Newly-formed PAC with cast of familiar faces floods money into Seattle City Attorney race

Oct 13, 2021, 10:19 AM | Updated: Oct 18, 2021, 5:53 am
Seattle City Attorney race...
(MyNorthwest photo)
(MyNorthwest photo)

Just over a dozen independent political action committees have been formed over the course of the 2021 election cycle in Seattle, with a new one joining their ranks this week in support of City Attorney candidate Ann Davison.

Seattle conservatives aim for influence behind the scenes

In Seattle, PACs are known more formally as Independent Expenditure Committees (IEC), with the ability to raise and spend large sums of money in support of whomever they choose. They operate outside of spending limits imposed on individual fundraising conducted by candidates, and cannot coordinate with candidates in any way.

IECs have already poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Seattle’s mayoral race, and now, one appears to be turning its attention toward a November showdown for city attorney.

A new IEC registered as “Seattle for Common Sense” (SCS) submitted filings with the Seattle Ethics and Election Committee on Oct. 4, with a team of familiar faces operating as its officers. That includes Philip Lloyd, who served as treasurer on the now-defunct Compassion Seattle homelessness initiative, SPD’s African-American Advisory Council Chair Victoria Beach, SoDo Business Improvement Area Director Erin Goodman (who also served as an officer on Compassion Seattle’s initiative), and 2017 Seattle City Attorney candidate Scott Lindsay.

You may recognize Lindsay’s name as the one behind a now-infamous 2019 report on Seattle’s so-called “prolific offenders.” He’s also credited as a co-producer for KOMO’s follow-up to its “Seattle is Dying” feature, titled “Fight for the Soul of Seattle,” which garnered criticism from several local homelessness advocates. Prior to running for city attorney, he served as a public safety advisor to then-Mayor Ed Murray.

Just a week-and-a-half after it filed with the SEEC, Seattle for Common Sense had already raised over $280,000 in cash contributions. That’s on the strength of several large-scale donations, including $25,000 from local real estate CEO John Goodman, $10,000 from Microsoft President Brad Smith, $5,000 from prominent Trump donor (and Goodman’s business partner) George Petrie, and $5,000 from Jordan Selig, the daughter of another well-known Trump supporter and billionaire real estate mogul Martin Selig.

Concerns build over ‘short-circuiting’ of Seattle’s fundraising rules for campaigns

Jordan Selig had also reportedly offered her support as a volunteer to the Kshama Sawant recall campaign in September 2020.

SCS appears to have hit the ground running, having spent almost $68,000 on 105,000 campaign mailers in support of Davison’s candidacy for city attorney. During the August primary, a separate PAC registered as the “Concerned Taxpayer Accountability Center” spent $20,000 on mailers similarly promoting Davison.

The group also launched a website last week titled “The Real NTK,” highlighting a series of inflammatory Tweets Thomas-Kennedy posted during protests in 2020. The site lists a stated goal to to show “why Nicole Thomas-Kennedy is unfit to be Seattle City Attorney — in her own words.”

Petrie, Goodman, and Jordan Selig have all also donated to a separate IEC in support of mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell, while Petrie and Goodman donated a combined $100,000 to Compassion Seattle between April and May of 2021.

Davison has raised nearly $300,000 in individual contributions to her campaign. Her opponent, Nicole Thomas-Kennedy, has brought in over $335,000.

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Newly-formed PAC with cast of familiar faces floods money into Seattle City Attorney race