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Did Kshama Sawant violate city ethics code with flier?

(User submitted)

Amazon foe, Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, has distributed taxpayer subsidized fliers pushing an the controversial ‘head tax’ with the City of Seattle stamp. A listener submitted the fliers, wondering if this was a violation of Seattle’s ethics codes since the fliers read like they were prepared by the Socialist Alternative.

The short answer: no. The fliers do not violate city ethics code.

“Tax Amazon to build affordable housing!” reads the flier. She asks people to “pack City Hall” as her movement is “poised to win a historic victory!” This flier comes as some activists claim this isn’t an Amazon tax, even though that’s clearly the company most hated by Sawant. It also comes as businesses to be impacted by the tax say, if you’re focused purely on Amazon, know that you’re hurting us, too.

I reached out to Wayne Barnett, the Executive Director of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. The SEEC is tasked with administering, interpreting and enforcing the code. He says, the flier doesn’t violate any codes.

“This flier is being distributed by a Councilmember trying to get a piece of legislation passed,” he explained via email. “I don’t see the use of the City seal on that flier as violating the City’s Ethics Code.”

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