WASHINGTON — In order to land the 2024 Democratic National Convention, the Democratic National Committee demanded from bidders that a line of credit be established — and that’s why the city of Chicago created a $30 million credit agreement with the Amalgamated Bank in New York.
A spokesperson for Mayor Brandon Johnson told the Chicago Sun-Times that the new mayor, sworn into office on May 15, is on board with the line of credit contract former Mayor Lightfoot signed on May 12, in the final days of her term.
Since 2000, when Democrats met in Los Angeles, their conventions have been privately funded.
As part of the city’s winning bid, – beating out Atlanta and New York – the host committee, Development Now for Chicago, pledged to raise $84.697 million. That figure is in the 59-page credit contract between the city and Amalgamated obtained by the Sun-Times.
The DNC, in its request for proposal, wanted a line of credit as a backstop and to have a financial tool in place for short-term smooth cash flow management, since contributions to the host committee do not all come in at the same time.
The host committee, still in formation, has enormous fundraising firepower — it is led by Michael Sacks, a major Democratic donor and fundraiser. Billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker is expected to be a major contributor.
No one foresees the city of Chicago being on the hook for any taxpayer money as a result of this line of credit.
Pritzker’s anticipated large host committee donations sweetened the city’s DNC pitch, which was already strong because of Chicago’s ability to deliver a turnkey operation; Illinois and nearby Midwest Democratic states being a showcase for President Joe Biden’s policies; great union hotels, restaurants, museums, other venues plus fantastic beaches and more.
On April 11, the DNC announced that Chicago will host the convention at the United Center Aug. 19-22, 2024, with other events at the McCormick Place complex.
When the contract was signed April 12 there was a piece of financial business still to complete: the line of credit deal, which Lightfoot signed on May 12.
“The $30 million line of credit that the city put forth was a critical component to Chicago’s successful bid to host the 2024 DNC Convention,” Lightfoot told the Sun-Times via email.
“This line will help ensure the Host Committee’s fundraising efforts are focused on raising the funds necessary to provide a world-class experience for President Biden, Vice President Harris, Democratic Party delegates and attendees,” she said.
The 2024 Democratic convention in Chicago will be funded mainly through three sources:
• The host committee pledged to raise $84.697 million.
• The 2024 Democratic National Convention Committee Inc. will do its own fundraising bound by Federal Election Commission rules.
• Since 2004, host cities receive $50 million in federal funds to help pay security costs. Congress is being asked to boost this to $75 million each for Chicago and Milwaukee, which is hosting the Republican presidential convention July 15-18, 2024.