Attorney says he’ll prove Seattle is run by a ‘shadow city hall’
Attorney Lincoln Beauregard was delivered a small win in court this week when a judge ordered a political consultant to hand over documents related to its communications with Seattle leaders. It’s the latest development in the lawyer’s attempt to reveal that Seattle is run by what he calls a “shadow city hall.”
“We hope to get is some information about what is going on at, basically, a shadow city hall,” Beauregard told Jason Rantz on KTTH Radio. “What we’ve learned through this process … basically the City of Seattle politicians are run by a shadow city hall. It’s called EMC Research and it’s owned and operated by payments from the unions and an altruistic billionaire.”
“What we want to find out is what they are doing at this secret city hall,” he said. “And it will hopefully include strategies about politics and what have you.”
EMC Research has an office in downtown Seattle. It advertises research, data, branding, polling, and social and behavioral research services. Among its list of clients are the City of Seattle, Sound Transit, and SEIU. Also, is a range of companies and political organizations from Delaware to California.
Beauregard represents a Seattle resident who sued the city after it repealed its controversial head tax. The lawsuit is not over the head tax, rather, the way the city council handled the repeal. About a month after its passage, the council gave notice for a special repeal meeting and within 24 hours, the tax was gone. The hasty manner in which the process was carried out raises questions about transparency in the city government.
Council members were reportedly given a polling report about negative public perception of the head tax. It is argued that in light of this information, the council conspired to repeal it. But in doing so, Beauregard claims, the council revealed how it does business away from public view.
“They did it all in private, at a private company, on a weekend, called EMC Research,” Beauregard said. “What the judge ruled is that the EMC Research company has to pass over the briefings and the information that these politicians used in private over the weekend at what I call a ‘shadow city hall’ … because all these elected officials have been forced to admit they are reacting to the information provided by this organization, but then they come into the real city hall and act like that is where they decided to do what they were going to do. But that’s not true.”
Revealing a “shadow city hall”
Beauregard hopes that the documents from the political consultant will shed light on this. City attorneys attempted to keep the documents from EMC Research away from Beauregard and the court, arguing that they were private political discussions, not public documents. Beauregard argued otherwise saying “either they are government documents and they should be handed over (to the public), or they aren’t government documents and the government shouldn’t be paying to hide them.”
The judge ordered that the documents be turned over by Friday. Beauregard says that EMC Research is trying to fight that decision in a higher court, which could delay the action. But he is confident that he will get the documents in the end.
“What we see here is that the Seattle elected officials, who have the best resources, have no idea that you can’t just have secret meetings out of the public view and vote on them in public in kind of a showmanship type of presentation,” Beauregard said.