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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Reuven Carlyle’s Big-Biz Donors

posted by on October 22 at 13:04 PM

Is Reuven Carlyle, one of two Democrats seeking the open state house seat from the 36th legislative district, really a Republican in disguise? Supporters of his opponent, John Burbank, have been pushing that theory for a while—sending out color-coded emails, for example, implying that Carlyle’s record is “red” while Burbank’s is “blue” and calling Carlyle “the candidate of the banking industry” and “big business.” Carlyle, in response, has protested that his business background (he made his money in the wireless industry) doesn’t make him a conservative or a shill for big corporations.

Still, it’s Carlyle, not Burbank, that big corporations have thrown their weight (and money) behind. Earlier this month, the Realtors Quality of Life PAC—the political arm of the Washington Association of Realtors—did a $15,000 independent expenditure on Carlyle’s behalf. Most of that money paid for cable TV ads—an unusual move in a low-profile race like the 36th. And last week, another business-oriented PAC—“People for Jobs,” which is wholly funded by the conservative group Enterprise Washington—spent an undisclosed amount on Carlyle’s behalf.

The Realtors’ PAC donates to and spends money on behalf of both parties, but their expenditures skew heavily toward Republicans. This year, for example, the group has donated to or done independent expenditures for Democrats (including Carlyle’s $15,000) worth $36,600, according to disclosure reports; Republicans, including Dino Rossi, have received $210,000 from the group. Contributors to Enterprise Washington, meanwhile, include Weyerhaeuser, the Restaurant Association, the Master Builders of America, Safeco, Bank of America, Chevron, Premera Blue Cross, National Federation of Independent Businesses, Phillip Morris, the Retail Action Council, and the Washington Food Industry Association.

The Realtors’ PAC didn’t return my call, but Enterprise Washington president Erin McCallum did. When I asked her why the group was supporting Carlyle, she said, “Itís very clear to us that of the two candidates that came through, he is the one who would, if elected, go to Olympia with an understanding of private-sector issues and what the private sector means to the Washington State economy. … Reuvenís experience demonstrates that he will go down to Olympia and have the ability to think critically of legislation that could impact eveyroneís livelihoods in this state.” Officially, Enterprise Washington is “nonpartisan”; in reality, the group is supporting just four candidates in Washington State this year: Carlyle and three Republicans. Unfortunately, searching for anything on the PDC’s web site right now sends you to the dreaded “Error Path” (but thanks for the zillion-dollar upgrade, guys!) so I can’t give you exact numbers, but suffice it to say that Enterprise Washington is spending in the upper tens of thousands on each candidate’s behalf. On its web site, the group defines labor unions and “environmental groups” as “the competition.”

Carlyle claimed both expenditures came as a complete surprise—the Realtors’ expenditure showed up on PDC reports last week, and Carlyle said he didn’t know about the Enterprise Washington expenditure until I told him about it yesterday. “I literally have not had a conversation with [the Realtors] other than [the endorsement] process,” Carlyle said. Asked why the Realtors’ PAC might be supporting him, Carlyle said, “my platform has been driven by my central priority, quality of life, and they were responsive to that. … Homes donít sell if there aren’t jobs.”

As for the allegations that he’s not really a Democrat, Carlyle responded: “I am a passionate, progressive, lifelong Democrat. My capable opponent has not attacked me on one single policy issue. His entire pitch is guilt by association— the insinuation that you canít be a progressive Democrat and be pro-economic growth, pro-jobs, and pro-strong economy.”

RSS icon Comments


They're donating to Carlyle because Burbank is an ANTI-business candidate, not because Carlyle is a Republican, which he isn't. Burbank's smear campaign stinks, and has bought Carlyle one vote right here.

Posted by Fnarf | October 22, 2008 12:56 PM

Also to consider, I think the new Top-Two system has changed the approach many PACs must now take. Instead of just throwing money at the party that usually fits their values, they now have to take a look at the candidates and donate on the merits.

And in this case, they're sure as hell not going to pick Mr. Latte Tax. Go Reuven!

Posted by Joe M | October 22, 2008 1:13 PM

Burbank's idiotic latte tax proposal showed that he has no knowledge of how the private sector works or any personal support for people who run small businesses. Why shouldn't business groups back the only Democrat with business experience in this race?

