The Buzz

Heavies give to the streetcar campaign — then give to streetcar opponents

Someone needs to figure out the Heavies.

The Heavy Constructors is one of the most important lobbying groups in the Kansas City area, having poured millions into political campaigns large and small over the years.

They spent money opposing the Jackson County translation tax last year, apparently convincing at least one political consultant to flip sides at the last minute to protect its access to the sales tax.

Organizations allied with the Heavies have given more than $500,000 for the Amendment 7 campaign in Missouri, the highway sales tax.

But the Heavies also gave $25,000 to Connect KC, the group working for the streetcar in Kansas City.

Then, on July 23, the Heavies gave Freedom Inc., $50,000. Freedom is against the streetcar.

It’s possible the $50K went for materials related to the highway sales tax. But a Freedom mailer promoting that tax was part of the now-infamous “Jim Crow” mailer claim against the streetcar.

And that mailer will most likely have a far greater impact on the streetcar debate than on the statewide sales tax election. Moreover, even some Freedom board members admit the mailer points out Freedom’s hypocrisy: a streetcar sales tax hurts the poor, but a highway sales tax — does what?

So — the Heavies spent $25K through Connect KC to promote the streetcar, then at least part of $50K, through Freedom, to oppose it.

Seems like the Heavies have a lot of money to throw around.