The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission today approved a $1,500 fine against a political action committee (PAC) supporting Ed Murray for mayor for failing to report the source of a campaign contribution.
The vote was 4-0 to levy the fine, with half suspended if there are no further violations through the 2015 election cycle. An investigation by commission staff found that Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), the political arm of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, violated city campaign disclosure rules when it failed to disclose a $15,000 contribution from Vulcan that was earmarked for Murray. CASE bundled contributions from many business groups and distributed them to campaigns for several different races in the primary election.
Because the Vulcan contribution came with restrictions about which race it could be used in, the source of the money should have been reported and Vulcan listed as one of the top five donors on literature mailed by People for Ed Murray, the commission investigation concluded.
Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn’s re-election campaign filed an ethics complaint in September alleging that two business-funded PACs colluded to conceal information from Seattle voters, including other business donations to the Chamber PAC. The Murray campaign was not implicated in the findings.