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Record No: CB 119730    Version: 1 Council Bill No: CB 119730
Type: Council Bill (CB) Status: In Committee
Current Controlling Legislative Body Select Committee on Campaign Finance Reform
On agenda: 1/7/2020
Ordinance No:
Title: AN ORDINANCE related to elections; limiting contributions to independent expenditure committees; amending Sections 2.04.010, 2.04.270, 2.04.370, 2.04.400, and 2.04.500 of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC).
Sponsors: M. Lorena González
Supporting documents: 1. Summary and Fiscal Note, 2. Central Staff Memo, 3. Presentation
CITY OF SEATTLE
ORDINANCE __________________
COUNCIL BILL __________________
title
AN ORDINANCE related to elections; limiting contributions to independent expenditure committees; amending Sections 2.04.010, 2.04.270, 2.04.370, 2.04.400, and 2.04.500 of the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC).
body
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. The City Council makes the following findings of fact:
A. Independent expenditure committees, also known as "Super PACs," and similar independent spending groups are a growing phenomenon in local elections in Seattle, in Washington State, and nationwide.
B. Large contributions to independent expenditure committees pose the risk of corruption or the appearance of corruption, including quid pro quo corruption, even if the independent expenditure committees do not coordinate with political campaigns.
C. Current laws allow donors to circumvent limits on contributions to candidates by making unlimited contributions to independent expenditure committees supporting those candidates.
D. In recent years, large contributions to independent expenditure committees by large, well-funded organizations, such as real estate interests, technology companies, and other industries, have increased the appearance of corruption in city elections.
E. In 2015, a real estate development executive attempted to blackmail a Seattle City Council candidate by using the threat of $200,000 in negative independent expenditures, and offered to block those expenditures if the candidate would settle a lawsuit pending against the real estate development company.
F. Multiple grand juries have returned criminal indictments alleging that contributions were made to independent expenditure committees in exchange for favorable official action.
G. According to data collected by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, total independent expenditures in City elections have rapidly increased, with independent e...

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