The Washington Association of Realtors just put a fat thumb on one side of the Primary Election scales. Take notice. Ben Stuckart’s and Nadine Woodward’s campaign contributions had been nearly equal at about $130,000, money accrued in chunks of no more than $2000 each. Then the Washington Association of Realtors added their fat thumb with $93,000 on Woodward’s side of the scales. That’s a 73% boost in one fell swoop, swamping all the contributions of $2000 or less. (The $2000 is the WA State legal limits for contributions direct to a campaign, contributions the campaign directly controls, shall we say, “dependent” campaign money.)
How can the Realtors do that? Ah, it’s an “independent expenditure” part of “free speech” sanctified by the Citizens United ruling, a ruling the stage for which was set by big money interests, certainly not by any average “Citizens.” How do we know this $93,000 is “independent” of the campaign? Take the flier I just received in the mail with Woodward’s signature toothy smile encouraging me to vote for her in the Primary and touting her “leadership.” You certainly wouldn’t know the money was “independent” from the substance. Ah, but there it is! It’s in the fine print disclaimer in the lower right hand corner: “No Candidate Authorized this ad…” Did you miss it? What a joke. Ask yourself who or what will investigate whether an ad or a movie or a billboard is truly “independent.”
At least the Washington Association of Realtors must be supporting local businesses with this money, right? Wrong. If you click around on the Nadine’s PDC report pages you find the money was spent on print and online ads provided by Access Marketing of Denver, Colorado. I guess the printers and ad producers in Spokane can just move to Denver for their employment. That’s the level of regard for local Spokane business and labor that the Realtors possess.
Just what does the Washington Association of Realtors think they’re buying? They’re buying a malleable mayor, one with whom the Realtors will have influence, one whose “solutions” are yet to be formed. The “current City Council is too restrictive” they say. The Realtors want it all their way.
Ben Stuckart understands our city. He actually lives a life here. He understands the issues and is actually working toward solutions Nadine has not even considered.
While you’re at it, take note the Realtors put their fat thumb on the scales for Cindy Wendell for Spokane City Council President, doubling her “dependent” campaign contributions of $60,000. Wendell is one of their own: she “is the commercial real estate manager of Northtown Square, a shopping center she co-owns.” Do we really want a City Council President who co-owns a shopping center?
Take a look at the Spokesman article by reporter Adam Shanks Realtors buying voice in Spokane elections from last Sunday, July 21. The numbers and the whole sordid story are there, but outrage of those numbers represent is obscured in Mr. Shanks’ effort to appear evenhanded, Get out your pens. Read the Spokesman article on the Realtors’ “independent” campaign expenditures. Pick one point to make. Write your outrage in a letter to the editor today.
Keep to the high ground,