RIAA WITH A SIDE OF GIN & JUICE: Invitations haven’t gone out yet, but PI has the inside scoop on the Recording Industry Association of America’s annual holiday party. Rapper Snoop Dogg is headlining the hot ticket Dec. 7 at the 930 Club for the trade association’s annual fete. Artist Wiz Khalifa and Grandmaster Dee of Whodini are also slated to perform. The event benefits the charity Musicians on Call, which provides in-room bedside performances to patients in health care facilities such as Walter Reed National Military Center. PI hears the invites going out as soon as today will list several sponsors including Microsoft, MasterCard, Walmart, Amgen, T-Mobile, the U.S. Chamber’s Global IP Center and the National Beer Wholesalers Associations, among others.
And it’s cosponsored with the odious U.S. Chamber of Commerce division devoted to promoting Internet censorship.
If a straight up lobbying firm brought in a few hip hop stars and offered a private party for Capitol Hill staffers, it would be a violation of the ethics code. But its these little freebies that fly under the radar. And as a trade association Christmas party, these sorts of events don’t receive enough scrutiny, especially since they aren’t billed as influence peddling events. Although the room will be filled with entertainment industry lobbyists pushing the Internet censorship bill, it’s all good since its a supposed charity event for Walter Reed. But don’t be fooled. Parties like these are not unlike the VIP Delta flight service for lawmakers, or the Friends of Angelo program at subprime mortgage giant Countrywide, or the vacation parties provided to congressmen as “policy retreats.”
For more on the Internet censorship law pushed by the RIAA and other corporate lobbying groups (particularly the movie, software, and broadcasting industry), see here.