Afternoon Fizz: City Dismisses O'Brien's Complaint Against Rosencrantz Supporters

By Erica C. Barnett November 30, 2009

The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission has dismissed a complaintfiled by City Council member-elect Mike O'Brien in October. The complaint alleged that O'Brien's opponent, Robert Rosencrantz, was illegally coordinating his campaign against O'Brien with Forward Seattle, a political action committee that spent tens of thousands of dollars on anti-O’Brien mailers.

Both Rosencrantz and Forward Seattle sent out thousands of mailers accusing O'Brien of wanting to "toll all city streets." Both featured an unflattering image of O'Brien taken from the same Friends of Seattle video; both included images of toll booths on neighborhood streets; and both accused O'Brien of wanting tolls "everywhere."

In his letter of dismissal, ethics and elections head Wayne Barnett notes that the two campaigns declared under penalty of perjury that they did not coordinate; that the two campaigns targeted very different groups (Rosencrantz targeted specific precincts; Forward Seattle targeted women who had voted in three of the past four off-year general elections); and that the mailers were produced by two separate companies, one in Oregon, one in Utah.

In a separate action, the elections commission also fined the McGinn campaign $420, the maximum penalty, for waiting until election day to report $4,200 in contributions deposited on October 15.

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