News Sonics Owners May Be Linked to Anti-Union Money
posted by April 16 at 15:49 PMon
Opponents of the $500 million Sonics subsidy mined Oklahoma campaign finance records this weekend to uncover some info they hope will influence Democratic lawmakers to vote down any proposed hand out for the new Sonics owners.
Anti-stadium leader Chris Van Dyk reports that five of the eight new Sonics/Storm owners, including Clay Bennett, were contributors to a controversial “Right to Work” initiative that passed in Oklahoma in 2001. This news, Van Dyk hopes, will help Dems stand up to the Washington State Labor Council, which is pressuring Dems to go along with the proposal.
I’m still looking over the records to confirm the contributions, which may include $15,000 from new Sonics owner Bennett, and $200,000 from Chesapeake Energy—where new Sonics owner Aubrey McClendon is the CEO and another new Sonics owner, Tom Ward, used to be the CEO.
This would be two strikes against the new Sonics owners for Democrats. Late last Februray, I reported that the two of the new Sonics/Storm owners had bankrolled an anti-gay marriage group—not pleasing news to Storm fans.
I didn’t report that news as a ploy to undo popular support for the deal, I just reported it: It seemed newsworthy given the Storm’s fan base.
However, when the news broke, Robert Jamieson, over at the PI, wrote a pretend contrarian truth column saying it was finicky and unfair to reject the Sonics deal over the owners’ politics. Never mind that their politics, funding an anti-gay marriage group, had/has a tangible effect on a big bloc of Storm fans who would potentially be giving money to that cause. In short, rejecting someone for what they “think” is one thing … rejecting them for what they “do” is quite another.
Anyway, I bring this up because when I reported the anti-gay marriage contributions, accusations flew that I was advocating a boycott or something. I wasn’t. Again, deal or no deal in play, it seemed like big news when I found out that some owners of the Storm were heavy contributors to an anti-gay marriage group.
However, Van Dyk, by busting out this news about anti-union contributions today—as a Senate vote is pending on a Sonics deal—is obviously operating politically.