Report: Amazon gives $200K to Seattle political committee

Apr 16, 2019, 2:46 PM
checc, seattle, city hall, amazon...
(File photo)
(File photo)

One of Seattle’s largest and most influential companies is putting considerable cash into Seattle politics as the city council race continues.

The Seattle Times reports that Amazon donated $200,000 in March to the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, which is sponsored by the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. It’s a sizeable chunk of CASE’s $485,000 which it had raised by its last report at the end of March.

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The alliance is a political organization aimed at endorsing candidates. It uses four main issues to vet political candidates.

  • Traffic: Dedicated to making traffic better, reducing congestion, and improving transit.
  • Homelessness: Candidates who favor long-term reforms that get people out of homelessness and into permanent housing. CASE agrees with reports produced by Barbara Poppe and Focus Strategies for the city.
  • Helping grow local businesses, expanding family-wage jobs, and building housing for all income levels.
  • The last point is more vague and states that CASE “supports candidates who understand what makes Seattle great, and will uphold those values while continually striving to make Seattle one of the best cities in the nation to live and work.”

CASE has not endorsed any candidates yet. A representative told the Times that it is waiting until the filing deadline on May 17 before taking such action. The Times notes that CASE has contributed more than $850,000 to campaigns and candidates in Seattle since 2013.

Seven of the nine council seats are up for a vote in November. Only three council members are running for re-election: Debora Juarez for District 5; Kshama Sawant for District 3; and Lisa Herbold for District 1.

The current council race has therefore set the stage for a major shift in city leadership. PACs, such as CASE, could contribute toward funding that shift. Though some influential council members are also raising significant funding for their efforts.

For example, Councilmember Kshama Sawant — who is not using the city’s democracy voucher funding program — has raised about $77,000 for her District 3 campaign. The District 3 race is being flooded with other money. Local business owner Logan Bowers has raised nearly $65,000. Seattle Public Defender Ami Nguyen has raised almost $17,000 to challenge Sawant.

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Report: Amazon gives $200K to Seattle political committee