Did Money Buy Longmont Council Elections? You Decide.

Hard Cash, Hard Facts from the last municipal election…

The November 2009 Longmont City Council elections will go down in the history books as the most unscrupulous campaign in recent memory.  (See Boulder Weekly, 4/29/10 “Best Example of Dirty Politics”.)

Compare those who spent the most and who had the most spent on their behalf with those who won the office, and the connection between money and politics becomes vividly apparent.

Candidates Who Lost
CashIn-Kind
Bill Van DusenCity Council-At-Large$3,051$605
Kaye FissingerCity Council-At-Large$4,242$503
Karen BenkerCity Council Ward 2$7,533$474
Roger LangeMayor$4,838
Independent Expenditure from Deb Gardner$208

Candidates Who Won
CashIn-Kind
Gabe SantosCity Council-At-Large$14,620$605
Alex SammouryCity Council-At-Large$13,718$503
Katie WittCity Council Ward 2$16,557$474
Bryan BaumMayor$4,246$9,137

Political Action Committees (PAC) that supported the “winners”
Longmont Leadership
(Western Tradition Partnership)
$12,800
Citizens to Elect the Baum$775
Longmont Citizens for a Brighter Future
(Coloradans for Economic Growth)
$6,700
Longmont Watch$792

Those who won the election and their supporters spent $82,519

Those that lost the election spent $21,454

~ 4 : 1

Almost all of the money spent by the above-identified PACs on the winning candidates was funneled to them through tax-exempt, non-profit 501c4 organizations who can, and do, keep the names of their contributors secret.

It wasn’t the first time that huge amounts were contributed to the winning candidate. The Longmont Realtor PAC gave Councilmember Santos $5,000 for the special election in January 2008.

Whether it’s called quid pro quo or “pay to play,” something very interesting happened when the well-funded, and secretly-funded, candidates claimed their majority. The bank account of the City of Longmont was opened wide. Three lawsuits brought with the intent of providing a false platform for the new majority candidates were settled:

Political money/muscle
Western Tradition Partnership, Longmont Leadership Committee, Longmont Area Realtors Association, et al$68,500
Times-Call, Dean Lehman$13,500
LifeBridge Church aka Town of Firestone$100,000
$182,000

$182,000 – Not a bad return on investment

Who won the November 2009 election?

Certainly not Longmont’s citizens.

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