After massive spending, fight rages on for bill to curb Seattle PAC money

Nov 11, 2019, 9:24 AM | Updated: 9:26 am
study, prolific offenders, council...
Seattle Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez. (AP)

On the heels of sizable corporate spending in Seattle’s council races, Councilmember Lorena Gonzalez is continuing to fight for legislation to curb that spending in future city elections.

CM Gonzalez on mission to oust foreign money from local politics

Gonzalez will introduce the bill in the council’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, New Americans, and Education Committee this week, with plans to have it before the full council sometime in 2020.

The measure will look to curb political spending in Seattle elections in three ways:

  • Prohibiting donations from foreign-owned companies, and requiring any corporation donating to a PAC to get a certified statement with the City Clerk’s office affirming that it is not foreign-influenced in any way
  • Limiting contributions from individuals to independent expenditure committees to $5,000 each
  • Clarifying reporting requirements for commercial advertisers running paid political ads

“Really at the end of the day what this bill is going to do is send a clear message to folks who seek to buy our elections that that kind of behavior is not going to be permitted in the city of Seattle and our local elections,” González told KIRO Radio’s Dave Ross back in September.

Gonzalez has been passing the bill around various committees for months now. That being so, it’s become even more of a lightning rod on the heels of a hotly-contested Seattle City Council election season, that saw Amazon contribute over $1.4 million to the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE).

The fallout of Amazon’s $1.4 million bid to flip Seattle City Council

CASE functions as the political arm of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, taking in over $3 million in total contributions this election cycle.

A large chunk of contributions to CASE this cycle checked in over the $5,000 threshold set by the measure. That’s a list that included over $1.4 million from Amazon, as well as $235,000 from Vulcan, $145,000 from the Washington Association of Realtors, $50,000 from Expedia, and $30,000 from Starbucks.

On the other side of the aisle, the Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy (CAPE) saw a series of large-scale donations of its own, in an ultimately successful effort to elect more progressive candidates. That roster of contributors included $125,000 from Nick Hanauer, just over $110,000 from caregivers union SEIU 775, and $24,000 from local Teamsters.

Doubts remain over whether the contribution limits outlined in Gonzalez’s proposal will hold up to a court challenge. Still, it would represent a massive change to Seattle’s campaign spending in the wake of historically large amounts of money pouring in for 2019’s council races.

Local News

Republicans, redistricting...
Nick Bowman

State Supreme Court allows late-arriving redistricting maps to move forward

The state Supreme Court n will allow new legislative and congressional maps submitted late by the state's redistricting commission to move forward. 
11 hours ago
religious accommodation, traffic stops...
Nick Bowman

Study yields mixed results on racial disparities during Washington State Patrol traffic stops

A new study digs into five years of data on traffic stops made by Washington State Patrol, demonstrating mixed results regarding racial disparities.
11 hours ago
Emerald City Comic Con...
KIRO Radio Newsdesk

Long-awaited return of Emerald City Comic Con offers crucial outlet for fans and artists alike

Not only is the return of Emerald City Comic Con a big deal for fans, but it is a welcome respite for small artists and creators as well.
11 hours ago
Seattle snow...
MyNorthwest Staff

‘Chance for snow’ on Monday across Seattle area, say forecasters

With temperatures rapidly dropping over the next few days, it's possible that parts of the Seattle area could see their first taste of winter snow.
11 hours ago
KIRO 7 News Staff

Multiple people injured in multi-vehicle collision involving dump truck in Renton

A multi-vehicle collision shut down parts of Maple Valley Highway and 140th Avenue Southeast in Renton Thursday night.
11 hours ago
climate change, flood...
MyNorthwest Staff

Washington needs to ‘defeat climate change at its source,’ says Gov. Inslee

Gov. Inslee hopes recent flooding events in northern Washington will help inspire the state Legislature to "take more action" against climate change.
11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

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, […]

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
After massive spending, fight rages on for bill to curb Seattle PAC money