A bill slated to go before the Seattle City Council would direct the city to swallow legal costs of defending Seattle City Council president Richard Conlin in court proceedings from a campaign to recall him from office. Specifically, it would direct the city to pay "the necessary expenses of defending Councilmember Richard Conlin in any and all judicial hearings to determine the sufficiency of the recall charge..."
Introduced by Council Members Sally Clark and Tim Burgess, it adds that "Councilmember Conlin has requested that the City of Seattle pay the necessary expense" and that the council as a whole "deems it appropriate" to cover those costs.
State law says that a government entity shall cover the legal expenses of defending against the legitimacy of a recall petition, provided that the official has the consent of the government entity's lawyer and legislative body (in this case the Seattle City Attorney and the city council). State law sets a high threshold for recalling an elected official, requiring a petitioner to prove malfeasance or an illegal act. A group filed a petition on Tuesday to recall Conlin. But before they can gather signatures, a King County Superior Court Judge must deem the complaints valid; the first step in funding Conlin's defense will arguing that the recall effort does not qualify.
A fiscal note prepared by the city council says that the action "does not have any financial implications."