RALEIGH — Behind closed doors in the North Carolina Triangle's most luxurious hotel last spring, political and business power came together in ways usually seen in places such as Washington or L.A.
Gov. Bev Perdue had called the board rooms of North Carolina's biggest corporations and asked them to ante up for a fundraiser for the nation's Democratic governors' political kitty. They delivered $1.2 million, the largest fundraiser of its kind ever held by the Democratic Governors Association.
It was a sign that Perdue wants to be more of a player on the national stage while also hoping to raise North Carolina's profile.
And it provides a brief glimpse of how big money flows in politics - the kind of money that does not show up in the campaign finance reports.
The event allowed corporate executives and lobbyists to rub elbows with several of the nation's governors. And it allowed the Democratic governors to collect large checks directly from corporations, legally bypassing the usual restrictions on political donations.
Power companies, a railroad, banks, health care companies, telecommunications companies, computer software companies, the motion picture industry, lobbying firms, and a prison provider all anted up, according to tax records recently made public by the governors' group.
The gathering at Cary's upscale Umstead Hotel and Spa on April 6 and 7 was both a fundraiser and a "regional policy conference" held by the Democratic Governors Association.
The Washington-based association, whose purpose is to elect Democratic state chief executives, raises money around the country by holding fundraisers that also double as policy conferences. The group is helping raise money in 37 races for governor this year.
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