In DC land developers donate thousands to campaigns, get millions in subsidies from city

Capitol construction cc

DC is booming. Washington is now the wealthiest metro area in the United States. Money over the past few years especially has been aggregated from around the country and deposited in the capital. Shiny new buildings abound. Construction is happening. Jack hammers and nail guns are heard. The “market” for new buildings is there. Such construction clearly does not need to be subsidized.

And yet many of the new construction projects going up in the District are in fact subsidized by taxpayers. Acording to WAMU it appears that a nice little arrangement has been worked out between developers and city council. Developers give money to candidates. Candidates who become council members vote to give money to the developers.

Given that DC has the highest per capita conviction of officials for corruption this is not surprising.


Groups receiving subsidies donated more than $2.5 million in campaign cash.

The ten developers that donated the most were on development teams that benefit from $641 million – or more than a third of all the subsidies examined.

Nearly half of the donors had multiple affiliates donating and 19 had at least 10.

Less than 5 percent of the subsidies were for projects in wards 7 and 8 — the city’s poorest areas with a fourth of the population.

A dozen developers spent the most campaign cash the year their subsidy was approved and there were 10 dates in which three or more companies developing a project together donated to a single candidate on the same day.