Among the R.G.A. documents is a 21-page schedule of the policy committee’s Carlsbad meeting last year that lists which companies attended, who represented them and what they contributed. The most elite group, known as the Statesmen, whose members donated $250,000, included Aetna; Coca-Cola; Exxon Mobil; Koch Companies Public Sector, the lobbying arm of the highly political Koch Industries; Microsoft; Pfizer; UnitedHealth Group; and Walmart. The $100,000 Cabinet level included Aflac, BlueCross BlueShield, Comcast, Hewlett-Packard, Novartis, Shell Oil, Verizon Communications and Walgreen.
Other documents detail, in part, what they got in return.
One 2009 document states the benefits of a Governors Board membership, for a $50,000 annual contribution or a one-time donation of $100,000, saying it “offers the ability to bring their particular expertise to the political process while helping to support the Republican agenda.”
Board members received two tickets to “an exclusive breakfast with the Republican Governors and members of their staff”; three tickets to the Governors Forums Series, where “a group of 5-8 governors discuss the best policy practices from around the country on a particular topic”; and a D.C. Discussion Breakfast Series, among other events.
If they bump up to Cabinet Membership — $100,000 annually or a single payment of $200,000 — contributors also receive two invitations to “an exclusive Gubernatorial Dinner,” an “intimate gathering with the Republican Governors and special Republican V.I.P. guests” at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington.
Political finance experts say the practice apparently laid out in the documents is not illegal, and probably not unusual. In hundreds of pages posted on the web, the Republican governors group put it down in black and white.
“It’s not that you don’t suspect this, but here you see these companies paying the governors for access,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of CREW. “Americans all think it’s pay-to-play politics. This is what confirms it.”
Now, two things here. One, don't kid yourself, Democratic governors are doing this too. The donors are different and the price tags are probably similar, but the honest fact is Democrats do pay for play like Republicans do.
Two, all politicians are for sale and will be until we get the billions in cash out of the system. These corporations are the only constituents that your governor, your representative, your senator, your mayor, and your city council or county commissioners care about.