Seattle City Council candidate Tim Burgess' campaign has been penalized for not reporting nearly $30,000 it spent on radio ads the end of August. Burgess' folks argued earlier this month that it was a question of when the ads were actually purchased versus when they were produced. But in a letter to Burgess, Seattle Ethics and Elections Executive Director Wayne Barnett notes that Northwest Passage Consulting, on behalf of the campaign, wrote a check to the radio stations Aug. 30.
"In this case the campaign committee clearly violated the code," Barnett says. Seattle elections code requires that all expenditures, including obligations or debts, be reported in a timely fashion. Incomplete or inaccurate reports are subject to a $10/day fine. In the letter, Barnett says that he settled on the $100 figure by weighing the limited time the inaccurate information was out there (Burgess' treasurer added the expense to the report the day after it was due), and the substantial amount of cash it involved.
The penalty is on the agenda as a discussion item for next Wednesday's Ethics Commission meeting, but Barnett says it's a done deal because Burgess has already paid the fine. Asked if it made any difference that Burgess is a former Ethics Commission chairman, Barnett says: "We tried to keep the blinders on and treat it as if it was done by anybody, no better, no worse."