Urban Politics #286: Lobbying the City and Reporting Contributors


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By City Councilmember Nick Licata.

Urban Politics (UP) blends my insights and information on current public policy developments and personal experiences with the intent of helping citizens shape Seattle’s future.

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WHO LOBBIED THE CITY IN 2009?

Two years ago City Council passed Council Bill 116154, which encouraged an open government process by requiring those paid to lobby the City Council and Mayor to register as a lobbyist. Councilmembers Tim Burgess, Richard Conlin, Jean Godden, and Tom Rasmussen, joined me in sponsoring the legislation.

Seattle’s Ethics and Elections Commission collected the lobbyist’s filings and published its first report covering 2009 at the beginning of this year. Last year $369,796 was spent lobbying City officials, just over $1,000 per day. The lobbyists receiving the highest compensation were:

Randy Bannecker $63,259
John Taylor $50,000 (1)
Kevin Hughes $49,350
Joe Quintana $48,000
Bob Minnott $36,600
David Schaefer $30,000

Employers who spent the most on lobbying in 2009 were:

CleanScapes $50,000 (1)
Clise Properties $48,000
King County Association of Realtors $41,952 Woodland Park Zoo $30,000 Pacific Science Center and American Warehouse Company $24,000

(1) The $50,000 may be as slow as $25,000 depending on a clarification that is being sought by the SEEC.

The 2008 reports are partial, as reporting was only required from September 17 to December 31. However, some lobbyists voluntarily reported for the entire year. With that caveat, Joe Quintana was listed as the highest compensated lobbyist with $107,200, with Randy Bannecker second at $31,829 and George Griffin $30,100. For employers, the highest were Clise Properties with $48,000, Freehold $44,000, and Woodland Park Zoo at $35,250.

You can review reports here:

REPORTING CONTRIBUTORS MAY BE HAMPERED IN SEATTLE

Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times reported yesterday (3/3/2010) that an innocuous housekeeping bill (SB 6243) to streamline campaign-financing reports was amended through the lobbying efforts of the Associated General Contractors of Washington (aka the AGC). According to city staff the amendment would undermine the authority of the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission to watchdog local elections. SEEC Ex. Dir. Wayne Barnett has said that if the amendment remains, his agency would be stripped of its ability to require candidates and political committees to file reports directly with the city.

Seattle has not only one of the most thorough candidate reporting systems in the state, but probably in the nation. Candidates currently send information to the City providing a detailed view of who is contributing, who their employer is and how much they are contributing to Seattle campaigns. View SEEC’s 2009 Election Report here.

The AGC has been active in Seattle campaigns. The PAC “Working for Seattle” received a $5,000 contribution from it in the last city elections; “Working for Seattle” spent over $100,000 supporting mayoral candidate Joe Mallahan.  It also received a fine for not following Seattle’s campaign-reporting rules.

The Senate Bill (SB 6243), with the attached amendment, is currently in the Senate after having been passed out of the House. The City has expressed its concerns to state legislators about the amendment to the bill.

 

COUNCIL MEMBERS & MAYOR’S EMAIL ADDRESSES

Sally.Bagshaw@seattle.gov

Tim.Burgess@seattle.gov

Sally.Clark@seattle.gov

Richard.Conlin@seattle.gov

Jean.Godden@seattle.gov

Bruce.Harrell@seattle.gov

Nick.Licata@seattle.gov

Mike.OBrien@seattle.gov

Tom.Rasmussen@seattle.gov

Citizens are directed to the following website to complete a form to send an email to the Mayor’s Office. http://www.cityofseattle.net/mayor/citizen_response.htm

Keep in touch…

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