Seattle City Council President Lorena GonzÃ¡lez’s mayoral campaign is reaping substantial benefits from a funding loophole the council passed in early 2020. GonzÃ¡lez herself drafted the ordinance, which restricts corporate contributions to the city’s political races for being “influenced from abroad” while giving a free hand to distant union interests.
This unfair setup deprives many local businesses of a role in elections that affect their business prospects – and the living conditions of their workers.
He cynically exploits the landscape of weak regulation of money in politics created by the 2010 Citizens United decision of the United States Supreme Court. The council should adopt local policies ensuring that every voice with a stake in Seattle’s future has the opportunity to participate. Instead, the policy that Gonzalez crafted in August 2019, which the board passed 7-0 the following January, puts a thumb on the scales.
He needs to be reformed. Fundraising records from the current mayoral race indicate that the change is expected to come before the city’s yet another electoral cycle begins.
The ordinance that GonzÃ¡lez dubbed the âClean Campaigns Actâ frightened outrage over Russian and foreign manipulation of the 2016 presidential election in local politics. The political alchemy involved is enshrined in the Seattle city code as Ordinance 126035. It theoretically prohibits “heavily foreign-owned corporations” from interfering in Seattle municipal governance, a potential threat to the city. democracy. After discussing this civic threat, the ordinance extends the premise to the prohibition of âpolitical spending of foreign-influenced business entitiesâ.
The threshold for “foreign influence” is so low that virtually any publicly traded company can be politically sterilized. If a foreign person owns 1% of a company’s stock – or if total US ownership falls below 95% – the company is too âforeign-influencedâ to contribute to Seattle’s political campaigns. This applies no matter how local its majority owners are, no matter how much business he does here or how many Seattleites he employs.
This eliminated campaigns from companies such as Amazon, which shelled out $ 1.5 million for most of the losing district council campaigns in 2019. GonzÃ¡lez touted the ordinance, saying that “the looks and the risk corruption âto aâ big money epidemic âcould finally be solved. Yet national labor causes and other non-local actors with deep pockets could still bombard Seattle races with money.
Money supporting GonzÃ¡lez’s mayoral campaign tells the story: A pro-GonzÃ¡lez fund for independent campaign spending had raised $ 996,860 as of Tuesday from just 11 backers. Over $ 552,000 came from unions based in New York and Washington, DC
In contrast, the campaign against mayoral candidate Bruce Harrell had drawn around $ 1.3 million for independent spending – from 346 people and organizations, including some unions. Of these, only 14 donors had out-of-state addresses. Their checks amounted to a paltry 4.8% of pro-Harrell donations for independent spending.
GonzÃ¡lez said his legislation “closed a loophole”. In fact, it adopted free and easy work for the job while creating obstacles for other gamers. Then she led a shameless campaign for the workers for the mayor. The money from the national union has poured in.
It’s either half-baked reform or self-centered reform. GonzÃ¡lez needs to explain why she wrote the bill this way, without just waving her hand toward the 2016 presidential election. Seattle needs leadership that will solve Seattle’s problems, not shameless guesswork to make it happen. tip the scales of the ground.
The endless debate over the relative uprightness of unions and business interests has no place in writing rules about who can participate in political discourse. GonzÃ¡lez’s approach runs counter to freedom of expression and fair legislation.