The following charts depict the major contributors to the five corporate initiatives appearing on Washington State’s general election ballot this November.
As the illustrations show, more than seventy five percent of the money behind each initiative came directly from a publicly traded or privately held corporation. Four out of the five of the initiatives areÂ mostlyÂ funded by just one or two named entities.
The instruments of direct democracy â€” put into place a hundred years ago to give citizens a way to combat the influence of robber barons and wealthy tycoons â€” are now being ironically used by corporations to trick us into giving up our sovereignty and handing over our common wealth to them. It’s a sorry state of affairs, but not one we have to accept.
- As depicted above, corporations, trade groups, and developers are responsible for a whopping ninety one percent of the cash behind Tim Eyman’s I-1053. This chart does not break out the corporations separately because there are so many, but here’s an accounting of the biggest names from each category:
- Big Oil Companies: BP, ConocoPhillips, Tesoro, Shell
- Trade Groups and Lobbies: Too many to list all at once, but the biggest givers are the Restaurant Association, Farm Bureau, Realtors, and Bankers Association. All of the aforementioned lobbies have the word “Washington” as the first word of their name. The Association of Washington Business — the ringleader — has also made substantial in-kind contributions.
- Wall Street Banks: JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, USBank
- Timber/Pulp Conglomerates: Green Diamond Resource Company, Sierra Pacific Industries, Boise Cascade, Weyerhauser, Georgia Pacific, Simpson, Port Blakely Tree Farms, SDS Lumber, Plum Creek,, Olympic Resource Management
- Real Estate Developers: Kemper Freeman Jr. (Kemper Holdings), Sabey Corporation, George Rowley, Martin Selig
- Other Corporations: Far too many to list all at once, but some of the biggest donations in this category came from Alaska Airlines, Liberty Mutual Group, Philip Morris USA, Schitnzer Steel, Simplot, and WA Aggregates & Concrete.
- Not represented in the chart above is $250,000 in loans taken out by Tim Eyman and $60,000 taken out by the Association of Washington Business to aid “Voters Want More Choices” and “Citizens for Responsible Spending”, respectively. While these loans count towards the total amount of cash raised for each committee, they will have to be repaid, and so are not counted in our tally.
- The Building Industry Association of Washington conceived and wrote I-1082 to attract support from large out of state insurance companies. Liberty Mutual has been the BIAW’s biggest partner to date, but other big greedy insurers from out of state, including The Hartford and Farmers, are now contributing to the plot to destroy our publicly administered industrial insurance system.
- The insurance industry, under the guise of “Consumers Against Higher Insurance Rates”, spent a record amount of money in 2007 attempting to persuade voters to reject Referendum 67, a forced vote on a consumer protection law passed by the Legislature. They failed despite having spent more than $11 million.
- The American Beverage Association, abbreviated above as Am Beverage Assn, is responsible for 99.99% of the money behind Initiative 1107. The few token cash and in-kind contributions made by individuals are so paltry they don’t even total $20,000. That’s a minuscule fraction of just one of the ABA’s checks.
- As noted on the ABA’s page in the Rogues’ Gallery, the ABA is an industry front for the Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, Dr Pepper Snapple Group and their bottlers.
- Costco, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Fred Meyer, Pacific Public Affairs, the Washington Restaurant Association, and the NW Grocers’ Association are collectively responsible for 99.999% of the money behind Initiative 1100.
- A significant portion of Costco’s total contribution consists of in-kind donations; Costco placed petitions for I-1100 inside its stores and invited its members and their guests to sign. However, Costco spent more than twice as much money paying petitioners to collect signatures outside of its stores.
- Odom Southern Holdings and Young’s Market Company are the only donors to I-1105. The measure is essentially a joint scheme between the two privately-held companies.
- Initiative 1105’s hired operatives have, amusingly, been urging voters and activists to reject Initiative 1100 (the other liquor privatization measure).