To gain access to top officials of the Democratic party at this year's convention, one must donate a large amount of money to the political party or raise money by encouraging others to donate, an ABC article alleges.
"Those seeking invites to the most lavish receptions at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, 'gold ticket' access to 'dialogues,' and private breakfast briefings with party luminaries, can expect a hefty price of admission," ABC reports.
A list of high-end convention packages circulated by the Charlotte in 2012 Convention Host Committee, and obtained by ABC News, shows that those and other perks are being offered to donors who raise $1 million or donate $100,000 to the convention's nonprofit planning arm.
The cash-for-access formula has been a longtime staple of national political conventions, and though Democrats told ABC News they have tried to shift the focus to access for grassroots supporters this year, critics say the menu of perks for donors is a reminder that those giving big dollars can still expect special treatment.
"We pride ourselves on being a country of equality, and this kind of arrangement subverts that," said Kathy Kiely, managing editor of the Sunlight Foundation reporting group. "If you have big money to give, you get a lot more access."