Politics Port Candidate Cash
posted by July 16 at 15:10 PMon
When candidates went before the 34th District Democrats last week (Burien, W. Seattle, Vashon), Port candidate Gael Tarleton was questioned about her relationship with SAIC, a customs security company (they make a scanner to spot radioactive material.)
Tarleton was questioned about SAIC (Science Applications International Corp.) because 23 employees of SAIC have kicked in $8,300—about 10% of her $80,000 raised. Tarleton also has stock in the company. The question on the table: Since SAIC markets its security product to ports, does Tarleton face a conflict of interest?
I asked Tarleton about this, and she explained: “I worked at SAIC for 12 years. I left five years ago. [She helped build SAIC’s business in Russia.] When I made my family and friends list to start raising money for this Port race, a lot of my friends from SAIC— who know what I do and how well I do it, and these are people who care about ports and about our country—went on my list. Most important, I will recuse myself if any business with SAIC comes before the commission.” (SAIC has not made a corporate donation to Tarleton—just employees there.)
Tarleton’s stock in the company came as part of her retirement employee package when she worked there. It’s about 5% of her and her husband’s retirement portfolio. She has the option to sell it in 2008, and says she and her husband haven’t decided what to do with the stock yet. “Again,” she says, “if any business involving SAIC comes before the Port, I will recuse myself.”
To be fair: Here are some more campaign finance questions for the other candidates in Tarleton’s race.
1) Incumbent Bob Edwards biggest contributor is shipping company SSA ($2800 from the company itself). Does that explain why the Port is ponying up $10 million to build a bridge between terminal 25 and 30 for SSA? Edwards says no and adds that the Port will end up making back its investment.
2) Question for Jack Block, Jr. Why has your father donated $100 to your opponent Bob Edwards? Block explains that his dad (a former Port Commissioner himself) donated to Edwards before Block Jr jumped in. Indeed, Block Sr. has since contributed $200 to Jr. Although, Jr. reports: “Fathers and sons don’t always talk to each other. I love my dad dearly. I knew that if I had talked to him beforehand that he would tell me not to run. We had a troubled relationship.”