campaign finance

Oregon’s ballot measure campaigns are continuing to pull in big-money donations.

Environmentalists, unions, trial lawyers and business interests may be among the top political spenders in Washington this election year, but there’s a group of influential players who don’t necessarily show up in the campaign finance reports.

The Washington Education Association has taken in $1.5 million this year, making it the head of the pack when it comes to money raised by political action committees.

The 2014 election is about six weeks away. That means campaigns are kicking into high gear and asking their funders to help them cross the finish line.

So far this year, business interests have contributed more than $16 million to political campaigns and committees in Washington.

In the world of Democratic politics, Tom Steyer, a former California hedge-fund manager, is like a real-life Bruce Wayne, aka Batman.

Flickr Photo/Diana Lofflin, DNR (CC BY-NC-ND)

It's not unusual for elected officials to cozy up to people with money. Yet Washington Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark's relationship with the timber industry he regulates has changed dramatically since the two-term Democrat first ran for the office six years ago.

Marcie Sillman talks with Washington Post reporter Matea Gold about the Koch brothers involvement in a complex network of political donors to avoid campaign finance laws.

Attn. General Says I-522 Donor Violated Campaign Finance Laws

Oct 31, 2013

Steve Scher talks with Attorney General Bob Ferguson about the lawsuit that finds No on I-522 donor, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, in violation of campaign finance laws. Penalties are expected after the election is over.

Flickr Photo/Canadian Pacific

This November voters in the city of Seattle will have a chance to decide whether or not City Council races should be publicly funded. Proposition 1 would create a program that funnels public money to candidates who decide to opt in to the program. To qualify, prospective candidates have to receive donations of at least $10 from 600 voters. If they do, they will receive six public dollars for every one dollar they raise up to $210,000 dollars.

Photo courtesy of Jan Angel and Nathan Schlicher

A California billionaire has pumped $400,000 into the race for a single seat in the Washington state senate. Out-of-state businesses and political groups have poured tens of thousands into the election as well.

KUOW / John Ryan

Opponents of genetic labels on food just got a $5 million boost. The donation from the Grocery Manufacturers Association sends the No on 522 campaign into the record books. More money is going against the genetic labeling initiative than against any other ballot measure in Washington history.

The No on 522 campaign has amassed a war chest of $17.2 million.

With its latest $5 million check, the Grocery Manufacturers Association rockets past agribusiness giant Monsanto Co. as the campaign’s biggest donor.

Nine men and one woman from Washington state made this year's list of American billionaires, recently updated by Forbes magazine.

The group of 10 had an oversized influence on Washington state politics in 2012. But so far this year, the billionaires are mostly sitting on the sidelines.

KUOW Photo/John Ryan

Correction 8/22/13: A previous version of this story contained errors. It overstated the contributions received by the Yes on 522 campaign and the share of donations received from Washington state. The Yes campaign has amassed $3.5 (not 3.9) million, with 79 (not 71) percent of the funds coming from out of state. The nonprofit MapLight, based in Berkeley, Calif., informed us on Aug. 21 that it had double-counted some contributions, which led to the errors.

City Councilmembers Push For Publicly Funded Elections

Jun 10, 2013

The Seattle City Council is considering a proposal to publicly fund council campaigns through a new property tax levy.  Supporters say using public funds strengthens our democracy by allowing candidates to focus on important issues, not just the issues of big donors. Opponents say public financing in other cities hasn’t made races more competitive or lessened the power of incumbents. Councilmember Mike O’Brien is sponsoring the public financing legislation and joins us today.

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