Posted by J.R. | October 22, 2008 1:14 PM

Carlyle got the endorsements of the Sierra Club and the Washington Conservation Voters. Burbank's claim that Carlyle is some sort of manchurian candidate for evil big GOP business is ridiculous.

John has a positive message to run on, but he's mired in this BS slime campaign. He should cut it out.

Posted by Huh? | October 22, 2008 1:21 PM

Top Two RULES!

Both are good candidates.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 22, 2008 1:21 PM

Your posts are too long-winded for the Slog.

Posted by I speak on behalf of everyone | October 22, 2008 1:41 PM

But guys! Burbank made a clean sweep of endorsements from the community newspapers in the 36th! Oooooh!

I actually went and read the Ballard News-Tribune's endorsement. They wrote that both candidates were great, and their tie-breaker was that Burbank wants to keep the viaduct. That was enough to solidify my Carlyle vote right there.

Posted by Levislade | October 22, 2008 1:48 PM

Carlyle started in politics with a job with Warren Magnuson. Senator Warren Magnuson.

Carlyle as a kid spent time in a foster home.

Carlyle as an adult gave back to the ocmmunity starting some City Year program or something. You know, getting young adults out there being comunity organizers and stuff.

That's the guy that Burbank says isn't a Democrat? WTF?

Burbank = Rove???

Posted by PC | October 22, 2008 2:08 PM

Last time I looked, the Stranger had taken a highly admirable and most welcome "Hell, No" position on the odious Glacier Northwest Maury Island gravel mine.

Among Carlyle's contributors is Jamie (Martin Jr.) Durkan, head lobbyist for Glacier Northwest, which want to destroy Maury Island and a large swath of the Sound with its mega-gravel mine for the next 40 years.

Durkan also has given money to Democrats Margarita Prentice and Zack Hudgins, but both of them have condemned and voted against the gravel mine, and both are vocal supporters of Peter Goldmark for Land Commissioner.

As for Fnarf's glib comment that Burbank is an "anti-business candidate," that's just more of Fnarf's usual bullshit. Burbank isn't anti-business. He's anti-business as usual.

Other Carlyle supporters are Philip Morris, enemies of our public health, the Washington Restaurant Association, enemies of the minimum wage and of living wage legislation, and Bank of America, which helped bring us that right-wing bankruptcy bill.

If taking money from that lot makes Carlyle somehow a "progressive," whatever that means and whoever is to decide, then the word has no meaning whatever.

Posted by ivan | October 22, 2008 2:42 PM

Not to mention that Carlyle knows how to HUSTLE. He's been to every ballard farmer's market i've been to, walking up and down, meeting and talking to folks. And i've lost track of how many afternoons i've seen him - by himself, on Market and 15h waving at everyone.

Add in the hand-delivered flyers and actually going door to door i've had contact with Carlyle, no kidding, 7 or 8 times.

What contact i've had with Burkank is that he has a couple signs up in the neighborhood. That tells me Carlyle values contact with his potential constituents on a daily basis.

Th' other guy...i feel like he just had some signs printed and called it a day.

Posted by drconfusion | October 22, 2008 2:46 PM

My understanding is that Carlyle will be the ONLY member of the Legislature with kids in the Seattle Public Schools. That gets my vote right there. I cannot say I am impressed with Burbank. He seems to be running a very negative campaign based solely on who has contributed to Carlyle's campaign. As if a successful businessperson like Carlyle works a $30K/year part-time job 60 miles away from home for the money and can be bought.

Posted by gay dad | October 22, 2008 2:51 PM

As a friend of mine said, "Reuven Carlyle is the kind of guy you meet at a party and say, 'Why don't people like him ever run for office?'" I guess because when they do, they get smeared.

Posted by wow | October 22, 2008 2:55 PM

Carlyle's campaign manager is hot. Dominic wants to sample his taquito pallet.

Posted by Mercerfix | October 22, 2008 3:52 PM

@ 12:

If you think citing Public Disclosure Commission reports, which are public records, and discussing contributors' public posisitions somehow constitues a smear, then you have no clue what a smear is.

