The Corporate Convention

Walmart donates $50,000 in gift cards to DNC convention despite ban on corporate cash

Walmart is donating $50,000 in gift cards to the host committee for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., exploiting a loophole in the party’s pledge to ban contributions from big corporations.

A host committee official told Politico that the gift constitutes an "in-kind" contribution, and hence does not violate the ban on corporate cash donations.

"Charlotte in 2012 has received gift cards from Wal-Mart as in-kind contributions," a host committee official said. "Per the master contract with the DNCC, Charlotte in 2012 may only accept in-kinds that offer budget relief, and this gift is intended to be used exclusively for office supplies required by the contract."…

DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced in September that none of the $37 million Charlotte organizers must raise would come from lobbyists, corporations or political action committees. The rules allow in-kind contributions for things such as telecommunications equipment and vehicles.

Wal-Mart is hardly the only corporation looking to find ways to be helpful in Charlotte. Duke Energy is underwriting a $10 million line of credit for the convention and is also providing office space for the host committee and party operatives.

The Washington Free Beacon reported in February that the DNC was having trouble raising money in accordance with its self-imposed rules, and had taken to begging wealthy donors to purchase premier convention packages that cost up to $1 million.

President Obama will deliver his acceptance speech at Bank of America Stadium.