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So, DNC, did that fundraiser really bring in a million bucks?

You’ll recall that the first story out about the LGBT fundraiser was in the Advocate, where it was reported that:

The event brought in nearly $1 million, up from about $750,000 last year, according to a Democratic Party source.

This number, not corroborated by anyone at the DNC, was ponied up right quick and many took it to heart that somehow the boycott was an utter failure. However, I soon heard from a very reliable political contact and updated my post to say that there was

something fishy about that $1 Million amount claimed to have been raised for the DNC fundraiser.  So we cannot confirm that this is all queer money from this fundraiser.  

As often done, Andy Tobias as Treasurer of the DNC can apply any of his fundraising efforts or other DNC staff fundraising efforts to whichever event that in order to inflate the success of the particular fundraiser.   Many straight stockbrokers (loyal DNC’ers) could have given $30K in the months prior to the fundraiser, and had no clue where his/her money was being applied internally at the DNC.  Also there are regular Queer Donors to the DNC that give monthly and annually and this amount was probably added to the tally for the event.

FEC reports will be filed at the end of this month so we will be able to check the DNC amounts for when the $$$ was raised, and who wrote a check from the LGBT community.  My inside source says they would be lucky if they actually raised $250,000.  Still a lot of money, but no where near the $1,000,000. claimed by the DNC.

Michelangelo Signorile was also wondering about that original figure from an unnamed source, so he tried to get some answers from the DNC. You won’t be surprised at the results so far.

Andy Tobias, the openly gay treasurer of the DNC, was fretting about the event and complaining to people, according to three individuals who’d interacted with him and with whom I spoke in the days before the fundraiser (and I’ve spoken to several others who confirmed this to me after the fundraiser as well). Publicly, DNC officials and hosts like Barney Frank were keeping a stiff upper lip, trying to tamp down the power of the blogs and the influence of all those who dropped out of the fundraiser. But privately, Tobias had pretty much thrown in the towel on the event.

…When I contacted the DNC’s LGBT fundraising director, Tom Petrillo, for confirmation of the one million dollar amount, he bumped me up after a day to press office, where Caroline Ciccone took another day to get back to me, only to tell me that the DNC would not confirm the one million dollar amount and said the DNC doesn’t confirm fundraising event figures. But in searching around and looking at the coverage of other fundraisers, I found this story, which, for example, attributes Obama’s bringing in 3 million dollars at an event recently to DNC “officials.” And this one has many details and implies they came from the DNC. At the very least, the DNC doesn’t seem to want to be so distanced from the reporting on the numbers in these stories.

Much more below the fold.Ooops. Sounds like trouble for that pesky queer dollar count, no? BTW, Mike  invited Tom Petrillo to come on his show to discuss the discrepancies, and well, are you surprised that Petrillo declined after the request for info was bumped up to the DNC press office? Mike:

We now need a confirmation of the one million dollar number from the DNC, on the record, with a clear breakdown of where the money comes from. With the absence of that no one should assume this fundraiser did well at all, as all of the evidence — and the statements from Tobias to various people before the fundraiser — points in the opposite direction. People who want to pressure the Democrats should continue to target the DNC fundraisers since it clearly really hit a nerve, to the point where they had to spin something out immediately and go so far with the numbers — like the Iranian ayatollahs — in an attempt to nip any revolution in the bud, even though it’s now raised many more questions.

There are also a number of questions Mike posed that the DNC needs to answer to have any credibility at this point, as we await the FEC report showing donor breakdown (it’s out in mid-July). Feel free to send return responses fundraising appeals from the DNC with these attached:

  • How many people are members of the LGBT Leadership Council, and are their donations throughout the year included in this fundraiser? What is the annual dues structure? Don’t they then get “comped” to the dinner because they’ve payed their dues throughout the year?
  • How many people who were not members of the Leadership Council dropped out of the dinner, and what amount of money did that account for?
  • Are you counting all of the LGBT money raised throughout the year in the dinner?
  • How much of the one million is straight money and how much is gay money?
  • Why didn’t you fill that room at the Mandarin Oriental and how many at the dinner were comped? Weren’t all the elected officials comped, and weren’t all those used in the fundraising letter — those names that didn’t drop out — comped?
  • How many people actually paid for the dinner and how many maxed out in contributions, paying 30K?
  • How many paid the minimum of 1000 dollars?
  • Does the treasurer have the authority to raise money and then apply it internally to wherever he would like it to sit?
  • Does every donor whose money was applied to the event know that their money was applied to an LGBT-specific event?
  • Has all of the money been brought in, or is the one million dollars including pledges or future dues of the LGBT Leadership Council members?
  • How many attendees asked for a refund? Would the DNC provide such a refund?
  • When is the next LGBT-specific fundraising event, since this was so record-smashing successful?

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding