Seattle Mayor's Race 2013

McGinn Fails to Report $3,500 Campaign Expenditure

Mayor Mike McGinn initially failed to report $3,500 in campaign debt to his consultant, making his April numbers look better than they were.

By Erica C. Barnett May 13, 2013

This post has been corrected to note that the expenditure McGinn's campaign failed to report was $3,500 in April; the $4,500 expenditure was in March.

This morning, we credited Mayor Mike McGinn's campaign for their frugality in April, when they reported spending just $2,662. 

Turns out that amount didn't include one major spend: $3,500 for McGinn's campaign consultant John Wyble, of Winpower Strategies. 

Curious why Wyble, who was paid $4,500 for his work in March and has been working as the mayor's campaign consultant ever since, wasn't listed among McGinn's April expenses, we called Wyble and asked. He told PubliCola he had billed "early" for March and ten days of February, so those numbers had shown up in March, and that "we always bill one month after" incurring costs.

"Basically, April is done, so we billed them after the filing went through," Wyble said. 

To find out if it was kosher for the campaign to retain Wyble in April without recording his fee on its April report, we called Wayne Barnett, head of the city's ethics and elections commission. He told us, "I don't think so"—if a consultant (or anyone) works for a campaign in a particular month, the campaign has to note that expenditure in that month, or note the amount they owe the consultant as a debt. 

An hour after we talked to Barnett, the McGinn campaign amended its filing—to include a $3,500 debt to Wyble. Had the campaign recorded the debt as an expenditure in April, their total expenses would have more than doubled—to $6,162. 

Subtracting debts including the obligation to Wyble, McGinn had a balance at the end of April of just over $95,000. Tim Burgess had $100,249; Bruce Harrell had $55,907; Ed Murray had $55,302; and Peter Steinbrueck had $37,842.

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