Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tampa RNC Host Commitee says they're still on pace to raise $55 million for convention

Posted by on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 11:59 AM

Ken Jones
  • Ken Jones
Since taking over as CEO of the Host Committee for the Tampa Republican National Convention, Ken Jones has been extremely circumspect when asked how fundraising is going for the August 2012 event.

And with less than a month to go before the main event happens, he's not changing his tune now.

One of the main goals for the Host Committee is raising approximately $55 million in private funds to stage the convention. That's separate from the $18 million of federal taxpayers money that goes to the Committee on Arrangements that also is working on the convention, and separate from the $50 million in federal funding that has come to Tampa for security for the four-day event (Recently Congress voted to cut the $18 million that comes from the Federal Election Commission. But $100 million for security for the two party conventions remains in place).

At a news conference on Tuesday, Jones bristled somewhat when asked if there was any possibility that the $55 million goal would not be met. "We're going to meet the goal. I'm not concerned that we're not going to meet the goal, so for me to engage in speculation about 'what if we don't meet this goal - what do we cut, what do we not do,' it's just not something we're going to talk about because we are going to meet the goal."

Jones said the Committee has met every previous benchmark since fundraising began for the convention going back over the past two years.

But when pushed to speculate what might be cut from the convention if fundraising totals came up short, Jones sounded like a Capitol Hill Republican (which he used to be, working for former Mississippi U.S. Senator Trent Lott).

"Like any business, if you can't meet your payroll, or you have a revenue problem, it's never really a revenue problem, it's a spending problem," he said. "And so you look at the spending and you figure out what you can do to spend less money."

Jones worked on the Minneapolis-St. Paul RNC in 2008, but said he couldn't comment when asked to compare where that committee was regarding fundraising at a similar point four years ago.

Federal election laws requires the Host Committee to disclose their donors and dollar amount on Oct. 15, when it reports its fundraising activity and expenditures.

The Host Committee has previously announced that they will be working with Bloomberg LP on a host of panel discussions with some CEO's from around the nation, with the idea to showcase Florida. But Jones he wasn't prepared to name any of those CEO's at this time.

Meanwhile, Matt Becker Chief Operation Officer for the Host Committee, announced that there will be 35,000 copies of an official publication on the RNC that will go into the goodie bags for all of the delegates and reporters coming to Tampa.

The publication is being produced through the Host Committee's communications action group, and is designed to "tell Tampa Bay's story" in Becker's words.

"What are the attractions? What are the businesses? What are the schools? What can we tell about Tampa Bay so that when people leave here and go home, they've got something that they can take with them and talk about Tampa Bay and tell their friends and neighbors," Becker said.

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