McGinn campaign says pro-Murray PAC violating ethics rules

McGinn campaign says pro-Murray PAC violating ethics rules

Credit: KING

State Sen. Ed Murray, left, and Mayor Mike McGinn are scheduled to debate on KING 5 on Oct. 9.

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by RUSS WALKER / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on September 13, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 13 at 5:00 PM

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn's campaign wants the city's Ethics and Elections Commission to investigate whether a pro-Murray political action committee is masking contributions from the business community.

A McGinn campaign attorney says several businesses gave money to a PAC set up this year by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber PAC -- Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy -- in turn gave the money to the indepenent People for Ed Murray PAC, which used the funds to send mailers to voter ahead of the August primary.

As a result, the McGinn attorney says, the pro-Murray PAC did not have to diclose the invididual businesses as being one of its top five contributors.

"By taking money through CASE instead of directly from corporate donors," wrote attorney Gary Manca, "PEMPAC could avoid association with the large corporations that were the true source of its funds. (These would have included several companies with various local interests: Vulcan, a developer; Hedreen, a developer; Puget Sound Energy; and Comcast.)"

Murray's campaign declined to comment, saying the issue involved the separate People for Ed Murray PAC.

PAC spokesman Dean Nielsen said the complaint showed "desperate days over at the McGinn campaign." He said the pro-Murray PAC is following the disclosure law closely. If the Ethics commission launches an investigation, Nielsen said, the PAC will cooperate fully.

Nielsen also noted that McGinn is being supported by two labor-backed PACs, which he said are not in compliance with the same standard being argued by the McGinn lawyer, as those PACs don't disclose the name of every individual union member behind them.

The Ethics commission declined to comment.

So far in the race for campaign donations, the Ed Murray and the independent PACs backing his candidacy have raised far more than McGinn and the two labor PACs.

Murray narrowly edged McGinn in the August primary, though the frontrunners split the vote with four other candidates.

KING 5 will host a debate between the two candidates on October 9, shortly before ballots are sent out to voters. The deadline for returning election ballots is November 3.

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