He may have thought he was sly to have this stuck in the fine print, but now the truth is out.
In Democrat Ralph Northam’s agreement with Amazon, the Virginia Governor slid in a clause that wasn’t meant to make headline news.
But now the facts have surfaced and the press are left speechless.
$500 Million in Crony Gifts Are Just the Start
Taxpayers were already outraged at Governor Northam for the crony deal that will bring half of Amazon’s new headquarters to Northern Virginia.
Arlington started it out with cash payments totaling $23 million.
But the state of Virginia backed it up with a payout of more than half a billion dollars.
And that’s just the start.
The real kicker is a clause placed deep in the deal’s fine print.
In fact, it reveals that Northam is willing to go so far as using state resources to slow reporters and the public from looking into Amazon.1
Northam’s Deal Vows to Protect Amazon from FOIA ‘Problems’
It started when local reporter Benjamin Freed combed through the deal’s fine print.
And when he found one glaring detail, Freed knew he had to go public.
Freed discovered that Northam’s deal commits to protect Amazon from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) ‘problems’ using state resources.
The stated goal is to help Amazon seek a protective order against journalists or the concerned public.
This includes Northam’s team giving Jeff Bezos no less than two days heads-up if someone files a FOIA request.
Simply put, this would help Bezos shut down any reporters he doesn’t want looking into his business.
But Northam’s deal also promises to cooperate with Bezos which may involve blocking, limiting, or otherwise respond to any record requests.
Here’s Freed’s full release from Twitter:
This may actually be the most extreme instance of a state government partnering with a large corporation to block or limit FOIA requests.
Northam-Bezos FOIA Suppressant Adds Fuel to the Fire
The reveal that Northam is working hand-in-hand with Bezos to more easily limit FOIA requests is certainly the most shocking detail of the agreement.
But it’s not the only reason taxpayers are feeling gutted.
Before the sweetheart deal was even signed, Northam claimed in the text that the Metro and D.C. traffic are no big issue, and Amazon’s move would not greatly exacerbate problems.
His deal reads “regional and local transit systems have significant unused capacity, even during peak travel periods.”2
Any Virginian who lives within 60 miles of D.C. knows that’s not the case.
In fact, Northern Virginia resident Jim Geraghty calls the claim “otherworldly.”
“Washington regularly tops the list of worst traffic in the country and the world,” Geraghty explains in National Review.
However, since the project will include the construction of a helipad, Bezos will likely be unaffected.
Local residents, on the other hand, will be left with the gridlock.
Arlington to Raise Taxes to Pay Amazon
Under Northam’s deal, the state government will give Amazon more than half a billion dollars.
The City of Arlington will back that up with another $23 million.
On paper, this money will come from growth on a tax of hotel rooms, the local Transit Occupancy Tax.
“In other words, Arlington is raising taxes in order to pay Amazon to locate there. This is not how government and taxation are supposed to work,” explains Geraghty.
“This deal should be tattooed onto the forehead of Governor Ralph Northam. Never let a Virginia Democrat claim that Republicans are ‘in the pocket of big business and special interests’ again.”
What do you think?
Should Governor Northam consider renegotiating this deal? Or is bringing an Amazon headquarters to NoVa good for the Commonwealth?
Let us know in the comments section below.