Corporate PACs are on track to spend an unprecedented amount of corporate money in this year’s City Council elections. News just broke that Tim Burgess, a former longtime conservative Seattle City Councilmember, has joined with business leaders and Republicans to form a new corporate PAC. In only 5 days, they’ve amassed over $100,000!
Combined with other dark money, predominantly from the Chamber of Commerce and Amazon’s CASE PAC, we now face a war chest of one million dollars, all with the #1 priority of electing “anybody but Kshama.”
During his 10 years on City Council and brief stint as Seattle’s interim mayor, Tim Burgess (nicknamed “Seattle’s Tywin Lannister” by The Stranger) had a long record of fighting against our movements and defending corporate interests, including leading the charge in blocking a proposal for universal child care brought forward by SEIU 925. Interestingly, one of our opponents recently named Burgess as one of “Seattle’s best mayors” in response to a question at a candidate forum (see here and here), as well as the Amazon-bought current mayor, Jenny Durkan.
In further corporate PAC news, a third PAC with the deceptively friendly name “Seattle Hospitality for Progress,” which also spent big to elect Jenny Durkan in 2017, now has almost $100,000. The PAC is funded by many of the restaurant groups which fought tooth-and-nail against our movement for $15/hr.
Our campaign is not for sale. We’re proud that instead of seeking endorsements from corporate PACs, we already have a clear lead with our support from working people, including early endorsements from nine labor unions in Seattle.
Big business is taking a savvy approach this year, recognizing that people in Seattle are angry at the corrosive influence of corporate cash in our city, so they are trying to carefully conceal their intentions. But a recent article in The Stranger exposed what’s really going on, citing Marilyn Strickland, director of the Chamber of Commerce’s corporate PAC:
Here’s the strategy: CASE hopes to avoid politically charged labels like 'business' or 'conservative' in favor of themes such as 'inclusiveness' and 'openness'— as in, 'we want a council that has an open mind, that is willing to listen to all sides of the conversation, and isn’t driven solely by ideology,' as Strickland explained.
Corporate interests like to hide behind this kind of progressive-sounding rhetoric, even claiming that our movements are ineffective. Yet this begs the question: why did big business spend a record-breaking flood of cash against us in our last re-election campaign? Why have they already raised a million dollars to spend on “anybody but Kshama?”
The answer is simple. They recognize the power of working people and oppressed communities moving into struggle to fight for their rights, empowered with the support of their own consistent fighter on the City Council dias. And they are preparing to go all out this year to stop us. Corporate PAC money is only just getting started, and they will unleash floods of attack mail and potentially even tv ads attacking Kshama Sawant.
We may not be able to match them dollar for dollar. But we will build the biggest grassroots campaign Seattle has ever seen, to talk to tens of thousands of voters in the district about our movements to win rent control, tax amazon and big business to fund affordable housing, and win a Green New Deal.
But we will only be able to do this if thousands of working people dig deep and sacrifice their valuable time and money to defend our seat for working people in Seattle City Hall. Please donate today and join #KshamaSquad this Saturday morning for our doorknocking kick off.