And it doesn’t paint a pretty picture of and for Charlotte:

The fundraising limits compound a number of other factors — from the sluggish economy to the Obama administration’s strained relationship with the business community — that have made it harder to convince corporations and trade groups to underwrite the parties and other events around the convention, they say.

Fewer members of Congress are also expected to attend than in years past.

“I think there’s more and more of a sense that the conventions are an anachronism and why bother? Why spend all this money?” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Dick Gephardt and John Kerry.

Democrats also face a tougher political environment than they did four years ago, when they gathered in Denver to crown Obama as the first African American to win a major party’s presidential nomination. And many were already less than enthusiastic about spending a week in Charlotte, which is known more for its banks than its cultural amenities.

“It’s grim,” said Heather Podesta, a Democratic lobbyist who scouted 30 of the city’s restaurants earlier this year. “Going to the NASCAR Hall of Fame isn’t reason enough to be in Charlotte.”

Party insiders worry that the restrictions will lead to a bare-bones convention that will alienate the allies they need to inspire ahead of the election. Labor unions, for example, donated $8.6 million to the party’s 2008 convention but are not participating this year.