PHILADELPHIA – The major parties’ political pep rallies may be over, but the costs live on for American taxpayers.
While the 113th Congress in 2014 eliminated the 40-year-old Presidential Election Campaign Fund – and the $18-plus million that went to each party committee for its convention, the 114th Congress passed a law giving a combined $100 million – $50 million to each committee – to cover security costs.
Several blocks surrounding the Wells Fargo Center, site of this week’s Democratic National Convention, looked like a militarized zone. Black metal fencing lined the sidewalks and streets, with some law enforcement in battle armor, some patrolling in Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, thousands more securing the area. A similar situation prevailed in Cleveland last week.
Taxpayers from the host cities and counties of the Republican and Democratic Party conventions paid millions of dollars preparing for and putting on the partisan shows.
Philly.com has estimated the total cost of the Democratic convention at $85 million, with much of that price tag going to cover the hefty costs of equipment, lighting, food and the hundreds of employees needed to make it all happen. Labor costs, of course, could be higher if the organizing Democrats would have supplemented the hourly wages up to the $15 or more they have called for in their “most progressive platform ever.”
The GOP’s Cleveland Host Committee set a goal of raising $64 million to pay for the Republican Party convention, according to Yahoo Finance.
The parties’ committees raise millions of dollars to help pay for the conventions, bolstered by expanded federal contribution limits for individual and political action committees.
The Cleveland and Philadelphia metropolitan areas project hundreds of millions of dollars in economic impact, a pretty decent return on investment. But taxpayers from most everywhere else in the country are left paying much of the bill for these partisan parties.