,” Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the host committee, told the Wall Street Journal. “But if the host committee does things to promote Charlotte, the rules don’t apply

Read more:

Skippy said...

And that whole voter fraud thing of course does not exist. This coming from the party that thought it was a good idea to vote in the ex ACORN lawyer whose mentor was Frank Marshal Davis, a 100% raging communist.