Democrats soak up corporate money

As the curtain gets closer to falling on the Obama era, Obama ethics rules are already being loosened up. In February, the Democratic National Committee quietly dropped a prohibition on using corporate money to pay for the Democratic National Convention.

Last week, reports surfaced of the corporations that have lined up to buy favor with the party—for public-spirited reasons, of course—and of the corporate executives who sit on DNC committees. Nevada interests can be involved.

One of particular interest is Ed Rendell, former Democratic governor of Pennsylvania who chairs the host committee for the convention. Rendell is a fracking lobbyist.

Fracking—forcing a water/chemical/sand mix into rock fissures—has been going on in Elko County since 2014, after Gov. Brian Sandoval refused a request from Great Basin Resource Watch and other critics that he block it. “I continue to support hydraulic fracturing, as long as it is done in conjunction with and subject to the review of the Nevada Division of Minerals and Nevada Division of Environmental Protection,” Sandoval said at the time.

Rendell has not been anxious to have his fracking connections known. In March 2003, he wrote a pro-fracking column for the New York Daily News. The editor’s note identified him only as a former Pennsylvania governor. The next day, ProPublica reported that Rendell “has worked as a paid consultant to a private equity firm with investments in the natural gas industry.” The newspaper quickly added language to the online version of the column that said Rendell “is a paid consultant to Element Partners, a private equity firm with stake in a number of energy companies, including hydrofracking/natural gas interests. This information was not disclosed at the time his op-ed was submitted to the News.”

In 2000, Democrats made a fuss about the fact that George W. Bush’s inaugural was paid for in part by corporations seeking influence, such as Enron.