Seattle City Councilman Richard McIver has been caught in an embarrassing situation after taking advantage of a legal loophole in city code to pay a $1,000 ethics fine with taxpayer money, but McIver’s ethics fine is just the tip of the iceberg, according to an in-depth investigative report.
City records obtained by The Naked Loon indicate that city council members have been dipping into taxpayer funds to pay for everything from Botox pedicures to servant monkeys—and it’s all totally legal.
A little-known Seattle law says that the city will underwrite any expenses of city employees, no questions asked. The law has been a godsend for cash-strapped councilmembers, barely able to scrape by on their paltry six-digit salaries.
Here are some recent councilmember expenditures on the taxpayer dime:
- Jean Godden spent over three thousand taxpayer dollars in May on movie memorabilia and fake Swiss watches on eBay.
- Bruce Harrell enjoyed a three-week vacation in Vegas, spending nearly $7,777 of the taxpayer’s money.
- Seattle taxpayers paid $9,500 to install a three thousand square foot Amazonian terrarium in Nick Licata’s basement.
- Tom Rasmussen has been doing his part to help the beleaguered Starbucks, spending taxpayer dollars to the tune of $15 a day at the coffee shop for the last nine months.
- Richard Conlin took a $12,000 taxpayer-funded trip to Australia to participate in an event called “Ultimate Kangaroo Fighting.”
The complete list of expenses charged to Seattle taxpayers in the last year contains over thirty thousand entries. We showed the list to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, and were told by a representative that they would look into it, but they have a few hundred other ethics cases to work out first.
When we confronted Councilmember Jan Drago, who spent $6,870 on German preteen music videos, she said that “it would be a waste of taxpayer dollars for the Ethics Commission to impose their subjective and confusing standards on the irreproachable members of the City Council.”
Other councilmembers expressed regret that common citizens outside the Seattle political machine have taken it on themselves to judge the personal spending habits of city officials.
“We have all taken the time to meet with our respective counsels in the City Attorney’s Office on their taxpayer-funded yachts, and they unanimously advised us that these types of personal expenditures are not in violation of the Seattle Municipal Code,” said Councilmember Sally Clark.
“This whole controversy is just silly,” said Councilmember Tim Burgess. “The taxpayers get to spend their money however they want, so it’s only fair that we are allowed to do the same.”