Dems, GOP Party with Corporate Cash

Duke Energy, other firms helped pay for DNC events in Charlotte, N.C.
3:00 | 09/05/12

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Transcript for Dems, GOP Party with Corporate Cash
So -- -- the major themes here at this convention tonight was corporate CEOs and lobbyists and rigging the game and one of the reasons is that one of the most popular speakers in this party Elizabeth -- senate candidate Massachusetts. Drove the point home with these compacts. Wall Street CE -- the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs. Still strut around congress no shame demanding favors and acting like we should thank them. So there's a lot of that 1% bashing happening on the floor but outside these convention walls and at the Republican Convention as well. At the swanky party circuit that caters only to the very wealthiest political donors and ABC's Brian Ross takes us inside. For both the Democrats and the Republicans. -- the conventions have been expenses and extravagance. With no sign that economic hard times in the settings of lavish parties and insider access for the highest bidders. Some of them very unhappy to see ABC news. At ABC news got the -- we've seen until 2016. The grossed -- And most of and is being paid for by the big corporations. Unions lobbyists and the super rich. Many of whom flew into Tampa and Charlotte in their private jets. These -- the real VIPs at the conventions according to someone who was once one of them. Convicted lobbyist Jack -- They're people who want something back. They're doing it because they have an agenda in Charlotte. Where the corporate headquarters of the country's largest electric utility company Duke Energy dominates the skyline the company's money. Is dominating the convention. -- CEO not only pledged to raise 47 million dollars for the convention itself. But the company is also helping the pay for a series of lavish events all over town that. Most delegates will never see including this invitation only concert. Pop singer John Legend. For all the swinging and swinging. There's much more to it. It's really -- -- heading the ability to cozy up. To people who are important to you -- your business in the case of duke energy's business the company has received more than 200 billion dollars in federal energy grants and loans on the Obama administration. And the recent approval of a major merger. But Duke Energy says that is in no way connected to the millions of dollars its CEO Jim Rogers pledged to raise for the Democrats or the 100000 dollars he has given personally. It's about promoting its hometown Charlotte according to Duke Energy. When we went to the duke corporate headquarters where Rogers was hosting a private party we were turned away told our cameras represented a securities. Because it's just our policy. We ABC much the same treatment in Tampa from AT&T. Which took over this restaurant directly across from the Republican Convention -- -- weeklong series of parties for top Republicans this credit. In place tried to hide the sign with the names of the -- public officials and we were told to turn off our cameras or face arrest. For both parties the intersection of money and power is a busy off an ugly place there's no. She and -- and there's pride Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig is the author of republic lost -- money corrupts congress. As you raise money from the tiniest fraction of 1%. -- congress becomes dependent upon them and so what's the effect -- on policy. Well in a thousand ways. I'm. You know buried inside of bills you begin to see policy shifting in a direction that make sense from the perspective of money but doesn't make sense from the perspective. The people. And both parties go to great lengths to treat the big money people like royalty often with great secrecy. In Tampa Republicans use this 150 foot -- Registered at the grand Cayman Islands to honor the elite group -- fund raisers who have brought in more than a million dollars known as the Romney victory counts. The Romney campaign keep their names secret as allowed by federal law. How much money if you -- race I'm sorry I don't -- I don't really have time and secrecy seemed to be the order of the day making it hard to. But the big -- rises might -- for all their money if Romney wins with cancer. Yeah CNN now what -- you can't -- -- -- -- -- -- I don't know I -- run thank you after we posted his picture online readers of abcnews.com. Identified him as ray Washburn a wealthy Dallas businessman. In America today we have two elections it's the money election and the -- -- The only way you get to run in the general election is to do extremely well in the money election. The super rich Democrats can keep their names secret to. If they give money to one of the newly formed super funds outside advocacy groups including one started by president Obama's former deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton. Let's just Karl Rove and the Coke Brothers it was a surface with a. Finally in addition to the -- in the access the biggest fund -- also though there are jobs to be head. Among the big Obama fund -- here this week Chicago stockbroker -- Fernando who raised a half million dollars. He was named to the prestigious international security advisory -- But resigned last year shortly after ABC news asked about his qualifications to be on the board. It was not something Fernando wanted to talk about. ABC news yeah and once again we were ordered to turn off our cameras stop asking questions or face arrest. Anthony Kennedy the president will be -- I'll be arrested for me for asking questions of. The Supreme Court says all this spending is protected by the First Amendment as free speech. And while leaders in both parties acknowledged assist -- -- out of control like an arms race no one is willing to be the first one to stop. And give the other side a competitive advantage as great reporting Brian I'm one of the real stories. Thanks very much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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