Controlling pop culture isn’t the only perk that comes with dominating the entertainment industry in America. Need a little “grease” to help convince a liberal donor to part with some of his inherited cash? How about throwing in a pair of Super Bowl tickets?
House Democrats are doing just that, “offering a trip to the Super Bowl, club level seats at a Lady Gaga concert, and tickets to a host of other entertainment events in exchange for high-dollar campaign contributions,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.
A list of events from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee obtained by the Free Beacon include nine fundraisers that involve tickets to sports or entertainment events.
There are the two Super Bowl tickets given in exchange for a gift of $10,000 to Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, or the pair of club-level seats to see pop star Lady Gaga as a thank you for donating $4,000 to Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin, and for just $2,500, Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida is offering tickets to a Pink rock concert.
As the Free Beacon noted, these practices are fairly commonplace, but they also raise a lot of concerns. How are the elected officials acquiring these expensive and often hard-to-get tickets? Are they influential come voting time when various funding requests come before these same politicians? Are the elected officials paying the same rate the public would pay?
And does the entertainment industry elite’s overwhelming support for the Democratic Party play a factor?
Does the ability to offer donors prime tickets to events such as the NCAA basketball tournament’s Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds give sitting politicians an advantage over their challengers?
Presidential campaigns are well-known for this type of behavior. In reviewing White House visitor logs in March, The Associated Press found that “more than half of President Obama’s most generous campaign fundraisers have visited the White House at least once for meetings with top advisers, holiday parties or state dinners,” according to the Huffington Post.
And there have always been rumors that nights spent in the Lincoln Bedroom can prove a powerful bargaining chip, as Huff Po reports:
As a presidential candidate running against Hillary Rodham Clinton, Obama’s campaign once sharply noted that Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had invited David Geffen – whom Obama’s campaign said had raised $18 million for the Clintons – to sleep in the Lincoln Bedroom.
As long as the fox continues to guard the hen house, we have little reason to expect things to get better any time soon. But with the creativity of the human mind knowing few bounds, this practice of offering access to elite activities in exchange for political donations may get real interesting before all is said and done.