Politics

Political Contributions
9:34 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Wealthy Individuals Bankroll Washington Campaigns

In this Aug. 2, 2013 photo, Venture capitalist Nick Hanauer poses for a photo in his office in downtown Seattle.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

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

But gifts from individual donors eclipse even that. That’s because a small group of wealthy people are writing large checks.

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Politics
9:58 am
Tue September 16, 2014

PACs Face Quirk In Washington Law Before They Can Spend Money

File photo of Tom Steyer
Steve Helber AP Photo

California billionaire Tom Steyer is poised to help Democrats try to win back control of the Washington Senate. But first, his NextGen political action committee had to satisfy a quirk in the law.

Call it the ten-ten rule. In Washington, political committees have to jump a small hurdle before they can play in Washington’s political sandbox. The rule is the committee must receive $10 or more from at least 10 registered Washington voters. Now that NextGen has this bit of local skin in the game, climate activist Tom Steyer is free to start spending some serious on Washington races.

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Ethics Board Ruling
12:24 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Washington Lt. Governor Agrees To $15K Ethics Fine

FILE - Lt. Gov. Brad Owen bangs the gavel as he conducts business in the Senate chamber on the first day of the 2014 session of the Washington state Legislature, Monday, Jan. 13, 2014, at the Capitol in Olympia, Washington.
Ted S. Warren AP Photo

Washington Lt. Governor Brad Owen has agreed to a $15,000 ethics fine. The settlement announced Friday stems from the five-term Democrat’s use of state resources to operate a nonprofit with his wife.

The ethics investigation concluded that Owen used his office and staff to help run Strategies for Youth, a nonprofit that went around to schools, performing concerts with an anti-bullying message.

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Education Funding
4:35 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Inslee Scolds Legislature On School Funding But Cautions Court On Sanctions

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee talks to reporters about how the state needs to address education funding, on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, in Olympia, Washington.
Rachel La Corte AP Photo

Gov. Jay Inslee says the Legislature has not “acted appropriately” in the face of the McCleary decision on school funding. But he cautioned the state Supreme Court Thursday not to impose sanctions that would penalize other areas of state government.

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Politics
12:37 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan Stepping Down After Five Years

FILE - Western Washington U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, right, addresses a news conference on police reforms in the city as Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, center, and interim Police Chief Harry Bailey look on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Seattle.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Cybercriminals, terrorists, white collar bankers - U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan has taken on all of them in her five years on the job in Western Washington. Now, she says she’s stepping down at the end of the month after holding the post for five years.

She was among the first six U.S. attorneys nominated by President Barack Obama in May 2009 and was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in September 2009.

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Politics
11:04 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Big Checks From Special Interests Flow To Legislative Caucus PACs In Washington

Longtime state Senator Tim Sheldon is a political target this year after the maverick Democrat joined with Republicans to help them take control of the Washington Senate.
Austin Jenkins

This November’s election will decide who controls the Washington state Senate. Democrats are desperate to win back the majority while a mostly-Republican coalition that took power last year is determined to hold on.

In the meantime, big-money interests on both sides are trying to influence the outcome. They’re pouring unlimited contributions into political action committees controlled by the legislative caucuses.

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Election
5:32 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Nearly $6 Million And Counting For Wash. Fall Ballot Measures

Petitions for Initiative 594 are counted at the Secretary of State's office Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2013, in Olympia, Washington.
Elaine Thompson AP Photo

Washington’s November election will decide three statewide ballot measures. So far, nearly $6 million has flowed to these campaigns, and it’s still early.

Initiative 594 to expand background checks for gun sales is far out in the lead when it comes to fundraising. So far, nearly $3.4 million raised with recent $500,000 contributions each from Paul Allen, Bill Gates and Melinda Gates. Plus, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer just contributed $1 million.

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Women Entrepreneurs
3:23 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Cantwell Takes Aim At Gender Gap In Access To Business Loans

File image
Paul Morigi/Invision for JPMorgan Chase & Co./AP Images

Women entrepreneurs aren’t getting the same access to business loans as their male counterparts nationwide, and a new report shows the gender gap is even bigger in Washington.

Women own about 30 percent of American businesses, but get just 13 percent of the dollars lent by the federal Small Business Administration. In Washington, it’s just 11 percent, according to a new report commissioned by a U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, chaired by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. 

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Lobbyists & Legislators
9:46 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Wash. Ethics Board Settles On 12 Lobbyist-Paid Meals Per Year Max

mathteacherguy Flickr

Washington lawmakers will be allowed to accept a dozen lobbyist-paid meals per year, but no more, according to a new vote by the state’s Legislative Ethics Board.

On the low side, one board member proposed a limit of three free meals a year. On the high side there was a proposal to allow two dozen a year. Even the compromise of 12 lobbyist-paid meals per year did not receive a unanimous vote. The vote is also not a final rule. That will come this October when the board meets again.

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Legislators & Lobbyists
3:20 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Washington Legislative Ethics Panel To Consider Free-Meals Rule

mathteacherguy Flickr

How many free meals is too many? That’s the question an ethics panel aims to answer at a public hearing Tuesday in Olympia. The Legislative Ethics Board will consider a draft proposal to limit how many free meals lawmakers can accept from lobbyists.

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Politics
12:16 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

Former SPD Interim Chief Pugel Named King County Sheriff's Chief Deputy

Jim Pugel addresses the media on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.
Ed Ronco

The Seattle Police Department’s former interim chief Jim Pugel will take over as second-in-command to King County Sheriff John Urquhart, the sheriff announced Monday.

Pugel was handpicked by Urquhart, who said he only spoke to Pugel about the job.

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Primary Election
12:20 am
Wed August 6, 2014

In Historic First, Two Republicans Advancing In Wash. Congressional Race

Washington’s August primary appears to have delivered an historic first. Two Republicans are likely to advance to the November election in central Washington’s Fourth Congressional District.

Never before has the state’s top-two primary produced two contenders of the same party for a Congressional seat. 

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Primary Election
3:18 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

Have You Voted In The Primary Election? Mail-In Ballots Due By 8 O'Clock

It’s primary day in Washington. Tuesday’s vote will decide a parks levy in Seattle and narrow the field in dozens of state legislative and Congressional races.

Ballots for the all vote-by-mail election are due in drop boxes by 8 p.m.

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Politics
4:35 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

California Billionaire Plans To Help Wash. State Democrats

FILE - In this Sept. 5, 2012 file photo, Tom Steyer, co-founder of Advance Energy Economy, waves as he walks to the podium to address the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
J. Scott Applewhite AP Photo

California billionaire and climate activist Tom Steyer plans to try to help Democrats win back the Washington state Senate.

Steyer and his NextGen Political Action Committee plan to target three to four state legislative races, likely Washington state Senate races. They will work in coordination with state environmentalists who have their own political action committees.

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Primary Election
1:16 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Wash. Primary Will Winnow Crowded Fields

The seat from Washington’s 4th Congressional District, which runs from the Canadian Border to the Columbia River in central Washington, is up for grabs.
Washington State Redistricting Commission

Washington voters have until 8 p.m. Tuesday to turn in their primary ballots. Secretary of State Kim Wyman projects a turnout of about 40 percent.

Among others, the primary will winnow the crowded fields for an open central Washington Congressional seat and a Seattle-area state Senate position.

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