Lawmakers attending the Cleveland Republican National Convention where Donald Trump formally clinched the presidential nomination were able to ruminate about what they had done in a luxurious hideaway reportedly funded in part by Microsoft, Comcast, AT&T, Chevron, the Koch family, and Big Pharma.
The Center for Public Integrity (CPI) said it obtained bank records that show which companies and organizations contributed to the Friends of the House 2016 LLC, a limited liability company that funded and controlled access to the “cloakroom” which consisted of meeting spaces and lounges for politicos attending the RNC.
According to the CPI, Comcast paid $200,000; Microsoft, Koch Companies Public Sector, National Retail Federation, Health Care Service Corporation, American Petroleum Institute, Chevron, and AT&T paid $100,000; Anthem health insurance company and The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) trade group paid $50,000. Records show Friends of the House 2016 ultimately gave $923,100 to the Cleveland 2016 Host Committee Inc.
Gizmodo reached out to AT&T, Comcast, Microsoft, API, Chevron, Koch, Health Care Service Corporation, PhRMA, and Anthem for comment, but only received an immediate response from Chevron, which said: “We are committed to supporting policies and candidates that promote an economic environment where business can thrive. We follow policies and processes so that our political contributions comply with applicable laws.”
As CPI points out, Friends of the House 2016 gave certain companies an opportunity to quietly comfort the tushes of GOP lawmakers at a point during the election when corporations were hesitant to openly sponsor the convention.
Microsoft contributed $1.8 million-worth of software to the convention. In a blog post about the decision to support both the RNC and the Democratic National Convention, Microsoft VP of government affairs Fred Humphries wrote,“We decided last fall to provide a variety of Microsoft technology products and services instead of making a cash donation” to the RNC.
But the CPI report shows Microsoft did provide cash donations to Friends of the House 2016. Lawrence Noble, senior director for the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance reform nonpartisan nonprofit, told CPI that Friends of the House 2016 “looks like it hid certain donors to the convention.”
After obtaining the records from a lawsuit filed in Ohio, CPI sought comment from 20 entities mentioned in the documents, but said 15 did not respond or declined to comment. Microsoft told CPI: “We were unaware of any payments made by Friends of the House LLC to the convention committees.”
One of the few organizations that responded to CPI’s request for comment, Health Care Service Corp, said their payment allowed them access to the GOP cloakroom. “As a sponsor of the hospitality venue, we were invited to use it, as well,” Health Care Service Corp spokesperson Jori Fine told CPI.
And what fine access that seems to have provided. A marketing booklet shows contractors Master Plan Design and Joe Mineo Creative’s plans for the fancy parlor, which was built on the Cleveland Cavaliers practice court, steps away from the main event in the Quicken Loans Arena.
“Defining a memorable space in an expansive room for our nation’s patricians can be a daunting task,” reads one of the pages, which shows a space that looks like a fusion of West Elm and Cracker Barrel.
The mock up of Speaker Paul Ryan’s special office includes a decorative globe and an hourglass—possibly symbols that the reign of the globalists was coming to an end.
The booklet states that the contractors worked with the Speaker of the House’s office when designing the space, but Kevin Seifert, a spokesman for Ryan’s congressional campaign told CPI that Ryan’s office “was not involved in supervising construction or consulted about the design of the cloakroom.”
Seifert did say that Ryan paid $100 for “a decorative item … after the convention had concluded,” but did not respond to CPI’s request to clarify which item.
We’re guessing it was the globe.