Type: Analysis of PDC (Public Disclosure Commission) Contribution Data
Date of Data: November 3 2017.
Subject: Where do donations come from?
Origin: Obtained from the website https://www.pdc.wa.gov
Link to Kathryn Campbell’s PDC Data here.
Link to Joel Wachtel’s PDC Data here.
We were reviewing Kathryn’s recent post (published October 31, 2017) along with a copy of her South Sound Chamber of Commerce Questionnaire on the SeaTac Blog, and were interested in the answer to Question #10, which is is posted below. The link to the article itself is found here.
“10. What one additional thing (if any) is especially important for the Chamber to know about you, or about your campaign?
The myth of candidate support by “outside interests” as perpetuated by some people needs to be ended. Whether a business employs workers supported by a labor organization or not, every worker is interested in the success of his or her employer. So then, is a labor organization. There is nothing wrong with choice. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling something.”
There have been extensive discussions on the issue of “outside interest” involvement in small local elections and many articles suggest that voters researching candidates should examine who is funding a candidate’s election. One such discussion appeared in the The Cactus Speaks on July 19, 2017, written by Earl Gibson, and said this about the PDC: (Link to article)
“The Almighty PDC research
The Public Disclosure Commission requires you track and report your contributions. If you can’t manage a few thousand dollars how can anyone expect you to make good decisions on lets say, SeaTac’s $35 million budget?
I have found the PDC to be reasonable and cut first timers some slack as long as you are honest and comply with reporting within a reasonable time. I was never fond of their reporting software (ORCA) but figured it out eventually. It may have improved since 2011 (don’t know). Even when you do violate, the fines aren’t very much unless you REALLY messed up.
Knowing/researching their contributors, treasurers, campaign managers (shown on the PDC website also) will also give insight of the integrity of the campaign. Some bad apples keep showing up,“.
It seems obvious that an outside interest could have their own agenda that could be in conflict with the resident voters interests for their city. Money is rarely given by powerful businesses to candidates without quid pro quo expectations.
The the city has 3 significant union contracts with the Firemen, Police and Civil Service Workers and that having a sitting council member who received significant donations from a union could easily be interpreted as such a conflict of interest. (It is noted, the Firemen’s Union donated $1,000 to Kathryn.) Therefore it is also easy to understand that a candidate who accepts significant donations from many outside organizations that have their own agendas could have many such conflicts. In response to this concern, Kathryn makes this statement:
“Whether a business employs workers supported by a labor organization or not, every worker is interested in the success of his or her employer. So then, is a labor organization. There is nothing wrong with choice.”
Nowhere in those 3 sentences does she explore the possibility of any conflict by a political candidate when accepting money. In fact whole explanation seems to make little if any sense!
So because of this statement we downloaded Kathryn and her opponents history of donations this election from the PDC for a comparison. A quick review shows why Kathryn felt compelled to attempt to explain that outside interest money was benign, because 93% ($6,396.46) of the $6,896,46 she raised was in fact from outside interests . A review of her opponent’s PDC records shows he raised only about half of what she raised, but of that $3,522.46 99% of that was raised from local residents and businesses and less than $100 came from the outside! The analysis shows both candidates received 18 donations in all. It is unquestionably the $5,396.46 received from 7 unions and 1 labor council that differentiates the two candidates and is possibly why Kathryn felt the need to attempt to explain away “the myth of candidate support by “outside interests”.
Here is our analysis of the PDC Data!
In closing, it’s clear that one candidate has significant “outside interest” support and the other has broad based local support. This clearly says something about each candidate. We have presented the data and leave what that data means for you, the voter, to decide!