April 3, 2020 •

Justices Decline Challenge to Seattle Democracy Vouchers

U.S. Supreme Court Building

United States Supreme Court Building

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation democracy voucher program for public financing of political campaigns. The court denied the challenge brought by two local property owners arguing the program violated the First Amendment by forcing them, […]

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge to Seattle’s first-in-the-nation democracy voucher program for public financing of political campaigns.

The court denied the challenge brought by two local property owners arguing the program violated the First Amendment by forcing them, through their tax dollars, to support candidates they don’t like.

In 2015, Seattle voters decided to tax themselves $3 million a year in order to receive four $25 vouchers they can donate to participating candidates in city elections.

The state Supreme Court unanimously upheld the voucher program last year.

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January 15, 2020 •

Seattle Passes Two Bills in the Clean Campaigns Act

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Seattle City Hall - Rootology

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed two bills banning most political spending by foreign-influenced corporations and clamping down on political advertising. These bills are part of the Clean Campaigns Act, a three-bill package introduced in August of last year. The […]

The Seattle City Council unanimously passed two bills banning most political spending by foreign-influenced corporations and clamping down on political advertising.

These bills are part of the Clean Campaigns Act, a three-bill package introduced in August of last year.

The first bill prevents corporations with a single foreign national investor holding at least 1% ownership, or two or more holding at least 5% ownership from contributing directly to Seattle candidates, political races, or through PACs.

Companies that have a non-U.S. investor making decisions on its U.S. political activities will also be prevented from political spending.

The measure closes a loophole because foreign individuals and foreign-based entities already are barred from making contributions in U.S. elections.

The second bill adds transparency to the political advertising realm.

It requires any paid advertisement regarding a political matter of local importance to follow stricter reporting guidelines and to retain and provide records about these advertisements.

The third bill, which would place a cap on Super PAC contributions, remains in the Select Committee on Campaign Finance Reform for further discussions.

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January 8, 2020 •

Seattle City Council Considering Caps on Super PAC Donations

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Seattle City Hall - Rootology

The Seattle City Council is considering legislation limiting the ability of Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money in Seattle elections. Council Member Lorena González introduced the Clean Campaigns Act to reduce the amount of money Super PACs funnel […]

The Seattle City Council is considering legislation limiting the ability of Super PACs to spend unlimited amounts of money in Seattle elections.

Council Member Lorena González introduced the Clean Campaigns Act to reduce the amount of money Super PACs funnel into elections.

The proposed legislation would limit Super PACs from receiving more than $5,000 per year from any single individual or corporation.

The act would also block multinational corporations, defined as companies with more than one percent ownership from a single foreign national or more than five percent ownership from multiple foreign nationals, from spending money on local elections.

Another proposed change would require all political advertising outside of election years to follow similar reporting requirements to current rules for election advertisements.

The Clean Campaigns Act is currently being considered in council chambers and could see a full council vote as early as next week.

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February 9, 2018 •

Facebook Accused of Not Complying with Seattle, Washington Political Advertisement Law

The Seattle Ethics and Election Commission accused Facebook of not complying with a city political advertisement disclosure law. The law requires companies selling political ads to disclose information about advertisement buys, including information on the exact nature and extent of […]

The Seattle Ethics and Election Commission accused Facebook of not complying with a city political advertisement disclosure law.

The law requires companies selling political ads to disclose information about advertisement buys, including information on the exact nature and extent of such advertisements and names and addresses of purchasers.

Facebook provided records at the request of the Ethics and Election Commission, but those records were inadequate, according to the Ethics and Election Commission.

Facebook could be liable for up to $5,000 per violation.

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November 8, 2017 •

Seattle Elects New Mayor

Jenny Durkan is expected to defeat Cary Moon and become Seattle’s next mayor. With 39 percent of the vote tallied, Durkan captured 61 percent of the vote Tuesday night. Durkan is a former U.S. Attorney General and Seattle’s first female […]

Jenny Durkan is expected to defeat Cary Moon and become Seattle’s next mayor.

With 39 percent of the vote tallied, Durkan captured 61 percent of the vote Tuesday night.

Durkan is a former U.S. Attorney General and Seattle’s first female mayor since the 1920s.

Photo of Jenny Durkan By Dennis Bratland via Wikimedia Commons

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September 19, 2017 •

Seattle City Council Selects City’s Third Mayor in Less Than a Week

The Seattle City Council has chosen Councilman Tim Burgess to replace Council President Bruce Harrell as temporary mayor of the city to serve the next 71 days till a newly elected mayor is set to take charge. Harrell became mayor […]

The Seattle City Council has chosen Councilman Tim Burgess to replace Council President Bruce Harrell as temporary mayor of the city to serve the next 71 days till a newly elected mayor is set to take charge.

Harrell became mayor after additional allegations of sexual abuse came out against Ed Murray.

The city charter allowed Harrell to vacate the position after five days if he did not wish to continue to serve as mayor.

The November mayoral election results will be certified November 28.

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September 14, 2017 •

Seattle Mayor Resigns after Another Victim Speaks Out

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigned after his cousin stepped forward as the fifth man to accuse Murray publicly of sexually abusing him as a minor. After the accusations of sexual abuse earlier this year, Murray denied wrongdoing but announced he […]

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigned after his cousin stepped forward as the fifth man to accuse Murray publicly of sexually abusing him as a minor.

After the accusations of sexual abuse earlier this year, Murray denied wrongdoing but announced he would not seek reelection.

City Councilman Bruce Harrell will become mayor and has five days to decide whether to fill out the remainder of Murray’s term.

Photo of Seattle City Hall By SounderBruce via Wikimedia Commons

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November 4, 2015 •

Democracy Vouchers Pass in Seattle

Initiative 122, a ballot measure proposing to raise property taxes in Seattle to create a publicly financed elections program, has passed. The “Honest Elections Seattle” measure imposes a $30 million tax levy over a 10 year period, granting citizens four […]

SeattleInitiative 122, a ballot measure proposing to raise property taxes in Seattle to create a publicly financed elections program, has passed. The “Honest Elections Seattle” measure imposes a $30 million tax levy over a 10 year period, granting citizens four $25 “democracy vouchers” to use towards the campaigns of city candidates.

Initiative 122 also bans contributions from corporations with medium-sized and large city contracts as well as corporations who lobby city officials. Contribution limits are lowered under the measure, from $700 per election cycle to $500.

The initiative becomes effective upon enactment by the city council.

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