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influence

Amy Radil

A statewide initiative to help pay for political campaigns with public money has failed in Washington. That’s despite supporters raising $4 million to pass it.  

Forest lands near Skykomish, Washington.
KUOW Photo/Gil Aegerter

More than $1.2 million has been spent on one of more obscure statewide races in Washington.

That's the battle for public lands commissioner. Democrat Hilary Franz and Republican Steven McLaughlin have each raised over $400,000, and two environmental groups have spent another $400,000 on independent expenditures in the race.

No-GMO food label
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma

Washington state officials are calling it the largest campaign-finance penalty in U.S. history.

A Thurston County Superior Court judge on Wednesday ordered the Grocery Manufacturers Association to pay an $18 million fine for deliberately hiding its donors.

JZ Knight claims to channel a 35,000-year-old warrior-spirit named Ramtha.
Ramtha's School of Enlightenment

Controversial "spirit channeler"JZ Knight of Yelm has channeled another $54,000 into Washington state politics.

Knight claims to channel a 35,000-year-old warrior-spirit named Ramtha and charges believers up to $5,000 to spend a day with "Ramtha the Enlightened One" at her school in Yelm.

Basler and Smith campaigns

Democrat Adam Smith of Bellevue is running to keep his seat in Congress, but most of his campaign cash comes not from Washington state but from Washington, D.C., and its suburbs.

Kitsap Transit

A Seattle-area transit initiative takes in money from real-estate interests who could profit if the initiative passes. Commuters would face higher taxes, but many could also get to work faster.

No, we’re not talking about the $54 billion proposal to expand Sound Transit service (that campaign has been largely funded by $1.1 million from the construction industry, with the real-estate sector coming in second.) 

Screenshot of Mass Transit Now ad on Facebook

Construction firms and other big businesses have pumped more than $2 million into the campaign to pass a Sound Transit ballot measure this fall.

While Microsoft is the biggest single donor, at $300,000, the construction industry has the most invested in the transit measure passing: $1.1 million and counting.

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.