By law, the eleven elected officials in Seattle must file an annual F-1 financial disclosure form as a public record with the city clerk by April 15th of each year. As of this morning (April 24), seven of the nine have done so.
As a reminder, here is last year’s writeup of the financial disclosures.
I’ll also repeat what I said last year:
But I will admit that spending an evening reading the Council members’ financial disclosure forms is sort of creepy, and at times feels downright invasive. Even with confidence that my own finances are above reproach, I would be hesitant to run for public office knowing that I would have to disclose this much information. Nevertheless, they did choose to run for City Council knowing that this would likely be the law by the time they took office. And they won, and now so do we all because of the transparency this grants us. But let’s be grownups about this, throw some respect their way for giving up some of their privacy in the name of good government, and treat these disclosures with the seriousness they deserve.
Let’s start by naming the two who haven’t filed their annual forms and are out of compliance: Council members Gonzalez and Juarez. I’ll keep checking, and update this post if and when they are filed. UPDATE 4/26/17: Gonzalez’s and Juarez’s were filed today (link below)
Last year, Council member Sawant’s financial disclosure form was incomplete. I’m happy to say that this year hers is complete, and she disclosed the income of her spouse. He generated income from two jobs: at Socialist Alternative and Vote Sawant (Sawant’s election campaign organization). Between the two he made between $10,000 and $30,000. It’s not a huge amount of money, there’s no reason to believe he didn’t earn it, and it’s all perfectly honest and legal, but it’s definitely in the public interest to know that some of the funds donated to Sawant’s political organization and campaign end up back in her own household.
This year Council member Bagshaw only declared her own investment holdings, and not those in her husband’s name. Last year she declared her husband’s as well, to the tune of $4.7 million.
The same four Council members are millionaires as were last year: Baghsaw, Burgess, Harrell and O’Brien.
Five of the Council members had financial relationships with Wells Fargo Bank: Harrell carries two mortgages, checking and savings accounts with the bank; O’Brien has a checking account; and Bagshaw, Burgess and Herbold invested in Wells Fargo stock — though Herbold divested hers during the past year, and Burgess’s is tiny and is within a mutual fund so it’s outside his direct control. UPDATE 4/26: Gonzalez also has a mortgage at Wells Fargo. The Wells Fargo connection is ironic, given that the Council unanimously passed an ordinance urging the city to sever its ties with the bank due to its unsavory business practices and its support for the Dakota Access Pipeline project. It demonstrates just how difficult it is to use your financial business dealings to implement political and social policy.
Here are the disclosure forms for the seven Council members who have filed for this year:
Again, thank you to our elected officials for their willingness to serve and to share their personal financial details in the name of good governance.