BP again donates to 1053; JPMorgan Chase joins pantheon of greedy corporations trying to sabotage democracy

Ballot WatchdoggingEye on Money: Developments

As elections officials across Washington State prepare to put several million ballots in the mail to Washingtonians, skittish corporate operatives working for the Association of Washington Business are busily soliciting and accepting funds to prop up Tim Eyman’s scheme to sabotage our democracy, which they apparently fear isn’t going to sell itself despite Tim’s gift for media manipulation.

Days after the AWB itself loaned $60,000 to “Citizens for Responsible Spending” (which is not run by or for any “citizens”), a new onslaught of checks suddenly began arriving from wealthy corporations.

Since the beginning of the month, Tesoro and ConocoPhillips have each put up another $25,000, while BP contributed $35,000, bringing its aggregate total to $100,000 and making it the single largest corporate donor to Tim Eyman’s assault on our cherished tradition of majority rule.

Banking giant JPMorgan Chase, which acquired WaMu from the FDIC in a hastily-arranged fire sale only two years ago, sent in $30,000 at about the same time. Chase is the fourth Wall Street bank to contribute to I-1053 (the others are Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and USBank).

“It’s ironic that so many Wall Street banks, which nearly collapsed under the weight of all the bad bets they made, are trying to wreck our state government so it can’t work for us after being bailed out by the federal government,” said NPI Executive Director Andrew Villeneuve. “Their shamelessness knows no bounds. Let’s be clear: This is about wanton, unchecked greed. It’s as simple as that. ”

An updated analysis by NPI has found that a whopping ninety one percent of the money behind I-1053 came from a corporation. Only nine percent came from individuals, and some of the individual donors are affiliated with corporations that donated.

The analysis found that:

  • $315,000 came from big oil companies,
  • $305,589.89 came from corporate trade groups and lobbies like the Farm Bureau, Realtors, Bankers Association, and the Association of Washington Business,
  • $93,000 came from timber and pulp companies,
  • $57,500 came from Wall Street banks,
  • $65,000 came from real estate developers like Kemper Freeman Jr./Martin Selig,
  • $114,968.00 came from other companies large and small, including Alaska Airlines, Philip Morris USA, Schnitzer Steel, Liberty Mutual Group, and Simplot.
  • Only $91,123.40 came from individuals.

A breakdown is available at StopGreed.org.

“Were it not for the likes of BP, Bank of America, Tesoro, JPMorgan Chase, ConocoPhillips, and Simpson/Green Diamond Resource Co., we would not be voting on Initiative 1053. This is not a citizen’s initiative. It’s a cold, caclulated attempt to trick we the people of Washington into giving up our sovereignty,” Villeneuve said. “The corporate lobbyists behind 1053 want to tighten their grip on our Capitol. Under this measure, all they have to do is persuade seventeen of Washington’s forty nine senators to side with them and they can defeat any bill that would end their special tax breaks. That’s not democratic, fair, or constitutional.”

Learn more about why Initiative 1053 is a bad idea.

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Retired Sacramento Bee reporter Stephen Green explains how California’s version of 1053 has hurt Golden State
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