Your one-stop shop for all today's (tunnel) campaign news.

Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect the fact that the anti-tunnel campaign was, at the time of the story, only around $2,500 in debt, not $16,500 as originally reported; the larger figure includes all debts and obligations accrued during the entire campaign.

• The anti-tunnel campaign scored a victory earlier today, when the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission dismissed a complaint that a Protect Seattle Now campaign brochure looked suspiciously similar to literature used by then-candidate Mike McGinn back in 2009. The campaign did not report the design work, but did report spending just under $5,300 to print and distribute an insert in the Seattle Times. (The Times, of course, loudly endorsed the tunnel Friday in an editorial that read more like an anti-McGinn jeremiad than about the tunnel issue itself).

[pullquote]Asked why the campaign didn't mention Broadhead's tolling work on behalf of the campaign, Handy said the money didn't technically go to Broadhead. "They [Broadhead's Mercury Group"] got a check because they had an account with the vendor" that actually did the poll, a robo-poll conducted two months ago," Handy said. "The invoice went to Mercury because they had the contract and we needed to do [the poll] fast."[/pullquote]

The commission also dismissed the second half of the complaint, which charged that the campaign did focus groups that they failed to disclose.

In a statement announcing the dismissal, campaign spokesman Ben Schiendelman said, "We wish we had hundreds of thousands of dollars to hire slick high-priced consultants to design our campaign materials. Unlike our opponents, who have accepted tens of thousands of dollars in contributions from the tunnel contractors who stand to make billions from the project, we can’t afford that luxury.”

• However, that's not to say they haven't hired a (non slick/high-priced?) consultant. In fact, the campaign's statement came out the same day the group reported its expenditures, which, in addition to the Times insert, include $2,500 both last month and in June to a Bellevue consultant named Rebecca Hyman, who's the campaign's field coordinator. Hyman previously worked as a campaign manager for state Rep. Marcie Maxwell (D-41) and as field director for John Edwards' 2008 campaign in New Hampshire.

The campaign also paid $3,000 last month to McGinn consultant Bill Broadhead, and paid Handy $5,000.

In the Times last month, Handy told reporter Emily Heffter Broadhead's involvement in the anti-tunnel campaign "was limited to an early financial contribution" (in Heffter's paraphrase).

Asked why the campaign didn't mention Broadhead's tolling work on behalf of the campaign, Handy said the money didn't technically go to Broadhead. "They [Broadhead's Mercury Group"] got a check because they had an account with the vendor" that actually did the poll, a robo-poll conducted two months ago," Handy said. "The invoice went to Mercury because they had the contract and we needed to do [the poll] fast."

• In more good news for the anti-tunnel camp, the Seattle Transit Blog reports that the Federal Transportation Administration wrote a pointed letter to the state Department of Transportation last year saying the tunnel "would do little to improve transit and would in fact likely have 'adverse' impacts on transit “even with mitigation." Read the whole scathing letter for yourself here.

• The bright spot for the pro-tunnel campaign, as voters fill out their ballots? They still have all the money in the race. The PI.com reports that the pro-tunnel campaign has raised nearly $400,000 to the anti-tunnel camp's $87,000---including a big ($5,000) donation from Puget Sound Energy, the Bellevue-based electric utility. Forty-one percent of the campaign's contributions have come from out of town. The anti-tunnel camp's latest contribution totals show the group nearly $2,500 in the red, while the pro-tunnel camp reports a little more than $160,000 on hand.
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