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Airbnb Is Outspending Its Opponents in November’s Election By a Factor of 44

The tab to defeat San Francisco's Prop F is $8.8 million—and counting.

Excerpt of infographic via Crowdpac. 

 

Airbnb has sunk a whole lotta cash into the fight against Proposition F, the San Francisco ballot initiative that would cap vacation rentals at 75 nights per year. How much? Oh, a cool $8.8 million so far, which is 44 times the amount ($200,000) that's been raised by the measure's proponents. In fact, the grand total (so far) of $8.8 million is four times more than the next biggest local campaign, the Giants' Mission Rock development proposal. That amounts to more than $10 per San Franciscan. 

According to data compiled by civic tech startup Crowdpac, it’s clear that Airbnb is not messing around in its efforts to kill Prop F. And in doing so, it is blowing every other major donor seeking influence in November’s election out of the water. Using public records, Crowdpac tracked the largest donations going to the candidates and initiatives on the November 3 ballot. The resulting infographic (which you should definitely play with here) doesn’t capture all the money sloshing around this election cycle; rather, it shows which candidates and measures the largest donors are supporting. Crowdpac found that Airbnb’s segment “was so big, we had to resize the infographic,” says a spokesperson.

Airbnb’s spending hasn’t quite reached the heights of Big Soda’s $9 million push to defeat 2014’s Proposition E, which would have taxed sugary beverages. But it's only early October—almost four weeks remain before November 3. By comparison, the roughly $500,000 in donations from developers and realtors fighting the Mission moratorium, Proposition I, looks like a bake sale.

Airbnb’s influence mongering jumps out so starkly in part because of the off-year election, where not even the mayoral race is stirring up much interest. “There’s such a lack of activity in the other races,” notes Mason Harrison, Crowdpac’s political director. “We aren’t seeing a huge flood of money going into the District 3 race, for instance.” (Though Ron Conway may be changing that.

Crowdpac compiled the data on big donors to help inform its new digital voter guide for San Francisco, which just launched yesterday. It's well worth plunging into.

 

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