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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Campaign Finance

You are viewing the most recent posts on this topic.

May 3, 2012 at 6:30 AM

How (not) to embezzle campaign cash and flee the country

Greetings from Hawaii

Oh, the places I'll go... with leftover campaign contributions. (Illustration by Daniel Ecklor)

‘Tis the season to be in politics. Washington state politicians are ramping up their campaigns, donors are responding with hefty checks, and campaign bank accounts are beginning their steep, upward climbs.

I can’t help but wonder, what happens to those heaping piles of cash when candidates drop out of their races? If they don’t make it to the general election, do candidates have to give money back to their loyal supporters, or can they keep it? Can they donate it to charity or to their children’s college funds?

More importantly, could I run for state office, scrounge together a couple grand in campaign funds and then drop out of the race just in time to take that post-graduation trip to Hawaii that I’ve been planning in my mind for the last six months?

The prospect of spending a week in a chaise lounge, feet buried in silky Hawaiian sand and a piña colada in each hand, was motivation enough to find the answer.


Comments | More in State | Topics: Campaign Finance, dontations, elections

April 28, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Are all lobbyists supervillains?

Lobbyist Steve Gano outside the Washington State Senate Chamber (Photo courtesy of Steve Gano website)

The public finds them distasteful, and politicians avoid association with them, but lobbyists play an important and often misunderstood role in politics. 

Like most things in politics, the parameters and exact definition of lobbying are murky. The profession connotes images of bloated salaries, exploitive favors and misused tax dollars. My admittedly cartoonish understanding of lobbyists were that they were the shadowy figures lurking in the hallways of the Capitol building, pining for a moment of face time with their local rep.

There are countless examples of lobbying’s more nefarious side, but it’s also worth acknowledging the watchdog role of lobbying. As Steve Gano sees it, he’s an advocate on behalf of his clients. A lawyer of the political arena.

Gano was hitchhiking home from his summer job one weekend in college, when he happened upon his future in politics. A car pulled over, offering him a ride to campus, and Gano noticed that the back of the vehicle was full of yard signs.



Comments | More in State | Topics: Campaign Finance, Legislators, Lobbyists

April 13, 2012 at 6:30 AM

What is Bobby Virk running for anyway? (And who’s paying for it?)

(Illustration by Lucas Anderson / UW Election Eye)

Democratic candidates have been juggling positions in South Seattle legislative races in a dizzying game of political musical chairs. But don’t worry, we think they’ve finally got it all figured out.

It looks like South Seattle’s diverse 11th Legislative District is going to continue its streak of diverse representatives. Democrats Bobby Virk, a dentist who immigrated from India, and Rob Holland, an African American who currently serves as Port Commissioner, are leading the charge in the race for State House.

Virk, a newer face on the political scene but not a shy one, clearly wants a job in Olympia. But he can’t seem to decide exactly which one. He began his candidacy in his old district, the 47th, which his website bio and his twitter account still reference.

But after being districted out of the 47th — candidates have to reside in the district they represent — Virk put in his candidacy for the 11th district Senate seat, which was vacated by retiring Sen. Margarita Prentice. A press release and another Facebook page later, Prentice endorsed his campaign and his new candidacy was off and running.

But then came Rep. Bob Hasegawa, who announced he was leaving his post in the house to run for the 11th district Senate seat as well.


Comments | More in State | Topics: 11th LD, Bobby Virk, Campaign Finance

April 12, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Storify: State GOP and Dem officials throw down in Twitter battle

In a Twitter fight Tuesday, Benton Strong of the Wash. Democrats and Josh Amato of the Wash. Republicans slung tweets about the costs of a special election to replace Inslee. The fight reflects the partisan brawl about these costs, as well as how communications directors spend their free time.

Continue after the jump to view the full story — tweets and all.


Comments | Topics: Benton Strong, Campaign Finance, campaign oddities