Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Money Can't Buy Me Love

The Political Action Committees (PAC's) to support and oppose the Greenlight Pinellas light rail referendum are required to file their campaign reports of their donors, donations and expenditures each month. 

The pro Greenlight Pinellas PAC, Friends of Greenlight, has raised almost a half million dollars. Their filings can be found at the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections website here.  

Who are their heavy hitter donors?
  • Duke Energy - $50K - the seed money for Yes for Greenlight
  • SEIU Florida Public Services Union - $2.5K (the same group we previously posted funds the Progressive Peoples Budget Review organization)
  • Pinellas Realtor Organization - $10K
  • Tampa Bay Partnership - over $18K of in kind Administrative, Accounting Services and Office Supplies (this special interest organization was the symbiotic twin of pro rail PAC Moving Hillsborough Florida in 2010, pushed to create TBARTA and apparently coordinates their legislative agenda with taxpayer funded TBARTA)
  • National Association of Realtors with an address out of Chicago, IL - $245K (the Chicago way comes to Pinellas...)
  • Tampa Bay Rays - $25K (they're looking for a new taxpayer funded stadium but apparently can blow $25K on a train)
  • Carlton Fields - Tampa - $10K (this law firm helped lead the failed rail effort in Hillsborough)
  • Baycare - $25K (healthcare wanting to take more out of our wallets?)
  • Raymond James - $50K (aren't they planning to move to Pasco?)
  • Sykes in Tampa -  $50K (Sykes was the largest donor to the pro rail PAC Moving Hillsborough Forward in Hillsborough in 2010) 
  • TECO Energy - $20K
There are some individuals that contributed, mostly nominal amounts, including a number of donors from Tampa who can't vote in Pinellas but support the "cause". Many of the donors, whether individual or corporate, are associated with the Tampa Bay Partnership.

Does this look eerily familiar? It is. The 2010 money is the same as the 2014 money. These corporations and organizations must be doing very well today.  They keep throwing tens of thousands of dollars towards their "hopes" of getting a train.  Do they have money to burn or will they benefit?

Friends of Greenlight spent money on direct mail, consulting, yard signs, video production and their new PR firm. They had to drop their former PR firm Tucker Hall who was already representing PSTA's Greenlight Pinellas campaign......

The opposition PAC, No Tax For Tracks, campaign filing can be found here.  No Tax For Tracks has raised about $30.5K.  Besides the vast difference in the amounts each PAC has raised, the other big difference is that ALL donations to No Tax For Tracks are from individuals and they are donors who live in Pinellas and can vote. 
David vs Goliath
We'll continue following the Money "Train" and report this information as the election cycle heats up. This David vs Goliath will be worth watching (again).

But like the old Beatles song - "Money Can't Buy Me Love"

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