- The Washington Times - Monday, August 14, 2000

From yesterday's welcoming receptions to Thursday's finales, delegates to the Democratic National Convention will dine on the tab of special interests.
Citicorp is paying for the opening reception for Missouri's delegation. Singer Al Green is performing for the Tennessee delegation today, courtesy of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Federal Express and other corporate sponsors. DaimlerChrysler and the United Auto Workers rented part of an automotive museum for a Tuesday post-convention bash for Indiana delegates. The energy giant Enron Corp. is hosting a poolside party Wednesday night at an airport hotel for the Texas delegation. Qwest Communications is buying breakfast for the Massachusetts delegation on Thursday.
"The delegations are made of some of the most prominent Democratic politicians in each state," said Larry Makinson, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that studies campaign finance.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce spokesman Frank Coleman acknowledged the clout of many of the convention delegates.
"Given the fact that a considerable number of key policy-makers are going to gather here, it's important for the chamber to have some representation, to be seen and more importantly to continue to communicate the issues important to American business," he said.
At the Tennessee reception they are co-hosting, chamber officials will be able to bring their concerns to Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., who sits on the Education and the Workforce Committee, and Rep. John Tanner, who sits on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee.
Qwest, buying the morning meal for the Massachusetts delegates, comes under the jurisdiction of the Commerce Committee. Massachusetts Rep. Edward J. Markey is the top Democrat on the panel's telecommunications subcommittee.
DaimlerChrysler operates five plants in Indiana. But the state's delegation includes Rep. Peter J. Visclosky, a member of the House Appropriations Committee. DaimlerChrysler is fighting congressional efforts to trim federal funding for a joint research and development program with the government.
Other companies also are hosting receptions for delegations with key lawmakers.
Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson are buying breakfast for the New York delegation, whose members include Rep. Charles B. Rangel, the top Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, which writes health legislation.

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