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Partying With A Purpose: Lobbyists At Political Conventions

Despite last year's much-celebrated overhaul of ethics laws, Denver is full of corporate lobbyists for the Democratic National Convention, and their parties are some of the hottest tickets in the Mile High City. Starting on Aug. 30 the scene will migrate to St. Paul and Minneapolis to greet the Republicans at their convention.

At the Spirits of Denver bash at Beta on Monday, co-sponsors Daimler and The Hill, a Washington news organization, joined the Distilled Spirits Council. Across town, AT&T gave Connecticut delegates a coffee bar and late-night breakfast to accompany a 38th-floor view of the night skyline. On the other side of the lobby, the telecom giant wooed California delegates with finger food, an open bar, and live R&B by local band Jakarta. Departing guests could take a small drawstring bag emblazoned with AT&T's logo with goodies in them.

Many companies, including AT&T, decline to discuss their convention activities. Those that do talk describe their business at the convention as a combination of corporate citizenship, marketing, and even sales opportunities, with a touch of low-key relationship building. "Part of it is civic duty, civic responsibility," says Frank Coleman, a spokesman for the Distilled Spirits Council.



Read the whole story at Business Week »

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