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Get ready for more independent spending in legislative races

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Oct. 12, 2010 at 1:49 pm with 8 Comments »
October 12, 2010 1:57 pm

It looks like labor-backed candidates in key legislative races are about to get some help.

In the past two weeks, unions have given more than $450,000 to political action committees set up by a campaign consultant, Moxie Media, that has run independent campaigns on behalf of labor-supported candidates. The consultant has come under scrutiny for its tactics in a successful effort to unseat a moderate Democrat.

In campaign disclosures, each Moxie PAC has identified a target to support or oppose. All of them are backing Democrats with two notable exceptions:

  • The PAC called For the People backs maverick Republican Rep. Tom Campbell in Pierce and Thurston counties’ 2nd District, and opposes J.T. Wilcox, another Republican with more support from his party’s establishment. Labor groups just gave another $45,000 to the PAC called 2nd Defense, which then forwarded $52,000 to For the People. The use of multiple, layered PACs allows the groups to send out mailers that don’t list the names of the unions that paid for them, as they did in the primary.
  • A PAC called Stand for Citizens opposes a moderate Democrat, Snohomish County Sen. Steve Hobbs. Hobbs survived unions’ attempt to bring him down in the primary, but they don’t appear to be giving up, even though he’s now facing a Republican, former Sen. Dave Schmidt. The unions have put another $25,500 into Stand for Citizens in recent weeks.

Groups giving to the races include the State Labor Council’s DIME PAC, the Service Employees International Union, SEIU locals 1199 and 775, Teamsters Local 117, Washington Federation of State Employees, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, the Washington State Council of Firefighters and the Public School Employees of Washington. There are a couple of donations in the mix from nonunion, liberal groups Fuse and Washington Conservation Voters.

None of the PACs have reported any spending since the primary election, and money tends to migrate between Moxie’s PACs, so it’s hard to know for sure who the money will benefit. But with those caveats, here’s where the groups have given their money since Sept. 30:

  • $69,000 to Move PAC, formed by Moxie to support Rep. Tami Green in the 28th District centered on Lakewood.
  • $45,000 to Succeed PAC, formed by Moxie to support Rep. Geoff Simpson in South King County’s 47th District.
  • $41,000 to Build PAC, formed by Moxie to support Democrat Carol Gregory for an open seat in the 30th District centered on Federal Way.
  • $82,000 to Champion PAC, formed by Moxie to support Sen. Eric Oemig and Rep. Roger Goodman in the 45th District.
  • $40,000 to Better PAC, formed by Moxie to support Rep. Hans Dunshee in the 44th District.
  • $37,500 to Progressive Champions, formed by Moxie to support Joe Fitzgibbon in the 34th District.
  • 100,000 to Improve PAC, formed by Moxie to support Sen. Randy Gordon in the 41st District.
Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. hortonpeak says:

    I cannot help but notice the detail in this posting. And, for that I commend you. Know, let us turn to Americans for Prosperity, Chamber of Commerce, and Rove’s PACs and I am eagerly awaiting such detail. The cricket’s are standing by and I really hope they are not needed.

  2. WHansen777 says:

    I just saw my Rep. Tami “owned and opearted by the unions” Green’s ad run on TV. She says she is in favor of tax cuts now, though she has voted for every tax bill while in Olympia and voted to throw out the citizen’s initiative that limited tax increases. But her union sponsored ad says at least she didn’t vote for an income tax. Yeah, she supports it, but even she isn’t dumb enough to vote for it. Let Big Billy Gates do that dirty work.

  3. hortonpeak says:

    To WHansen777, please get direct vice fly-by-wire flight controls sorted out. But, that none-the-less, would you please clarify tax increases, tax initiatives, income taxes, etc. A little clarity would be greatly appreciated. In the meantime, think about direct flight control interface vice fly-by-wire. Unless your reference to the triple 7 is just some basement dwelling fantasy. Cheers.

  4. Jordan Schrader says:


    No need for crickets. We covered this extensively in a story over the weekend: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2010/10/10/v-lite/1374780/outside-money-flooding-into-murray.html


  5. Every one is trying to buy a legislator. But it’s the other side that’s really filthy and underhanded. I’m so pure.

    Hogwash. Both parties depend on the crooked and corrupted to donate money. Washington is getting more like Chicago and Louisiana every election. The only surprise will be how many uncounted votes are found in King County this election.

  6. hortonpeak says:

    Jordan, well yes after looking at your link it is a very good article. But, a couple of observations. First, one must have some background to figure out the, “local” motif of your article vice the “national” motif of the linked article. Secondly, the article to which I am directly responding is pretty much all about, shall we say, “local democrats” and local sources. While the linked article has a mixture about democrats and republicans but still does not answer the question about ultimate funding sources. I, for one, would still like some detail about the underlying funding sources. I also notice that most of the sources in your article are Washington sources. But, are the Koch brothers, Adolf Coors, and unknown entities via the chamber given such prominence in the linked article? Why do they have a right, yes they do because of SCOTUS, to muck around in my state without attribution? I want to know the funding source of Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Chamber of Commerce, etc. to the same detail to which you note in your article. At least, I know members of Washington state unions, I would presume, mostly live within the state. The crickets are still on standby.

  7. mmrussell67 says:

    The worst part is the money shuffle – its done so no one has to be accountable – they can always say we just passed the money to this WorldPeace PAC we didn’t know they’d say that: “GOP candidates want your grandma to die quickly…”

    This is also about the Public Employees Unions giving obscene money to buy Olympia and make sure they get their job security and large compensation packages. You will not find a similar PAC or other organizational-balance to counter this buying of Olympia anywhere. There is not any organization (not republicans, chamber or any other) that can afford to buy Olympia like these public employee unions can.

    The state & local public employee unions having the most to gain (or lose) in these local races and so they dump all their money into Democrats and anyone who can be bought (or are sympathetic) in Olympia. If you want to know who can be bought (or are sympathetic) look at the list above – that’s who and for how much… almost all Democrats.

  8. mmrussell67 says:

    TO HortonPeak I’d say: You will not find a similar PAC or any other counter balance to this buying of Olympia anywhere… Jordan won’t either. There is not any organization(s) (not republicans, chamber or any other) that can afford to buy Olympia like these public employee unions can and do…. But I too would enjoy hearing who (other than Union PAC) are the big LOCAL (aka Olympia) campaign funding organizations… I don’t think there are any that can hold a candle to the amount unions do when it comes to money pumped into Olympia races – From all I can tell the unions have a monopoly on Olympia… the have bought and paid for it and no one is going to out do them.

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