As Shift reported, Seattle City Councilmember Sally Bagshaw filed an ethics complaint against her Socialist colleague Kshama Sawant back in April. Bagshaw claimed that a “town-hall meeting”—publicized as a rent control meeting—hosted by Sawant at City Hall was, in truth, a “political rally designed to inflame emotions and get one council member re-elected.”
The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC) has since been reviewing the complaint in order to decided whether or not Sawant illegally used city property for her re-election bid by “allowing campaign workers to distribute materials and gather ballot-petition signatures during the town-hall meeting about affordable housing.” The SEEC reached a decision over the weekend, and the city’s elections bureaucrats decided that Sawant “played by the rules” after all. The Seattle Times,
“The city’s Elections Code prohibits elected officials and their employees from using city facilities for campaigning. But the rule doesn’t apply when officials or their employees ‘engage in activities that any member of the public may engage in,’ Barnett ruled.
“‘The Elections Code does not deny city officials the opportunity to use City facilities in the same manner as anyone else,’ he wrote.”
Though the SEEC ruled that Sawant did not violate the rules outright, the Commission’s report did question her actions. The investigating officer wrote, “This dismissal should not be interpreted as an endorsement of campaign activities in City Hall… In my years of public service, I have never before seen campaign activity openly conducted in a government facility. This was clearly an occurrence that troubled many members of the public.”
Sawant’s stunt proved just how exasperated her colleagues are by her attention-seeking antics. A week after Sawant’s event, Mayor Ed Murray and Councilmember Tom Rasmussen “introduced a bill explicitly banning elected officials and their ‘agents’ from engaging in campaign activities near their own official city events.” Of course, Sawant does not support the bill.