Thursday, May 31, 2007

Denver misses fundraising deadline

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Well, as was speculated, the Denver host committee missed the first deadline to raise money for the 2008 Democratic National Convention:

The committee raising funds for the Democratic National Convention next year hasn't met a June 1 deadline to have $7.5 million in the bank, but organizers insist they're not worried. "When you're talking about raising $45 million, that's a challenge for anyone," said Elbra Wedgeworth, president of the Denver 2008 host committee. "The Democratic National Committee is confident we can do this." The national committee has established a series of deadlines for Denver to meet in its goal of raising $55 million for the convention. The host committee is expected to raise at least $40 million in cash and $15 million in in-kind donations for the Aug. 25-28, 2008 event.
A sources who spoke on the condition he not be identified said that the host committee has fallen short of the $7.5 million cash goal. How far short is not clear. The committee has $28 million in total commitments, but only a fraction of that is in the bank. Many of those pledges involve a mix of in-kind services and cash.

Already, Governor Bill Ritter and Denver mayor John Hickenlooper have traveled out of state to ask for donations for the event. Hickenlooper recently traveled to New York to meet with executives at several Wall Street firms and ask for their support. Because Denver has only a handful of Fortune 500 firms, much of the fund-raising will have to take place out of state. "We'll have to go outside of our region to raise funds," said Wedgeworth. "We're going to individuals, large companies and mom and pops."
If there's no penalty for not meeting a deadline, I wonder why they have any deadlines at all?

Update: The Denver Post has more details:
Reached in the afternoon, president Elbra Wedgeworth said the host committee will bank "1 or 2 million" less than the $7.5 million its contract with the Democratic Party says must be collected by today. In a follow-up discussion, she said "more has come in (Thursday), a significant amount."
"We basically have the pledges, but they're not going to be in by the deadline," Wedgeworth said. Denver's contract with the Democratic National Committee sets four fundraising milestones geared toward ensuring that the party has the money it needs to prepare for the convention. The host committee's final deadline is June 16, 2008, when it must have $40.6 million in the bank.

The contract allows for an extension of seven business days. A potential complicating factor is that the contract also required that the host committee establish a nearly $20 million line of credit, should the money not be in after the seven-day extension, but the committee hasn't done that.

Wedgeworth said that DNC chairman Howard Dean is aware of the fundraising situation and isn't pressing for funds immediately. Instead, Wedgeworth said, the June 1 date was more of a goal than a firm deadline and the DNC doesn't immediately need the money.
OK, so now it's a goal, not a deadline. Got it.