From the New York Times:
When the final presidential debate is held on Long Island on Wednesday night, little attention will be paid to who exactly is sponsoring the event: the beer giant Anheuser-Busch; the International Bottled Water Association, a trade group; and EDS, a subsidiary of the technology company Hewlett-Packard....
“We are very concerned,” said George Farah, executive director at Open Debates, a nonpartisan group critical of the commission. “We don’t think that this most sacred forum should be brought to you by Anheuser-Busch.”
Corporations are barred from making campaign contributions, but they can donate to the Commission on Presidential Debates, whose two co-chairmen are former heads of the two major political parties. In addition, sponsors receive tickets to the events allowing them to “hobnob with campaign staff advisers and managers who will be senior advisers in the next administration,” Mr. Farah said.
Janet Brown, executive director of the commission, said fund-raising for the debates was “difficult,” since opportunities for product placement and marketing are not the same as at the two political conventions or other widely attended events.
“We are really grateful to the corporations,” Ms. Brown said. “They see it as part of civic and community support, and they don’t get a lot for it. They don’t get any access to candidates, and their name is not mentioned on air.”
Frank J. Fahrenkopf Jr., the Republican chairman of the commission and the president of the American Gaming Association, a trade group, said corporations had “no control, input or say. They are only giving as good citizens.”
The commission’s Web site lists eight national sponsors of the three presidential debates and one vice-presidential debate. They include BBH New York, an advertising firm that has produced an educational Web site called mydebates.org; JetBlue, which provides airline tickets; and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a charitable organization created by the son of the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett.
Yeah, there's no connection whatsoever, and they get nothing. Just good corporate citizens excluding any of those pesky Libertarians, Greens, Constitutionalists, Socialists, BTPers, and Naderites, because God forbid the American people should actually hear different opinions.