• Amazon drops $1 million to change Seattle City Council

    By: Essex Porter


    Amazon just dropped $1 million into the fight to change the makeup of the Seattle City Council and it comes as ballots are set to go into the mail by the end of the week.

    The huge donation puts the spotlight on the core battle in the council this year: business versus labor. 

    Amazon has expanded its role in local politics, ever since it successfully pressured the City Council last year to repeal an employee head tax before it took effect.

    Now, Amazon has made a million-dollar donation to the Seattle Chamber of Commerce political action committee called the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy, or CASE.

    "We're not trying to dictate the makeup of the council. We're just trying to communicate with voters that they have a choice," said Executive Director Markham McIntyre.

    Earlier this year, Amazon contributed $400,000 to CASE. Add today's donation of just over $1 million and that's more than $1.4 million in all.

    Now compare the $1.4 million from Amazon alone with the $414,000 raised mostly from labor unions by the Civic Alliance for a Progressive Economy, or CAPE.

    We sat down with the leader of CAPE, Rachel Lauter.

    Asked if such a large donation will backfire, Lauter responded, "I do think there's a possibility it will backfire.
    The scale of this is great and so different from what we've seen before that there's a real possibility from regular voters and also, frankly, Amazon's employees."

    Business-backed CASE is supporting candidates thought to be more conservative. Out of seven candidates, only Debora Juarez currently sits on the council.

    "Our common thread is that all these candidates are going to bring change to the City Council. They recognize that it's dysfunctional and a toxic environment," said McIntyre.

    Labor-backed CAPE supports four progressives who are more liberal, including current council members Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant.

    "Our hope is, our belief is, regular people are going to win the day in this election," Lauter said.

    In a statement to KIRO-7, Amazon said, "We believe it is critical that our hometown has a city council that is focused on pragmatic solutions to our shared challenges in transportation, homelessness, climate change and public safety."


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