• Heidi Wills faces campaign finance complaint

    By: Essex Porter

    Updated:

    A campaign finance complaint has been filed against Seattle City Council Candidate Heidi Wills.

    It's a claim that may remind voters of the campaign finance "Strippergate" that Wills was involved during 2003.

    Posted on the Wills campaign Facebook page is an Oct. 8 fundraiser in the rooftop pavilion of the Hotel Ballard.

    Wills' initial financial report shows only a $500 in-kind contribution for the space and a $500 in-kind contribution for the food.

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    That made progressive political activist Robert Cruickshank suspicious.

    "At a time when the influence of money on our city's elections is at the top of everyone's mind, I'm really concerned that she would be violating campaign finance laws like this. It's not OK," he said.

    Included in the complaint is an email from the catering director quoting $1,000 to rent the space and a $4,000 minimum for food and drink.

    Any campaign finance questions about Wills, are a reminder of the scandal when she and two other council members accepted money from a strip club owner when she was on the council 16 years ago.

    But in a phone call late Monday, Wills told us she is following the complex rules.

    "The Seattle Ethics and Elections candidate guidebook says it's most important to report on time, even if you don't have all the information and fix it later with an amendment."
    Wills says she will no longer report the fund raiser as an in-kind contribution because the providers had earlier contributed the maximum amount to her campaign.

    Wills says she will amend her report to show her fundraiser cost $1,700. 

    She also pointed out the invitation that her opponent Dan Strauss issued for a fundraiser at Fishermen's Terminal that was also held Oct. 8. She says it wasn't reported until Monday, nearly a week after the filing deadline.

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