“You can do it, we can help.” Home Depot’s slogan should serve well as the campaign slogan for Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi, who wants to be the Governor of New York. With a lot of financial help from Home Depot founders, Suozzi hopes to rise from an unknown, to Gracie Mansion. Fueled by contributions from Home Depot financier Ken Langone, plus current and past CEOs of the world’s largest home improvement retailer, Suozzi is running against New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. According to campaign finance reports, Suozzi has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from people with ties to Langone, a registered Republican and target of a Spitzer lawsuit. Langone, a Queens-born investment banker made a large fortune providing seed money for Home Depot. Langone also made headlines as a defendant in Eliot Spitzer’s lawsuit over the pay package awarded to former New York Stock Exchange chief Richard Grasso. Langone has help build Suozzi’s campaign for Governor with a $300,000 contribution. Suozzi has also received money from Langone’s wife, and two adult sons, plus business and charity group associates. “I’ve found a substantial number in the business community inside and outside New York who feel that Spitzer as governor wouldn’t be friendly to business,” Langone told Bloomberg News. Citizen Action of New York, an activist group that has endorsed Spitzer, criticized Suozzi’s acceptance of Langone- linked contributions as “relying on dirty money from Wall Street insiders.” Langone was named by Spitzer as a defendant in a May, 2004 lawsuit over his role as head of the stock exchange compensation committee that awarded Grasso a $187 million retirement package. Suozzi’s donors also include Home Depot Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Bob Nardelli, who gave $16,200. Walter Buckley, an original Home Depot shareholder and his wife, Marjorie, contributed $32,000. Home Depot co-founder Bernard Marcus and his wife, Billi, gave $32,000.
Democrats and union members in New York and elsewhere who shop at Home Depot are helping to line the pockets of people like Langone, Nardelli and Marcus, who then use their resources to underwrite the campaigns of conservative Republicans like Suozzi. If Home Depot put over its doors the slogan, “Help a Right-Wing Conservative, Shop Here,” would Democrats and union members keep hunting for those cheap Korean and Chinese tools on Home Depot’s shelves?