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Highway contractors give heavily to T-SPLOST bid
July 17, 2012 — A citizens’ group today called out two committees pushing the July 31 transportation sales tax referendum for failing to disclose their donors. The Transportation Leadership Coalition also identified donors of at least $434,000 to the pro-tax effort.
While we wait for those disclosures, I’ve found more than $800,000 more that was shelled out to sell the sales-tax referendum.
The state ethics commission’s website lets you search for spending by registered political action committees, which generally represent a single corporation or industry. By looking up Citizens for Transportation Mobility and the Georgia Transportation Alliance in the “expenditure” field, I came up with a quick list of $1,267,000 in donations to the two groups.
C.W. Matthews Contracting Co., Georgia’s biggest road-paver, topped the list by chipping in $300,000 to the two groups through June 30. Other road-building donors include E.R. Snell, the Concrete and Crushed Stone PACs, and the American Council of Engineering Companies.
Here’s my list of donors, followed by the Transportation Leadership Coalition’s news release, which doesn’t seem to be posted yet on its website:
- $300,000 C.W. Matthews Contracting Co.
- $265,000 Georgia Power Co.
- $225,000 Delta Air Lines
- $100,000 AT&T
- $75,000 E.R. Snell Contractor Inc.
- $67,800 Georgia Concrete PAC
- $50,000 General Electric Co.
- $50,000 Stone PAC
- $25,000 Georgia Apartment Association
- $25,000 Norfolk Southern Corp.
- $25,000 United Distributors
- $15,000 Georgia Association of Realtors
- $12,500 Georgia Crown Distributing
- $12,500 American Council of Engineering Companies
- $10,000 Georgia Group PAC Inc.
- $5,000 Builders PAC
- $2,500 McGuire Woods Federal PAC
- $2,000 United Health Services PAC of Georgia
- $1,000 SunTrust
(The Coalition’s July 17 news release:)
July 17, 2012, Roswell, GA – The Transportation Leadership Coalition (TLC) has uncovered documentation of large donor contributors to Citizens for Transportation Mobility and the Transform Metro Atlanta campaign and/or the Georgia Transportation Alliance and the Connect Georgia 2012 campaign. However, as of today, none of these entities have filed campaign contribution disclosure reports for their ballot committees per Georgia’s state ethics rules. The filing deadline was yesterday, Monday, July 16, 2012, for donation thresholds of $500. Citizens for Transportation Mobility has been a registered ballot committee since June 2, 2010 and has filed no disclosure reports to date.
One list of donors to Citizens for Transportation Mobility (CTM) and/ or Connect Georgia 2012 shows total contributions of least $434,000 by 39 companies. Donors are categorized as:
Cabinet – $50,000+ each, 3 companies
Advisor – $25,000+ each, 4 companies
Supporter – $10,000+ each, 13 companies
Patron – $5,000+ each, 9 companies
Friend – $1,000+ each, 9 companies
Other – 1 company
The contributor list, including donation amounts, can be found at: http://acecga.org/docs/thank%20you%20list.pdf
“As a straight forward, grassroots organization, TLC has filed at each and every deadline since our inception in April,” said Jack Staver, chairman of the Transportation Leadership Coalition. “I am continually disappointed by the behavior of these special interest groups such as CTM. Not only do they lack any sense of moral conscious by not reporting their true financial picture, they are not trustworthy with the information they spew out to the public,” Staver continues. “It is painfully obvious now that T-SPLOST is not about relieving Atlanta’s traffic jam or providing statewide transportation solutions. T-SPLOST is solely about economic development that benefits a few large companies who also happen to be large donors to the effort to get this tax passed by unsuspecting voters. It’s shameful.”
In March, the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a list of donors to the transportation referendum. At the top of the list is Cox Enterprises, the paper’s owner. Of the 104 companies on the list, more than half (over 50) will directly benefit from T-SPLOST’s passage. The contributors’ list on AJC’s website can be found here: http://www.ajc.com/opinion/on-the-record-1396653.html
Staver said, “It is no wonder the AJC has occasionally added a disclaimer to their editorial pages. Journalistic ethics requires them to use the disclaimer on all T-SPLOST related articles but I’ve only seen it once. The more the onion is peeled back and I speak with my neighbors and others about T-SPLOST, I realize why we are losing faith in our political and business leaders. They are ‘in it’ for themselves which is never good for their political constituents or the customers these businesses serve.”
About Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC
Transportation Leadership Coalition, LLC, is a grassroots, all-volunteer organization that has come together in the belief that the State of Georgia can do a much better job of transportation planning than passing the largest tax increase in Georgia history and spending the money on politically-favored rail projects, trapping us into a tax situation that will continue forever. We believe that if Georgians understand the facts about the project list and the proposed management of the funds and projects, they will overwhelmingly reject it.