Dedicated to . . .
The WA State Public Disclosure Commission
N.C. & N.H., for their devotion to public service
J.R., for her amazing secretarial skills
Scott St. Clair, for his inspiration
The people of the Great State of Washington, for RCW 42.56
and of course . . .
The many, many Friends of Mike McGinn
Friend of the Day: Seattle Aquarium
McGinn Campaign Donations: $350
City Contracts: $6,035,755
Read more about Mike’s Fishy Friends Here
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Friend of the Year: CleanScapes
[click to enlarge]
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Several months ago, before the Seattle mayoral primary, I posted a spreadsheet on Mike McGinn’s re-election campaign, current as of July 4, 2013. That document combined two sets of info. First I did a raw-data download from the Public Disclosure Commission Web site. That gave me a list of basic donor info: donor name, employer, donation amount, etc. To that I added more info based on my own research. For example, if I could find a Web page suggesting some kind of connection between the donor and the City government, I put that a link to that page in my spreadsheet, and then I checked the box for “Does business with the City” or “Gets funding from the City” depending on which (if either) of those two applied.
Most of the Web references I dug up on donors were merely suggestive. Many hinted that there might be a financial connection, but they usually didn’t come right out and say it. And even when they did, they rarely said how much money was at stake.
For example, I might see that an engineering firm had proudly announced, on its own corporate Web page, that the firm was proud to be “partnering” with the Seattle Department of Transportation, blah-blah-blah. But they almost never came out and said something like: “Holy Cash Cow, Batman! We just inked a deal for 10 mils!”
To get that kind of information, obviously, I would need to make a Public Disclosure Request. And I did so.
After wrangling with Seattle’s Public Disclosure Office for a few months, I finally got the exact info I needed: An itemized list of how much business (if any) each of these donors was doing with the City. Or how much they were getting via grants.
I think you’ll agree that this is important stuff. In fact, it’s downright amazing stuff. And it’s precisely the kind of stuff that the official news media in this City SHOULD be covering. And yet, they aren’t covering it. Why? Why didn’t the Seattle Times do this months ago? Why didn’t the Stranger do it? They’ve got dozens of paid staffers who could be working this story. Why was it left for some punk blogger out in West Highland Park (or South Delridge, if you prefer) to slog through?
Anyway, without further ado . . . here’s the original donor list, without . . . the contract/grant amounts filled in:
And here’s a document showing how much business some of these folks (or the companies they work for) do with the City.
- To make a connection between the donor and a City contract, you have to have more than just a business name, like “Amazon.com.” Lots of Seattle-ites work for Amazon. And several of them donated small amounts to McGinn. Doesn’t mean squat. But if someone more highly placed, say the VP of marketing, and half a dozen other bigwigs make the maximum donation, it’s suggestive.
- I make no guarantee that the contract/grant recipient I’ve named is a match for the McGinn campaign donor of the same name. Some companies have names that are very similar. Therefore it will be for you to decide whether a donor listed as, for example, “SmithCo” is the same entity as the contract recipient listed as Smith & Company.
- It is also very important to understand that I am NOT accusing any donor or contract/grant recipient of doing anything illegal or unethical. In making donations to Mr. McGinn’s campaign, these corporations and citizens are are acting fully within their rights.