Car Tab Fee Foes Call for Investigations Into McGinn Friend Transpo Groups

The Cascade Bicycle Club and the Transportation Choices Coalition--two close allies of Mayor Mike McGinn--are being accused by a familiar face of illegally using city money to fund a political campaign.

Gene Hoglund of Citizens Against Raising Car Tabs filed a complaint with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, which in turn opened an investigation.

According to KOMO, both TCC and CBC get city money--$190,000 apiece this year--to do outreach activities, and former CBC member David Hiller was hired recently by McGinn as a policy adviser.

Hoglund says that some, if not all, of that money has gone toward promoting the Prop 1 car-tab fee ordinance that's being pushed by McGinn and others.

Hoglund, you may recall, accused TCC of the same thing back in 2008, only then it was a replacement elevated highway for the Alaskan Way Viaduct on the table and an expansion of bus and light rail being argued by TCC as an alternative.

That complaint was eventually dismissed.

In this case, it's unclear what evidence besides a hunch that Hoglund has, though the thorough combing that the Ethics Commission's auditors will be giving the two pro-tab groups is likely something they'd rather do without.

By way of reaction, KOMO quotes CBS member Craig Benjamin saying "The CBC did not use any money from the city for any political work," and the TCC's Rob Johnson calling it a "frivolous waste of taxpayer money."

Hoglund, meanwhile, says "it doesn't smell right."

We'll reserve judgment for when the ethics commissioners finish their work. Whatever the case, a bit more detail as to where taxpayer money goes never hurt anyone who didn't deserve hurting.

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