Energy Industry Funnels Millions into Unregulated Convention Parties

The energy industry is treating Republicans to a gay old time in New York City this week, hosting a plethora of parties for favored politicians and others attending the GOP convention: a ball, a concert, a trap shoot, a honky-tonk salute, even a soiree with scantily clad acrobats swinging from the rafters. The American Gas Association, the Edison Electric Institute, the National Mining Association, and the Nuclear Energy Institute are among the most generous sponsors. Martin E. Edwards of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America says there’s no lobbying at these bashes. “It’s kind of an opportunity to socialize with policymakers and politically active folks,” he explains. Millions are being spent on the parties, above and beyond the $2.1 million that the Bush-Cheney campaign has already collected from the energy, utility, and mining industries.