One of the reasons Durkan wants Sawant investigated is because someone spray-painted ACAB and Fuck Cops on Durkans property.
One of the reasons Durkan wants Sawant investigated is because someone spray-painted "ACAB" and "Fuck Cops" on Durkan's property (shown above). Courtesy of Mayor Durkan

In a strongly-worded letter to Council President Lorena González, Mayor Jenny Durkan called on the Seattle City Council to start an investigation into council member Kshama Sawant, the council's lone socialist member.

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Durkan said that Sawant was "potentially" using her position "in violation of the law" in a way that "recklessly undermines the safety of others, all for political theatre." Durkan listed Sawant's actions that concerned her:

  • Sawant allowed the group Socialist Alternative to have hiring and firing say over her council office. Two ethics complaints filed against Sawant for these allegations were dismissed last year.

  • Sawant is currently under investigation by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission for using her office's equipment and platform to promote her Tax Amazon ballot initiative, which is meant to be separate from the Tax Amazon payroll tax council legislation Sawant has championed and therefore not intertwined with official council business.

  • Sawant opened up City Hall to a group of protesters one night earlier this month. According to Durkan, this caused safety risks for other City Hall staff such as custodians.

  • Sawant hosted a rally that allegedly called on protesters to "occupy the East Precinct" while the city was doing its darndest to clear the Capitol Hill Organized Protest.

  • Sawant, Durkan alleged, led protesters to Durkan's Windermere home on Sunday. Durkan claimed that she had her address kept confidential because of the threats she received while she was a prosecutor. Durkan also said that Sawant's followers tagged "ACAB" and "Fuck Cops" on Durkan's fence. ("In addition, during or after Councilmember Sawant's speech at that rally, her followers vandalized my home by spray-painting obscenities," the letter states; the photo at the top of this post is attached to Durkan's letter.) The event was organized by Socialists Alternative and the Democratic Socialists of America. Sawant was invited as a speaker.
  • Durkan urged the council to "exercise" its duty to "punish or expel a member for disorderly or otherwise contemptuous behavior."

    Sawant and Durkan have never seen eye-to-eye. Sawant has repeatedly criticized Durkan's "establishment" politics and cited her business loyalties. Durkan has refused to sign bills from Sawant and called Sawant's Tax Amazon payroll tax proposal "irresponsible" for proposing it borrow from the city's interfund loans, a common bookkeeping practice at the city.

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    Most recently, Sawant called for Durkan's resignation and said that if she didn't resign, Sawant was ready to draft articles of impeachment. Durkan has been keeping the receipts on Sawant's alleged transgressions and apparently protesters showing up at Durkan's front door on Sunday was the final straw. Durkan and her partner are notoriously private.

    The Seattle City Council has yet to issue a statement in response to Durkan's letter.

    UPDATE: Sawant responded to Durkan's allegations here.

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