Caffeinated News

1. A PubliCola public records request into Mayor Ed Murray's out-of-town travel shows that Murray and his staff have spent $26,460 in public dollars on trips since taking office in January. 

Mayor Murray himself has billed the city about $10,641 for six trips that include three Seattle Chamber of Commerce-sponsored trips (one to Boston to study Boston's preschool funding program, one to DC for a Politico event, and one to New York for an "Intercity Study Mission").

Murray did not bill the city for his trip to the Super Bowl in January (nor the White House Super Bowl reception in May) nor for his late-September trips to Ireland (a trip to Dublin for an Ernest & Young meeting with Amazon, Boeing, and Microsoft, and a trip to Galway for an SPD "Pipe & Drum & Sister City Visit.")

Murray's other billed trips were a June 29 trip to the White House for an LGBT event ($560.95) and two United States Conference of Mayors trips—one in D.C. in January for $1,841 and one in Dallas in June for $2,349. 

For some context, we also looked at former Mayor Mike McGinn's office's travel expenditures during his first year. The records show $7,792 in costs to the city. 

2. Avista Corp., the Spokane-based energy company, contributes to both Democrats and Republicans in the state legislature. For example, the utility, which has a record of lobbying to water down I-937, the 2006 initiative that mandates a certain percentage of energy sources must be renewable, has donated $950 to both the Democratic and Republican senate campaign committees.

Making a series of independent expenditures over the past two weeks totaling $35,000, the energy company revealed who they're really supporting.

But making a series of independent expenditures over the past two weeks totaling $35,000, the company has revealed who they're really supporting. (Independent Expenditures allow companies to contribute unlimited amounts to political committees—a standard in Washington state that existed long before the Citizens United rules, by the way.) The money went exclusively to members of the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus, the conservative caucus that currently controls the senate and is battling a Democratic election year challenge.

Avista gave $17,000, including its second installment of $9,000 on Friday, to state Sen. Doug Ericksen (D-42, Ferndale), who is not only one of the Republicans in a pivotal race this year, but also chairs the senate environmental committee which has thwarted Gov. Jay Inslee's efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. Avista's other IE, $18,000 in the last two weeks, went to the co-chair of the environmental committee, state Sen. Tim Sheldon (D-35, Potlatch); Sheldon is a conservative Democrat who has sided with the GOP for years and caucuses with Republicans, giving their MCC a numeric advantage. 

Avista's IE paid for a mailer promoting Ericksen as a leader on education issues; the legislature is currently in contempt for not fully funding K-12 education. 

3. Speaking of key races, Sen. Tim Sheldon, and IEs:

The Good Government Leadership Council, the state senate Republicans political committee, has spent $220,851 in opposition to Sheldon's opponent, Irene Bowling in the 35th LD—Mason County and parts of Kitsap and Thurston Counties. (Bowling, who lives in Chico Way in Kitsap outside Bremerton, is an actual Democrat who has been endorsed by Gov. Jay Inslee, a parade of Democratic state senators, along with the 35th Legislative District Democrats and the Kitsap and Mason County Democrats; see her long list of Democratic endorsements here, which also include pro-choice groups and unions.)

The theme of the IE attacks? Bowling is a Seattle liberal. 




4.  And speaking of hit pieces in key state senate races. It's not just the Republicans who are going over the top. 

An attack on former-democratic-state-house Rep-turned-Republican-state-senate-candidate Mark Miloscia, put a pope's hat on his head and goes after his socially conservative Catholic views. 


Miloscia, a pro-labor, social arch-conservative, is running in the 30th LD in Federal Way. 

The unofficial and unclaimed ad appeared on an anti-Miloscia website and has been denounced by Miloscia's Democratic opponent Shari Song. 

Song's campaign suspects that a Democratic party activist is responsible for the ad:

The proprietor of is unidentified. But Song, who condemned the image, wrote on Facebook that she told the activist to stop the anti-Catholic attacks, writing, ”I understand one of my supporters may have crossed the line of what is appropriate in that regard, and I’ve asked them to stop.”

Song’s campaign manager Alex Hendrickson told TheDC that “rumors” led her to believe that local Democratic Party member Keith Tyler is responsible for the website.




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