campaign finance

Grizz, the author's cat. This photo makes sense if you read the story.
KUOW Photo/Abraham Epton

Elections are big business, with consultants, campaign staffers, advertising firms and TV stations raking in big bucks. 

Grizz, the author's cat. This photo makes sense if you read the story.
KUOW Photo/Abraham Epton

Politicians are reputed to be as eager for contributions as my cat when she sees me reaching for the wet food.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg waves after speaking to delegates during the third day session of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Wednesday, July 27, 2016.
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

New York billionaire Michael Bloomberg has waded a quarter-million dollars deeper into Washington state politics.

Bloomberg gave $248,000 to Washington Democrats on Sept. 7, according to the latest reports filed with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission.

Close to $100 million has gone into this year's elections in Washington state so far, all aiming to influence you and your neighbors' votes.

That's just one of the things your official voters' guide won't tell you, but KUOW's new Field Guide to Influence will. The Field Guide lets you see the largely hidden actors trying to sway your vote behind the scenes.


AP Photo/Rachel La Corte

The vast majority of money going into initiative campaigns this year in Washington state has come in lumps of $10,000 or more, from a small number of wealthy individuals and special interests, according to a KUOW analysis of state campaign-finance reports.

The campaigns have been fueled by $14 million in contributions to date, mostly from billionaires, unions and out-of-state interests.


Washington voters will likely decide in November whether to raise the state minimum wage and require employers to provide paid sick leave. Backers of the Raise Up Washington campaign say they will submit more than 360,000 signatures Wednesday -- virtually guaranteeing it a spot on the fall ballot.

KUOW Illustration/Kara McDermott

Homemakers and entrepreneurs, farmers and retirees: What unites them? These are some of the most frequently-held occupations among Republican donors in Washington state.

On Thursday, June 30, KUOW is hosting an event in Bellevue where we hope to bring Washington state Republicans together to discuss the present and future of their party.

Sound Transit CEO Peter Rogoff, King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray at Capitol Hill's light rail station.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

If you see an ad pushing the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure anytime soon, odds are it will have been paid for by a group that stands to make millions of dollars from ST3’s passage.

Joe McDermott
Flickr Photo/Ronald Woan (CC BY NC 2.0)/https://flic.kr/p/cuoczq

In the race to replace retiring U.S. Representative Jim McDermott, campaign finance is top of mind. Nine candidates are running for the Seattle-area House position.

Among them, Joe McDermott has signed a pledge denouncing certain political donations, and he's asking opponents to do the same.


After months of bashing the Republican National Committee and big fundraisers, Donald Trump is getting on board.

"These are highly sophisticated killers, and when they give $5 million, or $2 million or $1 million to Jeb [Bush], they have him just like a puppet," Trump said at the Iowa State Fair last year. "He'll do whatever they want. He is their puppet."

But now the de facto GOP nominee has inked two joint fundraising agreements with the RNC and 11 state parties on Tuesday to start taking in enormous checks from big donors.

Nestle, the company aiming to build a bottled water plant in Cascade Locks, has funded a political action committee supporting its cause, according to campaign finance data.

Hood River County voters will decide on a measure aimed at blocking the plant’s construction in Oregon’s May 17 primary election. The ballot measure would restrict the production and transportation of bottled water to less than 1,000 gallons per day from any Hood River County water source.

When Bernie Sanders took the stage Sunday night in Madison, Wis., the crowd of about 5,000 went wild. One of the biggest applause lines came when Sanders talked about his campaign taking on the establishment.

"These guys may have unlimited sums of money," the Vermont senator said. "They may control the media, they may control the economy, they may control the political system. But when millions of people stand up together united and demand change, we will not be stopped."

Washington lawmakers are meeting at the state Capitol this week to get ready for the 2016 legislative session. If lawmakers are back in town, that means lobbyists are too. So why squander the moment?

A supporter of Initiative 122 displays a carved pumpkin.
Facebook Photo/Honest Elections Seattle

David Hyde talks with Honest Elections campaign manager Brianna Thomas about the passage of  Initiative 122. 

Washington anti-tax activist Tim Eyman could face civil or even criminal sanctions for alleged campaign finance violations.

Pages