* Labor unions and Duke Energy biggest financial backers
* Many corporations provided in-kind goods and services
* Host committee took out a $10.9 million loan
WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Companies including Duke
Energy Corp, Bank of America Corp and AT&T Inc spent millions of
dollars to help stage last month's Democratic convention,
technically complying with the party's restrictions on corporate
funding, financial disclosures revealed on Wednesday.
The convention, where President Barack Obama officially
accepted his nomination on Sept. 6, marked the first time the
Democratic Party, seeking to set an example, had set limits on
sources of funding. It banned donations from corporations and
lobbyists and capped individual donations at $100,000.
But several large corporations contributed free-of-charge
goods and services to the account funding the Democratic
National Convention. Scores more donated to a separate fund
exempt from those limits because it was meant to finance
activities "of ongoing value" to the host city of Charlotte,
North Carolina, and not the Democratic event itself.
Republicans had no similar restrictions on donations for
Labor unions, a traditional source of cash for the
Democrats, gave $3 million.
Charlotte-based Duke Energy was the strongest
corporate financial muscle behind the Democratic convention,
giving $1.6 million in in-kind donations by providing office
space and furniture, travel, consulting and parking spaces,
according to Federal Election Commission disclosures
The company wrote another $4.1 million check to the second,
separate fund, called New American City. Chairman Jim Rogers
contributed a total of $339,523 in both regular and in-kind
donations for travel and personal staff expenses for
fundraising, according to the filings.
Duke also guaranteed a loan that convention organizers had
to take out to cover a money shortfall, Democratic officials
AT&T financed $298,562 worth of "delegate bags" and
"catering for suites" for the main convention fund and gave $1
million to the New American City fund, filings showed.
Bank of America, also based in Charlotte,
contributed $271,864 worth of furniture and office space to the
convention and gave $5 million to the New American City fund.
Microsoft Corp contributed $71,521 worth of
catering, the Coca-Cola Company funded $69,590 worth of
delegate bags and Costco bought $27,000 worth of food
and service items. Half Moon Bay Brewing Co provided $5,000
worth of beer and Chiquita Brands International Inc
supplied $4,000 worth of bananas, among others.
"Beyond showcasing Charlotte for the entire world, the
convention generated millions of dollars in economic activity
for our community and valuable infrastructure improvements,"
said Dan Murrey, executive director of the host committee.
"We have accomplished all of this without passing any of
these costs on to the taxpayers."
In all, the main "Charlotte 2012" fund sponsoring the
convention raised $24.1 million. But it came up short of the
necessary funds and had to take out a $10.9 million loan.
Organizers still owe almost that amount after spending $29.9
The New American City, for its part, raised $19 million and
spent $19.6 million. It also holds $1.3 million in debt.
The fund's other biggest donors included Time Warner Cable
Inc, meetings and events planning firm Experient Inc,
Wells Fargo & Co bank and Charlotte-based Mechanics &
The biggest labor union donors, giving $500,000 each, were
the Service Employees International Union, the American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the
United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing
and Pipe Fitting Industry.