Austerity hits Tampa convention party planning
POLITICO: Republicans aren't living up to their moniker — the Grand Old Party — at this summer's national convention.
Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, Time Warner and United Airlines aren't on hosting duty. Trade groups like the American Chemistry Council, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and the International Franchise Association are planning on staying home as well.
Many of the K Street outfits that are going plan to cut back from years past — hosting lunches instead of blowout parties, for instance.
The combination of tight corporate budgets, ethics rules and unappealing weather — the average high for Tampa in August is 90 degrees — and it's a recipe for trade groups and lobbyists to spend time anywhere but Florida. Plus, Mitt Romney is anything but a creature of Washington, making him less of a draw for the inside the Beltway crowd.
The strict Democratic convention rules, which don't allow corporate contributions, are also dissuading companies from getting involved in Tampa because they are concerned about maintaining parity among Republican and Democratic activities.
Image also plays a role; splashy parties filled with high-end booze and late night revelry is an awkward fit with the austerity message the Romney campaign and congressional Republicans are spreading in their quest to win the White House and control of the Senate. And it's hard to justify spending thousands of dollars on parties when money is tight elsewhere.