Report: Democracy For The People

Guide to Convention Funding: Cleveland GOP Convention

Released by: U.S. PIRG Education Fund

On July 18-21, the Republican Party will hold its 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, concluding the party’s presidential primary, and finalizing the Republican party platform. This report examines the money behind the convention, where it comes from, how convention fundraising has changed over time, and funding in this year’s Republican primary.

While big-money is often examined in the context of campaign and super PAC fundraising, the convention offers another outlet for spending by mega-donors and corporations interested in influencing political outcomes. With the exception of federal security grants and smaller municipal expenditures, this year’s conventions will be financed entirely with private funding. These are the first conventions held since public financing for party conventions was eliminated in 2014.

If the GOP’s Cleveland Host Committee meets its fundraising goals, this year’s convention is expected to rank among the most expensive party conventions in terms of private fundraising.

This report provides key fundraising numbers, an easy-to-follow map outlining convention funding sources, a timeline of changes to convention fundraising, a breakdown of convention spending, top Republican convention funders, and information on proposed campaign finance reforms. Due to the post-convention release of fundraising data by the convention’s host committee, this report relies on a combination of fundraising numbers from this year’s convention, fundraising reports from previous conventions, and self-reported fundraising numbers.

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