Ethics in Government

Pay-to-Play

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport

 
Campaign contributions have no place in how government conducts in business on behalf of citizens.

Companies and individuals that conduct business with cities and counties often provide the lion’s share of campaign contributions in local races. This results in contracting practices that are wasteful and unfair. Ultimately, Georgia citizens pay for it.


The Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is one place where pay-to-play has created a legacy of corruption. Board member, Dr. Kerwin Swint authored a report summarizing some of the major scandals and cases that the Airport has been involved in over the past 30 years.


In light of the recent awarding of Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Concession contracts, Common Cause is calling on the City of Atlanta to enact campaign finance reform aimed to limit the money a vendor can contribute to a political campaign. The proposal specifically caps contributions at $250 every four years, for those who have or seek a city contract. If a corporation exceeded the limit, they would forfeit any contracts they currently have, and/or their ability to compete for contracts the upcoming year. Though the City of Atlanta has not yet adopted our proposal, they did release the names of the team members who will recommend which vendors should receive the contracts and Mayor Reed returned a portion of the donations that he received from contract hopefuls.  

 
You can read our proposed amendment here.

Click here to read Dr. Swint’s whitepaper on the airport's history of corruption.

 

 

Below is  a timeline of some of the major controversies that have been uncovered during the current contracting process. All of these instances highlight how Pay-to-Play reform can prevent the perception problems that arise when mixing campaign contributions and government contracts.