Saturday, January 05, 2013

Forest City Enterprises employees: third in campaign contributions in Ohio

It's part of the DNA of Forest City Enterprises and its subsidiaries: get involved in the political system. (See this 11/27/05 article, part of a Cleveland Plain Dealer special report on the company.)

The Toledo Blade reported 12/30/12, Ohio smiles on workers' political gifts: Incentives seem to follow firms with hefty political donors, in Part 1 of a two-part series:
Companies whose employees made sizable contributions to campaigns and political groups in Ohio received larger incentives to create jobs and aid industry from the state than did those that donated less or not at all, a seven-month Blade investigation found.

...“The agency doesn’t pay attention to — or even care — who makes political contributions, and that’s consistent regardless of the party in power,” Todd Walker, Ohio Development Services Agency spokesman, said in a statement released to The Blade. “The focus is job creation and contractual covenants regarding conflicts of interest.”
Excerpt from Toledo Blade graphic
The Blade studied more than 10,000 loans and grants over more than five years, since July 2007. Guess who came in third in the contribution list:
Jeff Linton, a spokesman for Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprises, said donating to a campaign or political group is up to an employee’s discretion and isn’t dictated by the company. Forest City’s employees ranked third highest among the contributors, donating about $883,153. The company was awarded two grants worth a total of $1.2 million in 2010 and 2011.
Forest City, it should be noted, did not get the biggest bang for its bucks. But it did reasonably well.

Giving to the governor

In Part 2, $327M for firms follows workers’ gifts of $11.3M: Ex-Gov. Strickland topped recipients in last decade, the Blade reported 12/31/12:
Political giving to Republican candidates outnumbers Democratic donations by about 80 percent...The politician receiving the most contributions, however, is former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, who received $736,059 from employees at firms that obtained state grants and loans.

...Mr. Strickland received contributions from employees at 188 companies. The former governor’s largest contributors included Cleveland-based Forest City Enterprise, whose employees gave $87,250, and Huntington National Bank, which showed $40,615 in contributions.

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