The Bee’s Ryan Lillis reported today that Mayor Johnson’s “Think Big” arena task force received funds from the Sacramento Kings, with whom of course the Mayor has negotiated on a proposed arena.
Apparently Johnson missed a 30-days deadline for reporting many of the donations; in fact donations made last summer were reported in August. This is a major scandal that in a fair world would keep Johnson from getting reelected or even finishing his term.
The Mayor is, of course, not available to comment, as he is known for missing work. But Lillis includes a quote from a think-tanker who claims that the donations “did not create a direct conflict of interest for the mayor because Johnson did not personally benefit from the team’s donations.” Whether he personally benefited is a debatable point, as the promise of keeping the Kings and/or building a new arena is one of the things that elected Johnson.
More importantly: Of course it is a conflict of interest. If the Mayor wanted to uphold the citizens’ interest, wouldn’t he want to avoid funding the project with money taken from the party with which he holy crap why do I even have to finish that question.
As always, I’m open to the idea that I’m wrong. If there were no negotiation aspect to the story, I suppose this would not be as much of a problem for the mayor. Am I missing something?
3 thoughts on “KJ’s Think Big funded by Kings, Bee reports”
Yes it is a conflict of interest. But historically voters are generally accepting of this level of conflicted interests. As the article states, many on the city council also use behest funding, Johnson is just using more of it. And every member of the city council accepts campaign donations from groups they will negotiate with while in office, most notably labor unions and development interests.
The issue here is transparency, not conflict of interests.
That’s a good point. This just happens to be on basically the largest scale possible within City scope.
I agree with cogmeyer, but I will say the one difference in this situation is that ThinkBig and other groups that are part of the SPPC were actually allowed to reside inside of City Hall and use public resources while at the same time being funded by corporate interests.