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Candidates continue calling out ethics of current Seattle council

(Seattle Channel)

As the 2019 Seattle City Council race heats up, the ethics of the current council has been brought up frequently. The latest comes from District 4 candidate Alex Pedersen, who issued a statement Monday calling the council’s ethics into question over accepting outside jobs.

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A week after fellow council candidate Logan Bowers filed an official complaint with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, Pedersen called on the SEEC to reform the city’s laws allowing councilmembers to accept jobs while still in office.

“To strengthen the people’s trust in their city government, city leaders should work quickly to strengthen the ethics rules by closing the new job loophole,” said Pedersen.

This comes as a response to current District 4 incumbent Rob Johnson, who, after announcing he wouldn’t be seeking reelection, accepted a job with Seattle’s new NHL team as a transportation adviser.

Johnson continues to serve on the council until his current term is up, though, presenting a significant issue in Pedersen’s opinion.

“Ethics reform legislation is needed now to prevent future distractions or potential conflicts of interest so there is greater trust that all city council members are focused on the basics of city government,” he said.

The ethics of the current council has quickly become a hot topic for candidates in 2019. Bowers’ ethics complaint to the SEEC alleged that District 3 incumbent Kshama Sawant “appropriated city funds and resources for use by a political party.”

“I think honesty and transparency in government are critical, and I don’t think it should be tolerated at any level regardless of whether or not the individual happens to hold views that we like,” Bowers said last week in an interview with KTTH’s Jason Rantz.

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Pedersen, who served as an aide for former councilmember Tim Burgess, has taken in the most Democracy Vouchers of any candidate, giving him over $26,000 in campaign contributions. Add that in with the $18,000 he contributed of his own money, and he already has some of the biggest money behind him of any council challenger.

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