Posted by ivan | October 22, 2008 4:02 PM

i've encountered both of these candidates. They both claim the "I'm just like Obama" mantle.

Burbanks laughable campaign piece make it look like Obama's a slacker in every field he compares himself to Obama. Burbanks has done soooo much more! One category Burbank doesn't list is lobbyist. Wonder why.

Carlyle, like Obama, is the son of a single mom who depended on foodstamps throughout his childhood. Like Obama, Carlyle's basic character enabled him to make his way through adversity, to make something of himself.

Is it really helpful for Burbank to be slamming business at the same time that Gregoire is touting her accomplishments making Washington State a great environment for business?

Posted by Lynette | October 22, 2008 4:52 PM

Ivan, it's a smear. That's what guilt by association is. It's exactly the same as when the Republicans say Osama bin Laden supports Obama, or Dan Savage says Al Qaeda supports McCain. Pure sludge.

This is on top of Burbank's sleazy attack based on Carlyle riding a fucking motorcycle. Jesus, you know the man is reducing congestion and saving gas, and this stupid sleazy fuck Burbank goes on some ignorant "oooh it's a BMW motorcycle!" tip. "Let's call Carlyle elitist because his bike is a BMW!!!" Never mind that it's one of the cheapest BMWs you can buy, and in fact costs LESS than the average price of all motorcycles sold. It's one of the most affordable, practical bikes on the market, and it happens to be a BMW. But who cares about all that? If you have a chance to invent a dirty, stinky narrative, take it! Who cares about the truth?

The latte tax bullshit was the same kind of thinking. Let's stereotype everybody who goes to a coffee shop as being some kind of elitist and pick their pocket. Think of the children! Because voters are stupid, right? Right?

Burbank in a nutshell: "I know it's wrong, but hey, it might work! So do it anyway."

I am so going to gloat when your kind of Democrat loses, Ivan.

Posted by elenchos | October 22, 2008 5:41 PM

If I remember correctly, the Stranger, and muchos other Seattleites voted No and Hell No on the waterfront. Reuven is STRONGLY anti rebuild. Burbank wants a new viaduct. A pro-car, pro highway stance is hardly progressive. Vote Reuven

Posted by INOright? | October 22, 2008 7:16 PM

Ivan, you know I love you baby, but Philip Morris? Where did you see that Reuven took money from them? It just ain't so.

Posted by McKenna | October 22, 2008 8:12 PM

So, let me get this straight: if a candidate talks about his or her supporters, that's reasonable; but if someone else talks about the candidate's supporters, it's a smear.

Go through the Public Disclosure Commission reports. Over $100,000 of Reuven Carlyle's contributions are from corporations, business associations and corporate executives - over $100,000. That's not a smear, and it's not "guilt by association" - it's a simple indication of how and by whom Carlyle's campaign is being funded.

And by the way - Phillip Morris is one of the two dozen corporations that put together Enterprise Washington, which is making independent expenditures on behalf of Reuven Carlyle and several Republican candidates. So, yes, Phillip Morris is supporting Carlyle as one of their few priority races in Washington.

If anyone wants to make the argument that it doesn't matter who's supporting varoius candidates, I guess that's a position I'd be interested in seeing defended. But if it's reasonable for Carlyle (and Burbank, and everyone else running for office) to talk about the support that they'd like to publicize, it's equally reasonable for others to talk about the supporters the candidates would rather pretend don't exist.

Posted by Waldo | October 22, 2008 8:32 PM

The reason it is a smear is that Washington has a top two primary. In a thoroughly Democratic race, some reliably Republican sources of donations must make what they see as a choice of the lesser of two evils. Burbank is, based on his record, an unreasonable, and an ideologically blinkered man. Obviously Carlyle is someone who you can talk to and will at least make some sense before showing you the door.

In other words, grow up. Somebody made a political calculation and it happens every day.

Posted by elenchos | October 22, 2008 8:58 PM

Elenchos @ 16:

I take this stuff a lot less personally than you apparently do, so I don't give a flying fuck whether you gloat or not.

Posted by ivan | October 22, 2008 9:28 PM

Where did you people come from? Did Carlyle recruit his supporters right out of the Children of God? How much more cult-like can you be? I haven't seen a single independent thought from the lot of you since August. Either quit shouting the same tired bullshit on every single Carlyle themed post on the Slog or shut the fuck up. Seriously, find a local Hare Krishna group to dedicate your cloying mimicry to.

