Is it possible for a corporation to buy an election? Of course it is, just ask companies like Home Depot and Wal-Mart, who rely on corporate money to win voter campaigns. Latest case in point, the vote next Tuesday in Frisco, Colorado. Frisco voters will decide whether the city can continue its negotiations with the developer and Home Depot. REA Development, which is pushing the Home Depot project, has contributed $20,000 to the group Friends for Frisco’s Future, which represents 95% of what the pro Home Depot group has raised. According to the Summit Daily News, REA has contributed more to the campaign in one check than the two anti Home Depot groups have collected from 125 donors. The Frisco Business Alliance and The Citizens Against Home Depot are working together to stop the planned construction of the REA project. The Frisco Business Alliance reported raising $4,865, and the Citizens Against Home Depot have raised $9,977. The final campaign spending report, which will not take place until after the election, is expected to show a large additional amount of spending by REA and/or Home Depot. In other campaign news, a wetlands expert from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the impact from this retail development on the Meadow Creek wetlands adjacent to the 9.4 acres parcel that Home Depot wants, needs to be considered by voters. The wetlands expert, Tony Curtis, criticized an ad run by the REA-funded group, which claimed the Home Depot won’t impact the wetlands. Curtis says that’s misleading, and that Home Depot could be significant if the potential development doesn’t incorporate adequate best management practices, including buffers, drainage and runoff control and filtration. The pro Home Depot groups charges that Curtis has a conflict of interest, since he owns property and lives adjacent to the Meadow Creek. But Curtis said he is the certified Corps wetlands scientist in Summit County, responsible for protecting and maintaining the physical, chemical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters and wetlands. “I’m representing the Clean Water Act,” Curtis told the Summit Daily News. “I try to step back and look at the whole issue, and the issue is wetlands and what they do in the county.” Curtis insists that the Home Depot project needs a 100 foot buffer from the wetlands, not the 35 foot buffer called for in Home Depot’s plans. The voters next Tuesday will get the final say on the plan, and REA is betting that their money will speak louder than Curtis’ words.
For other stories of how large corporations spend unlimited funds to get development projects approve at the polls, search Newsflash by “voters”.