Teresa Mosqueda

City Allows Grant and Mosqueda to Raise More Money to Keep Up With Nelson

The candidates are subject to fundraising caps under the Democracy Voucher program. But the cap goes away when opponents raise big bucks.

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) has lifted the $150,000 fundraising cap from candidates who use Democracy Vouchers in the City Council position 8 race, because a non-Democracy Vouched candidate has surpassed that amount in private fundraising.

Teresa Mosqueda and Jon Grant are the only two candidates for City Council position 8 (replacing Tim Burgess) who have raised enough small donations to qualify to participate in the inaugural voyage of Seattle’s Democracy Voucher public election financing program. Designed to dampen the effects of big money on political races, the vouchers are mailed to registered Seattle voters who can then donate them to participating candidates.

In order to participate, candidates must also pledge to not surpass the $150,000 fundraising limit (in primary Council elections). But there’s a loophole: if another candidate in the race surpasses $150,000 in private fundraising, then Democracy Voucher candidates can petition the SEEC for permission to do the same. If the petition is granted, then the $150,000 limit stays in place for redeemed Democracy Vouchers but is lifted for regular donations.

The candidate whose private fundraising broke the crystal ceiling is Sara Nelson, part owner of Fremont Brewing and and self-identified “business candidate.” Her campaign has raised more than $79,000, and the People for Sara Nelson PAC reports expenditures of more than $76,000. Together, those add up to more than $150,000.

In response, Grant and Mosqueda petitioned SEEC. “The material difference between Nelson’s fundraising and the spending limit now qualifies People for Teresa for consideration to be released from the spending limits per the Democracy Voucher program,” wrote Mosqueda campaign treasurer Abbot Taylor. “Our campaign petitions the SEEC to release Jon Grant from the $150,000 primary spending limit,” wrote Grant in his own letter.

Wednesday afternoon, the SEEC agreed. Both Mosqueda and Grant are now allowed to raise up to $150,000 in Democracy Vouchers and any amount of money in regular donations. The same would presumably apply to any other candidate for position 8 who qualifies for Democracy Vouchers and requests a waiver for the fundraising cap. Other races are unaffected.

However, a “burning question” remains, says SEEC director Wayne Barnett: whether money raised during the primary counts toward a candidates’ fundraising “total” in the general election in November. In August or September, he said, “the SEEC will look to take comment on what releasing the candidates from the primary spending limit means for the general. If either Mosqueda or Grant make it through, will they be held to $300,000 in total? $150,000 for the general?”

cjaywork@seattleweekly.com

More in News & Comment

Photo by Jessica Spengler/Flickr
Budget Proposal Would Jeopardize Washington’s Food Assistance Program

Policy analysts say Trump’s plan to slash SNAP’s funding would push people further into poverty.

2017 People’s Tribunal, organized by Northwest Detention Center Resistance. Photo by Sara Bernard.
Immigrant Rights Community Responds to Allegations Against Seattle ICE Attorney

Activists say that Monday’s charges further vindicate their fight against the organization’s tactics.

Washington State Capitol. Photo by Nicole Jennings
Washington May Soon Teach Sexual Abuse Prevention in Schools

The State Legislature is considering training aimed at improving child safety.

Freedom, Hate, and a Campus Divided

Last weekend’s Patriot Prayer event cast doubts on claims of openness by UW College Republicans.

State Legislators Look to “Ban the Box”

The House of Representatives votes to end questioning criminal history on job applications.

Dennis Peron. Illustration by James the Stanton
The Cannabis Community Mourns Activist Dennis Peron

The grandfather of medicinal marijuana was 72.

Seattle school bus drivers ended a nine-day strike that affected more than 12,000 students. Photo by Melissa Hellmann
Seattle Schools Still Seeking Future Options After Bus Drivers End Nine-Day Strike

As the yellow bus service resumes, the district continues plans to attract more contractors.

UW’s campus may be getting bigger. Photo by Joe Mabel/Flickr
Community Members Raise Concerns About UW’s Expansion Plans

The university’s growth plan faces pushback due to environmental, housing, and neighborhood issues.

Seattle will soon vacate misdemeanor marijuana convictions. Photo courtesy of Bob Doran/Flickr
Seattle Moves to Clear Marijuana Misdemeanor Convictions

The mayor and city attorney’s policy change could impact hundreds convicted before weed legalization.

Most Read