In recent days, Ed Rendell, the former Pennsylvania governor and chairman of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee for the Democratic National Convention, has said the party is “$15 to $16 million” short of its $64 million goal, according to a source who spoke with Rendell.
Reached by BuzzFeed News, he said the figure is actually more like $9.5 million.
“Including pledges from companies I know are going to write the check, we’re $9 to $10 million down,” Rendell said. “It’s a legitimate gap but we’re touching every base to fill it.”
The former Democratic National Committee chairman said context is necessary; in 2012, the federal government chipped in $18 million. The city of Philadelphia is not giving any money, which he said would have been up to $7.75 million.
“So we’re down $25.75 million,” he said. “It’s been a heavy lift.”
Rendell also said there is one more person to blame: Donald Trump, whose polarizing ascension has made corporations skittish about giving to the RNC; corporations often give to both party conventions evenly, so if companies reduce RNC contributions, they’re likely to reduce DNC contributions, as well.
“So we’ve had three blows,” he joked. “The fed, the city, and the Trumpster.”
Rendell said he was confident Democrats would have the full $64 million by July 25. In 2012, the Charlotte convention ended up $25 million short, a bill that was footed mostly by the DNC. “We’re determined to not let that happen,” he added.
(One difference between this time and last time, however, is that Democrats have lifted the ban on lobbyist and political action committee donations to conventions — an Obama-era change that made fundraising for the event more difficult.)
Rendell, a Hillary Clinton supporter, also shared his concern that Bernie Sanders supporters could cause problems at the convention — not outside, where their protests wouldn’t be escalated in clashes with counter-Clinton supporters, who he said won’t engage them, but inside where Sanders delegates have no affinity or allegiance to the Democratic Party.
Clinton delegates, he argued, are mostly former 2004 John Kerry delegates, 2008 Clinton delegates, and 2012 Obama delegates.
“They have a stake in the party,” he said, but “95% of the Bernie delegates don’t give a shit about the Democratic Party or somebody other than Bernie winning the presidency. They could be disruptive in the convention hall — that would be a terrible outcome.”