campaign finance


A bill that’s making its way through the Washington state House of Representatives would make campaign contributions more transparent. It passed the state Senate last month.

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In Spokane, the city council and the mayor are at odds over a new city ordinance. It changes how the city funds local campaigns. The mayor vetoed the new law, but the city council hopes to override that veto Monday. 

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Officials in the city of Spokane are hoping to take on campaign finance reform with a proposal meant to limit the influence of money in local politics.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network files

Washington’s Attorney General’s Office has filed a major campaign finance lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union. The lawsuit announced late Tuesday accuses SEIU’s State Council of making more than $5 million in unreported campaign contributions.

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When there is money left over from political campaigns, what do elected officials do with it? Records show that since Election Day more than a dozen Washington state lawmakers have dipped into leftover campaign cash for pay for everything from cellphones to meals out to travel.

And this “surplus campaign spending” gets little scrutiny.

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The director of Washington’s campaign finance watchdog, Evelyn Fielding Lopez, said if she had a do-over she wouldn’t weigh-in on the accuracy of political campaign ads in a hotly contested state Senate race.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

There’s a lot of talk about “dark money” in politics these days. That’s money raised and spent by so-called “social welfare” organizations that don’t have to disclose their donors.

But sometimes these groups will reveal who’s giving them money -- if you ask.

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Washington’s largest labor organization has agreed to a $26,000 fine for past campaign finance violations. The attorney general’s office announced the penalty Friday against the Washington State Labor Council.

Colin Fogarty / Northwest News Network files

Lobbyists play a key role in political fundraising. Just consider the invitation to a fundraiser Wednesday night for the Speaker and the Majority Leader of the Washington state House.


It’s been 44 years since Washington voters approved an initiative to require the disclosure of campaign contributions – and 24 years since voters enacted limits on campaign donations. Now comes a proposal to update those laws and usher in a new era of publicly-financed elections.