Socialist Seattle City Councilmember and self-advertised $15 minimum wage leader Kshama Sawant is not walking her—very loud—talk. According to recent reports, Sawant has allegedly structured payments to her campaign staffers in a way that “allows her to avoid payroll taxes, paying them overtime, and offering them insurance.” MyNorthwest.com,
“It turns out Sawant is spending a sizable portion of her campaign funds on five different campaign consultants, as she tries to win her re-election campaign for city council. She’s spent just over $12,000 for the consultants so far and that’s in stark contrast to her colleagues. Jean Godden has spent about $6,000. Council member Tim Burgess spent just over $2,000 on consultants; Mike O’Brien has spent nothing.
“And it’s the $12,000 Sawant is spending that has some folks wondering if she’s a hypocrite — because she’s not paying these consultants as employees, she’s paying them as contractors.
“So what’s that mean? Why is that a big deal? According to Josh Feit at PubliCola, ‘there’s no sign of payroll taxes (such as unemployment insurance or social security payments).’ And he writes, ‘Sawant has been skirting the rules by not paying into the public workers’ safety net.’”
The far-left—including Sawant and her supporters—has long decried this method of payment as a means for “evil big businesses” to “circumvent minimum wage, overtime and anti-discrimination laws.” So why, asks KIRO Radio’s Jason Rantz, “is it OK that Sawant is doing it? How isn’t this hypocritical?” Rantz,
“One of her consultants is Phillip Locker. He told the Stranger that this kind of behavior is common practice amongst political campaigns — an ironic position for a candidate that says she’s not a typical politician.
“And it also turns out he apparently is illegally working as a consultant. You need a business license to do what he’s doing and the Stranger reports he doesn’t even have one.
“We are absolutely against that,” Locker said about big businesses using contractor status to avoid proper labor practices. But, he adds, “there are some positions [and] some times when it is appropriate for someone to be an independent contractor.”
“Now, the truth is, he’s right — this is how politicians work and this is how a lot of businesses work. The difference is he’s asking for a pass on behavior he’d never give a pass to if it was a business doing it.”
This isn’t the first time Sawant has been caught in a web of hypocrisy. Last year, KIRO’s Dori Monson questioned Sawant on her refusal to condemn the high salaries of union bosses. Sawant dodged his questions by repeatedly referring back to the “excesses of Wall Street executives.” When Monson pushed for an answer, Sawant hung up.
As Rantz put it, if Wal-Mart or McDonalds did what Sawant is doing now, she “would be all over it.” The question for Sawant is, “When is it OK for a business to utilize contractors the exact way she’s using them?”