Posted by SIckOfIt | October 22, 2008 10:50 PM


No, YOU shut up! YOU SHUT UP!!!!!! YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by elenchos | October 23, 2008 8:13 AM

hmm my union SEIU is backing Carlyle...

Posted by K X One | October 23, 2008 11:38 AM

If comments like these are the result of a top 2 primary, they'll end up splitting the Democratic party. Great. I've made a decision. As hard as it is, I'm trying not to HATE the other candidate, no matter how flawed. Just a personal exercise. Anyone else?

Posted by Fleabitus | October 23, 2008 11:31 PM

I just left John's side about 20 minutes ago, he had been walking my precinct and I joined him for a bit, I, as a PCO decided months ago to walk and talk w/ John, at the Magnolia Farmers market, at the many fairs in Magnolia, one reason I have joined w/ John was because he has taken the principled step of REFUSING corporate money. The root of the rot in our politics is corporate money. Look at Rossi, here in our home state, awash with corporate money, and the lies they pay for. Corporate money may not be the root of all evil, but it surely helps pay for it. Personally, I would rather my representative be beholden to the voters, not the corporate interests, because no matter what anybody says, corporations are not people.

Posted by TomDem55 | October 24, 2008 8:47 PM

GayDad #11: That line about "the ONLY member of the Legislature with kids in the Seattle Public Schools" is misleading. John just happens to be old enough that his son graduated from Ballard HS last spring. Both of his kids went "straight through" Seattle public schools. And Carlyle supporters whine about negative campaigning? (Also, in the race for the open seat in the 46th, if Pollet wins, he has children in Seattle schools, and if White wins, he has younger children who probably will be.)

John is not anti-business; he is pro-working family. Big business has plenty of advocates in Olympia, bought and paid for. Both parties. We non-corporate, community oriented folks need our voices in Olympia also. John has worked successfully for many years to obtain legislation protective of our interests, sneering about the latte tax proposal notwithstanding.

Posted by Toby | October 24, 2008 10:48 PM

Also, DrConfusion #10, "i feel like he just had some signs printed and called it a day." If you don't know what you're talking about, please don't say anything. John and Reuven have both walked hundreds of precincts. John continues to doorbell almost every day. A lot of those signs are a result of his personal contacts.

Posted by Toby | October 24, 2008 11:01 PM

Going back to the original article - Reuven is a through and through democrat - his history, his policies and everything many said in the existing posts represent that. More important than labels, though, is that we need a representative who will look and work beyond labels - and work to unite people, not divide them. The challenges we face are too enormous for people to look for the differences and, instead, like Reuven has done time and time again - we need to look for the commonalities and start there at building for the future. By pitting people of different tax brackets against one another or by pitting business against workers or by pitting neighborhoods v. downtown (as he did in a recent email), Burbank continues to search for dividing lines.

I'm going to vote for change up and down the ticket - that includes Carlyle in the 36th. NOW - time to get back to canvassing for Obama and Gregoire. We don't have time to continue this intra-party bickering.

Posted by Uniteforchange | October 25, 2008 2:36 PM

Unitedforchange #29: Good post. However, I partly disagree. On the one hand it's a shame that John and Reuven could not work out a campaign finance limit. Who is more responsible I'll leave to another exchange. (And even if they agreed, how would you control the 527 expenditures such as the by the corporate money at issue in this thread?)

I strongly disagree that "intra-party bickering" is a bad thing, at least so long as it's civil and sticks to the issues. Who pays for elections is a major issueóFirst Law of Politics = "Follow the Money". Helen Sommers had problems with the left end of her base precisely because of her acceptance of corporate money and the consequent move toward to the middle. Some of the best legislators do accept those funds (including John's stalwart supporter Mary Lou Dickerson), but it does make it harder for them to stay true to progressive positions.

My bottom line: In a heavily Democratic district like the 36th, there is no other chance for public policy debates such as the current race except within the Democratic tent. We should celebrate it. With spending caps, and paying attention to where the money is coming from.

Posted by Toby | October 25, 2008 5:25 PM

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