- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
Democratic convention helped by energy firm
$10 million loan still unpaid 5 months later
Five months after President Obama’s made-for-media convention in Charlotte, N.C., the host committee for the three-day Democratic bash still has not paid off an unprecedented $10 million loan secured by Duke Energy, and there is no way of knowing whether it will ever be paid back.
Government watchdog groups, which once lauded Mr. Obama’s pledge to run the most transparent government in history, say the loan raises serious conflict-of-interest issues and shows that the president has abandoned his commitment to disclosure.
“This is just a blank check for the party, and it undermines the whole [Obama] message of cracking down on special interests’ influence in Washington,” said Tyson Slocum, an energy specialist for Public Citizen. “It’s clear the administration is hypocritical.”
The Charlotte host committee is refusing to provide details about the terms of the loan, how much has been paid off or the deadline for repayment.
Because no other convention committee in history has taken out a similar loan, no laws force Mr. Obama to publicly disclose it to the Federal Election Commission or any other agency, the watchdogs say.
The only FEC report available from the host committee dates back to October and shows an outstanding $8.7 million in debts from loans. Since then, the host committee has closed up shop and is not required to make any more FEC reports.
Mr. Obama could direct the host committee to produce the information voluntarily, but there is no indication he has any intention of doing so.
“We have to ensure going forward that we have far stricter disclosure laws associated with loans to conventions, if months can go by and we have no idea if the loan was paid off or not,” Mr. Slocum said.
When The Washington Times contacted Dan Murrey, a surgeon in Charlotte who was chairman of the convention host committee, he said the loan was a line of credit with two banks — Bank of America and Mechanics & Farmers Bank, with headquarters in Charlotte.
“We are still finishing up some collections and disbursements related to the convention, and the account is still open,” Mr. Murrey wrote in an email response.
He did not address questions about the terms of the loan, how much had been paid off, whether the host committee must make monthly payments and the deadline for repayment. A follow-up email restating the questions went unanswered.
“I can’t comment on who the institutions were,” he said, referring the questions to Dr. Murrey.
The White House also did not respond to a request for comment.
The host committee struggled for more than a year to raise money — and ultimately amassed $24.1 million, short of an already revised goal of $31.1 million. The original target was $36.6 million.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Susan Crabtree is an award-winning investigative reporter with more than 15 years of reporting experience in Washington, D.C. Her reporting about bribery, corruption and conflict-of-interest issues on Capitol Hill has led to several FBI and ethics investigations, as well as consequences for members within their caucuses and at the ballot box. Susan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- GOP senators want IG probe of Sebelius' 'Obamacare' fundraising
- Teaming up with Christie, Obama says Jersey shore 'back in business'
- No Moore: Obama flubs name of Oklahoma city devastated by tornado, calls it 'Monroe'
- Obama to Okla. tornado victims: 'We have got your back'
- Amid his own challenges, Obama calls on Navy grads to hold themselves accountable
Latest Blog Entries
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- 'Dude, I'm dreading that I will have to go': Czech prime minister on Mandela funeral
- John Boehner says GOP should support gay candidates: I do
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
A stat-head’s outlook, direct from his worn in couch cushion.
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
White House pets gone wild!