Mayoral race: The political clout of Atlanta's airport vendors
'Airport money has helped fuel Atlanta politics for decades and has sporadically delivered scandal'
Joeff Davis/CL fileMoney from Atlanta airport vendors comprises roughly a third of mayoral candidate Keisha Lance Bottoms campaign contributions, according to Bloomberg Politics.
Bottoms is destined for a runoff election versus city council colleague Mary Norwood, and some strategists say these contestants will need to highlight ethics reform in the weeks leading up to the vote. Bottoms' campaign donors have prompted suspicions of her ties to City Hall's corruption scandal, and the political influence of airport contractors has become a hot button issue in the race to succeed Mayor Kasim Reed.
Via Bloomberg: "Airport money has helped fuel Atlanta politics for decades and has sporadically delivered scandal. In the 1990s, one airport contractor admitted slipping hundreds of dollars to a city councilman every Thursday at breakfast. Another councilman was a secret subcontractor for a vendor while voting to lower the vendor's airport rent. A former mayor went to prison in 2006 on tax charges related to alleged funny business with runway dirt. A federal jury delivered a $17.5 million judgment in 2010 to an Atlanta company that said the city had allowed Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. and a city-favored minority subcontractor to control airport concourse advertisement without bidding for 30 years. Airport vendors continued to fund campaigns all along."