Contribution(s) of the Day: City Employees to Nickels

By Erica C. Barnett July 13, 2009

As Josh reported last month, the city council passed an ordinance barring city officials from soliciting campaign contributions from city employees (a situation that obviously puts employees in an awkward position). At the time, more than 25 percent of Mayor Greg Nickels' approximately $350,000 in contributions, or about $93,000, had come from city employees.

As of today, the total Nickels has raised from city workers stands at nearly $127,000 —five time the total city employee contributions to all other city races combined, and more than a quarter of the approximately half-million dollars Nickels has raised so far. And Nickels' reliance on contributions from city workers has been growing—as Nickels challenger Mike McGinn points out , in his first successful campaign, just two percent of Nickels's contributions came from inside City Hall.

The new law, as it turns out, doesn't go into effect until July 22. And even then, city ethics and elections director Wayne Barnett says, enforcement will mostly be based on complaints, not proactive measures. "I don't think we can assume that people aren't giving voluntarily, without being solicited," Barnett says.

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