[Marxism] Networking in Boston

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 28 11:50:41 MDT 2004


NY Times, July 28, 2004
An Aspiring Money Man Gets to Taste the High Life
By GLEN JUSTICE

BOSTON, July 27 - Owen Byrd had been on the ground less than two hours 
on Sunday when he made his way to the sumptuous Four Seasons Hotel here 
to pick up an envelope. Inside was a large gold ticket with a silver 
star in the corner and some magic words: finance honored guest.

That pass to Democratic National Convention events was worth $50,000, at 
least to Mr. Byrd, a California lawyer. In return for raising that much 
money for Senator John Kerry's presidential campaign, he was given the 
opportunity to eat lobster claws with the Democratic National Committee 
chairman, Terry McAuliffe, at a private waterfront reception, lob 
questions at former President Bill Clinton at a downtown theater and 
meet the actor Ben Affleck for billiards and bowling in a local nightclub.

Perhaps more important for someone who aspires to be an A-list 
fund-raiser, the pass put him in the same room - and sometimes at the 
same table - with some of the country's richest and best-connected 
political money people. Not bad for someone who made his first 
presidential donation and raised his first check less than two years ago.

"This is Owen's excellent adventure through the Democratic Party 
presidential process," Mr. Byrd said with a grin. So it goes for 
hundreds of people who have worked to raise more than $200 million for 
Mr. Kerry, making him the best-financed challenger in presidential 
history. More than 560 people brought in at least $50,000 each, and 
many, like Mr. Byrd, 41, are first timers, drawn in by a desire to oust 
the Bush administration and welcomed by a hungry Democratic fund-raising 
machine.

At the convention this week, Mr. Byrd and others are getting their first 
taste of the rewards. "People are coming here who have never come to a 
convention before, and they have raised really serious money, so they 
are keeping company with some of the party's biggest fund-raisers," said 
Kevin Metz, the Kerry campaign's deputy finance director for the 
Northwest and one of several people whom Mr. Byrd helped recruit into 
fund-raising.

There are perks reserved for those above Mr. Byrd's level, people who 
raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are lavished with 
attention and invited to the most exclusive events, including a clam 
bake at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis on Sunday and a restaurant 
reception on Wednesday with Teresa Heinz Kerry.

Mr. Byrd earned the title of "co-chair," a mid-level money soldier. But 
still, he has been offered so many tickets to parties and receptions 
that his days are packed.

Armed with a new suit and a spreadsheet of events, Mr. Byrd, a real 
estate lawyer and developer from Palo Alto, Calif., set out daily to 
sample the convention. After leaving the Beacon Hill house owned by his 
girlfriend's parents - and located about a block from Mr. Kerry's house 
- each morning, he made his first stop at the Four Seasons to pick up 
tickets for events honoring fund-raisers. Because Mr. Byrd is also a 
convention delegate from California, a second trip, to the Westin, was 
required to get tickets to a separate slate of parties.

As a delegate, Mr. Byrd was treated to plenty of events, many of them 
fairly low key. California's delegates gathered at the Franklin Park Zoo 
on Sunday, for example, where they ate skewered chicken and sandwiches 
under a tent. A D.J. played music, spawning a conga line at one point.

full: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/28/politics/campaign/28donor.html

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