Seattle officials push back against Amazon’s $1.5M election donation

Oct 17, 2019, 5:53 PM

City officials and activists gathered at the base of Amazon’s Seattle headquarters Thursday morning, protesting the level of money the tech company has contributed to the upcoming general election.

Which Seattle candidates made the list of tech company endorsements?

“When billionaires are on the attack, what do we do?” shouted Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant.

“Stand up, fight back!” the crowd chanted back.

“If you are fed up that your lives suck so badly, proudly embrace the struggle we are in,” she said to a crowd of supporters in front of the Amazon Spheres in Seattle’s South Lake Union tech hub.

News broke this week that Amazon’s donations to the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE) total $1.5 million. CASE is a politically-active arm of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. It endorses Seattle City Council candidates, and is putting its financial resources towards advertisements and other efforts to weigh in on the Nov. 5 election.

CASE responds

Responding to Thursday’s protest, CASE released the following statement:

Today’s press conference is just another example of the toxic, divisive tactics of the current Seattle City Council. Businesses stepped up on ST3, the Housing Levy renewal, and the Families Education, Preschools and Promise Levy. This year, we are doing the same to defend ST3 and expand economic opportunity in our state.”

However, once the business community highlighted the need for change and a functioning Seattle City Council, our contributions suddenly became an issue. The hypocrisy is disappointing but to be expected from the status quo.

CASE further points to the level of other financial contributions to local politics, which the protesters do not address. For example, labor groups have funneled $2,432,230 toward Seattle elections, SCC Insight reports. CASE also notes that the business community has also spent millions on causes the protesters support, such as $2,421,682 to the campaign to reject Tim Eyman’s I-976.

Protesting big business

Thursday’s protest in reaction to Amazon and CASE’s involvement was backed by local Democrats and progressives, and even some Amazon workers. Council members and current candidates slammed Amazon’s spending. They accused the company and the PAC it’s donating to of trying to buy the election.

“They are going to spend a pittance of their money to defend their right to not have to be treated fairly and not have to pay fair taxes to this city,” said Councilmember Mike O’Brien. “And that is disgusting.”

Amazon makes case for how it’s helped Seattle

O’Brien argued that the City Council has created a prosperous city that has only benefited companies like Amazon.

Among other things, the protesters called on voters to reject candidates backed by big business and to support a proposal from Councilmember Lorena Gonzáles that aims to limit corporate PAC donations.

“We are not selling out the Seattle City Council and our democracy to the highest corporate bidder,” González said.

The Demonstration was organized by King County Democrats, as well as Democrats from the 43rd, 36th, and 37th legislative districts. Participating speakers at the event included: Scott Alspach, 43rd LD Democrats Chair; Mike O’Brien, Seattle City Council member (D6); Tammy Morales, Seattle City Council candidate for D2; Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council member and candidate for D3; Shaun Scott, Seattle City Council candidate for D4; and Summer Stinson, 36th LD Democrats Policy Director.

KIRO Radio reporter Hanna Scott contributed to this article.

Local News

Nurses admit a patient transferred from the ICU COVID unit to the acute care COVID unit at Harborvi...
Nicole Jennings

Legislature debates WA hospital staffing ratios as healthcare labor problem steeps

Hospital administrators and health workers are divided over a bill that would mandate staffing ratios in different hospital departments.
1 day ago
homes, single family zoning, moving company, Puget Sound housing...
Nick Bowman

Puget Sound housing market hits record numbers as prices continue to soar

Despite historically low inventory, the Puget Sound region housing market set records in 2021, as prices continued skyward.
1 day ago
MyNorthwest Staff

‘Right to repair’ bill would give Washington state consumers control over electronics repair

Washington state’s Legislature is considering a consumer protection bill intended to make it easier to repair personal electronics.
1 day ago
Nick Bowman

State lawmakers take up abortion debate amid uncertain future for Roe v. Wade

The national debate surrounding abortion and reproductive rights is also taking place in Washington during 2022's legislative session.
1 day ago
downtown shooting...
KIRO Newsradio staff

Open investigation after downtown Seattle shooting sends one to hospital

A 31-year-old man was transported to Harborview Medical Center on Wednesday after a shooting in downtown Seattle.
1 day ago
COVID Washington two years...
Nick Bowman

2 years after Washington identified nation’s first COVID case, future of pandemic remains unclear

As of this week, it's now been exactly two years since the first case COVID-19 cases was identified in both Washington and the United States. 
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles


Compassion International Is Determined to ‘Fill’ a Unique Type of Football ‘Stadium’

Compassion International SPONSORED — During this fall’s football season—and as the pandemic continues to impact the entire globe—one organization has been urging caring individuals to help it “fill” a unique type of “stadium” in order to make a lasting difference in the lives of many. Compassion International’s distinctive Fill the Stadium (FtS, fillthestadium.com) initiative provides […]

What are the Strongest, Greenest, Best Windows?

Lake Washington Windows & Doors SPONSORED — Fiberglass windows are an excellent choice for window replacement due to their fundamental strength and durability. There is no other type of window that lasts as long as fiberglass; so why go with anything else? Fiberglass windows are 8x stronger than vinyl, lower maintenance than wood, more thermally […]

COVID Vaccine is a Game-Changer for Keeping our Kids Healthy

Snohomish Health District SPONSORED — Cheers to the parents and guardians who keep their kids safe and healthy. The dad who cooks a meal with something green in it, even though he’s tired and drive-thru burgers were tempting. The mom who calms down the little one who loudly and resolutely does NOT want to brush […]
Experience Anacortes

Coastal Christmas Celebration Week in Anacortes

With minimal travel time required and every activity under the sun, Anacortes is the perfect vacation spot for all ages.

Delayed-Onset PTSD: Signs and Symptoms

Lakeside-Milam Recovery Centers SPONSORED — You’re probably familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, this condition is diagnosed when a person experiences a set of symptoms for at least a month after a traumatic event. However, for some people, these issues take longer to develop. This results in a diagnosis of delayed-onset PTSD […]

Medicare open enrollment ends Dec. 7. Free unbiased help is here!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
Seattle officials push back against Amazon’s $1.5M election donation