The Democratic National Convention is set to wrap up on Thursday night with Hillary Clinton accepting the party’s presidential nomination.
Over the course of the convention’s four days, Philadelphia, the birthplace of American Democracy and a city of 1.56 million, will host 40,000 party delegates, media and other visitors. Putting on a good show for all those in the Wells Fargo Center and the millions watching on TV isn’t cheap.
When bidding to host the convention, Philadelphia set a budget of $84 million for the event. Most of that money will come from two groups: the Democratic National Convention Committee 2016 and the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee, both of which rely on private donors. The DNC committee raised over $7 million, and the Host Committee had nearly reached its $60 million fundraising goal, according to a July 22 report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group. In total, private and corporate donors are expected to contribute $67.2 million, making this the most expensive Democratic convention in terms of private fundraising.
That makes the total cost of the convention $127 million, more expensive than the Republican National Convention last week.
Who are the private donors shelling out big bucks for the Democrats? Among them is Eric Schoenberg, an adjunct associate professor at Wharton and chair of IT company CampusWorks,
who gave $100,000 in the hopes of preventing Trump, his school’s alumnus, from winning in November. The convention’s website lists AT&T, Microsoft, Samsung, Twitter, Facebook and others as sponsors.
Beyond that list, there’s a gaping hole; the host committee has not released its donor contribution list. The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records required the DNC host committee to immediately disclose its list of donors on June 14. Host Committee Chair Ed Rendell refused; he claims that the Federal Election Commission does not require a public donor list until 60 days after the convention.
The DNC committee spends more than half of its budget for the convention on staff. More than a quarter of the host committee’s budget goes toward reserving Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center. The host committee also paid $200,000 for 57 local artist-decorated fiberglass donkeys that have been installed across the city, complete with a Pokémon Go-style scavenger hunt. The City of Philadelphia plans to spend $695,700 on preparations for and work during the convention, including cleaning, employee overtime, patriotic decorations and “homeless outreach.”
Cities vie to host presidential conventions in the hopes that thousands of visitors will pour money into their economies. Philadelphia expects to bring in $300 million over the course of the convention. Visitors will reserve 15,000 hotel rooms, and more than 5,200 people will stay in Airbnb rooms, apartments and homes. The average Airbnb host will make $850 over the course of the week.
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