Recall campaign funded by...stock photo models?

Published on March 18, 2021

The right-wing, billionaire-backed Recall Campaign is escalating their dishonest attacks on Councilmember Kshama Sawant. On Friday, the Recall sent out a huge 11X17 “Recall Report” mailer to 40,000 households, using one of the right-wing's favorite racist photos of the “angry brown woman” trope. 

The mailer also features a bold headline saying that the “Recall Effort is Not Funded by Billionaires” over a photo of a diverse group of people supposedly representing the Recall Campaign.

There are a couple of problems with this, however. First, the Recall has already taken donations from two local billionaires: Trump donor and ICE landlord Martin Selig, and Jeannie Nordstrom of the union-busting, retail giant Nordstrom family. Selig in particular has been known to spend big on conservative political issues, such as when he donated $25,000 to help overturn our initial 2018 Amazon Tax victory. 

The Recall’s billionaires are joined by a slew of corporate elites and rich Republicans including Dave Stephenson, the CFO of AirBnB and a former Vice President of Amazon, a plethora of wealthy real-estate developers and executives, and wealthy Trump donors like Dennis Weibling, Vidur Luthra and Greg Eneil. 

Another problem? The image that seems intended to portray their “diverse mix of working people and seniors” is, in fact, a stock photo belonging to Shutterstock titled "Diversity People Group Team Union Concept." 

Yes, really. 

These lies are nothing new from a campaign founded on alternative facts, including allegations that Kshama broke the law (she did not) and that she disclosed the address and led a protest to Mayor Durkan’s house (she did not do that either, but rather attended and spoke at the invitation of families of the victims of police brutality).

The Recall claims to represent local ‘concerned citizens’ while painting Kshama’s support as coming from ‘outside agitators’ — another typical right-wing attack. In reality, our campaign already has 65% more donors from within Kshama's district, with 845 District 3 donors compared to the Recall Campaign's 511. We also have more donors from the city of Seattle overall, including donors from every zip code in the city. 

The Recall's attack mailer also uses a map highlighting our donations from 46 states. In fact, we are proud that working people from nearly every state in the country (now 48 states!) have chipped in to the Kshama Solidarity Campaign. This is because working people around the country have been inspired again and again by the impact of Kshama’s socialist city council office.

Our victory for $15/hr in Seattle paved the way for a surge of victories for $15 in cities and states across the country. A nationwide $15 minimum wage is now a hot button issue, though unsurprisingly, Biden is resisting any lasting gains for working people that would challenge the interests of big business. 

Our Tax Amazon victory provides a powerful demonstration of how working people can stand up to corporate Goliaths as Amazon warehouse workers now fight for a union and other cities are launching similar Tax Amazon movements.

The Recall Campaign has donors from outside Seattle, too  — donors like Eric Mendelsohn, the Tennessee-based owner of National Health Investors, a major player in the national for-profit nursing home industry.

We can’t let big business buy City Hall with lies that go unanswered. We have a goal of raising $10,000 in the next week to print out posters and new literature to respond to these attacks. That’s a lot of money, but we’ve demonstrated that our grassroots, diverse, and real mix of working people can be powerful enough to take on the wrath of the corporate establishment and win. 

Add your donation today to fight back against the lies of the right-wing, billionaire-backed Recall Campaign (yes, we stand by calling uber-rich Trump donors right-wing).