Last week, Free Speech For People President John Bonifaz and FSFP Legal Director Ron Fein spent two days in Seattle advocating for the Clean Campaigns Act, Councilmember Lorena González’s landmark campaign finance legislation. The model bill, which we helped to draft, would end super PACs and foreign-influenced corporate spending in city elections. After joining Councilmember González for a panel addressing money and corporate influence in local elections, John and Ron appeared before the Seattle City Council to provide testimony in favor of the legislation. If we learned anything from Amazon’s $1.5 million attempt to influence Seattle’s recent city council elections, this legislation is now more important than ever.

In Seattle, as in so many places, the corrupting influence of big money in politics is not just a threat. It’s here and now. Seattle is already experiencing this flood with respect to the corrupting influence of super PACs and with respect to foreign-influenced corporate spending. The city is well-suited to address this flood and to protect its democracy, and we’re proud to be working with Councilmember González and Fix Democracy First on this legislation. 

In 2017, St. Petersburg, Florida passed a similar law that we helped to draft. Seattle and St. Petersburg are just the beginning. As you read this, similar bills are under consideration in Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York City. As the New York Times reported in October, our legislation could “potentially set up a new legal challenge that could reshape the national conversation on campaign finance reform.”