But that is only half of the equation of the payoff. The politicians have to pay back the unions with public contracts and political influence without getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
Pacific Resource Partnership (PRP) spent $3.6 million to ensure Kirk Caldwell beat Ben Cayetano for mayor in 2012, spending more than all mayoral candidates combined. The city more than paid it back with billions more in rail funding.
PRP spent more than $1 million to elect Josh Green as lieutenant governor and was paid back with having Brooke Wilson, political director of the Carpenters Union, immediately appointed as Green’s chief of staff. Green is expected to run for governor.
Now, looking ahead to 2020, PRP has picked Michael Formby, former chief of staff to mayoral hopeful Colleen Hanabusa, to be the director of PRP. This is making a future investment for the city rail project.
It seems like a rather interesting game of chess. But who really are the pawns?