SeaTac Council Seat Races Draw Unusual Attention from PACs in 2011
by Greg Wright
PACs need no permission from candidates to campaign on their behalf. The amount of money being spent on behalf of Dave Bush, Mia Gregerson, and Barry Ladenburg–and against incumbent Gene Fisher–is more than just significant, however; it’s enough to overwhelm the balance of the election. In this year’s campaign as much money is being spent by PACs as by the combined totals of all candidates’ campaigns.
Further, City Council races are non-partisan; yet the attention drawn from PACs this year is clearly partisan, and just as clearly unilateral. One might wonder what the Democrats see at stake in SeaTac that Republicans have completely missed.
The following are cut-and-paste screen shots directly from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission website. (Click on images for full-resolution display.)
The first screenshot shows the totals of funds raised and spent by individual campaigns. The columns at the right show independent expenditures for and against a candidate. In 2009′s election, there was no independent money whatsoever spent for or against local candidates.
Below is the breakdown of the PAC money by candidate and source.
Click here for the Unite Here Local 8 website. (Unite Here is also funding the campaign against Fisher; click here for their filing with the PDC, an expenditure of $41,000 for mailers and lawn signs–and another here, an expenditure of $13,000 on wages and benefits for organizers and canvassers.) Click here for the Washington Conservation website. Click here for the website of Jay Petterson (an out-of-state political consultant with offices in Fremont) who runs the Working Washington PAC.