LOCAL NEWS

What will Seattle mayor do with all that campaign funding?

May 9, 2017, 2:01 PM | Updated: 2:05 pm
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray shakes hands with a supporter as he departs after announcing to media and others that he is dropping his re-election bid for a second term Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Seattle. Last month a man filed a lawsuit claiming he was sexually abused by Murray in the 1980s when he was a teenager. Three made similar allegations, and all were vehemently denied by Murray. Murray said for weeks after the allegations emerged that he would press on in his campaign for a second term but said he decided it was best for Seattle to end his campaign and not seek another term. He said he will serve out his term through the end of this year. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is surrounded and embraced by supporters after reading a statement saying that he is dropping his re-election bid for a second term Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Seattle. Last month a man filed a lawsuit claiming he was sexually abused by Murray in the 1980s when he was a teenager. Three made similar allegations, and all were vehemently denied by Murray. Murray said for weeks after the allegations emerged that he would press on in his campaign for a second term but said he decided it was best for Seattle to end his campaign and not seek another term. He said he will serve out his term through the end of this year. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Seattle Mayor Ed Murray reads a statement saying that he is dropping his re-election bid for a second term Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Seattle. Last month a man filed a lawsuit claiming he was sexually abused by Murray in the 1980s when he was a teenager. Three made similar allegations, and all were vehemently denied by Murray. Murray said for weeks after the allegations emerged that he would press on in his campaign for a second term but said he decided it was best for Seattle to end his campaign and not seek another term. He said he will serve out his term through the end of this year. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, left, is embraced by his husband Michael Shiosaki after reading a statement saying that he is dropping his re-election bid for a second term Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Seattle. Last month a man filed a lawsuit claiming he was sexually abused by Murray in the 1980s when he was a teenager. Three made similar allegations, and all were vehemently denied by Murray. Murray said for weeks after the allegations emerged that he would press on in his campaign for a second term but said he decided it was best for Seattle to end his campaign and not seek another term. He said he will serve out his term through the end of this year. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Seattle Mayor Ed Murray briefly smiles as supporters applauds his entrance before saying that he is dropping his re-election bid for a second term, Tuesday, May 9, 2017, in Seattle. Last month a man filed a lawsuit claiming he was sexually abused by Murray in the 1980s when he was a teenager. Three others made similar allegations, and all were vehemently denied by Murray. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) Mayor Ed Murray. (AP)

Mayor Ed Murray raised about $400,000 for his re-election campaign. What happens to that money now that he’s withdrawn from the race?

Seattle mayoral candidates

Wayne Barnett, executive director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, said it’s likely about half the money has already been spent. The rest could go several places, including refunds to donors and charitable contributions.

“It can also be given to the state treasury or to a political party, but most of what we see is refunds to contributors and donations to charities,” Barnett said.

On Tuesday, Murray announced that he will not run for re-election amid allegations that he sexually abused minors decades ago. He has denied the claims.

The mayor’s political adviser Sandeep Kaushik said they hadn’t yet made a decision.

As for the group trying to set up a $1 million legal defense fund for Murray’s sexual abuse case, it would only be legal for the campaign money to be given to them if the fund was set up as an official nonprofit with the state.

Attorney Taki Flevaris with Pacifica Law Group said that is not in their plans.

“The fund will be an independent trust, and no campaign funds will be used,” Flevaris told KIRO Radio.

But first, the Ethics and Elections Commission has a hearing scheduled for next Tuesday to discuss whether they will even allow a legal defense fund to be created in the Mayor’s name. Some are questioning whether it would be a conflict with Murray’s current duties overseeing city business.

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What will Seattle mayor do with all that campaign funding?