Judge rules enough charges against socialist Seattle city council member for recall efforts to proceed

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A Seattle judge has given the green light for a recall petition seeking to remove a self-proclaimed socialist member of the city council to proceed in court.

King County Superior Court Judge Jim Rogers ruled Tuesday that the process may move forward to remove Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant from office, according to The Seattle Times. Four of the six charges brought against Sawant were determined by Rogers to have met the standard allowing the recall process to proceed.

The far-left socialist member of the city council, who has openly vowed to replace capitalism with socialism, is facing the recall effort by a group of Seattle residents who alleged six violations by Sawant that violated her oath of office.

Sawant, who was born in India and is a member of Socialist Alternative, has served on the Seattle City Council since 2014. This year, amid all of the Black Lives Matter protests and unrest, she allegedly helped activists in several instances, including speaking at a protest in front of Mayor Jenny Durkan’s house and using her passkey to let demonstrators into City Hall in a nighttime protest in June.

“The petitioner has shown actual knowledge of facts indicating that the Councilmember intended to commit an unlawful act,” Rogers wrote in his order.

He went through the charges individually to determine “malfeasance or misfeasance” and ended up dismissing the charges alleging Sawant had encouraged protesters to occupy Seattle Police’s East Precinct and that she “helped create the Capitol Hill Occupation Protest (CHOP) Zone.”

Rogers did find, however, that there was enough evidence showing Sawant had used her council office to promote a ballot initiative, spending $2,000 for the “Tax Amazon” initiative.

“These are actual resources being spent to promote an initiative, which is prohibited by law,” Rogers wrote. “These facts show actual knowledge of facts indicating that the Councilmember intended to commit an unlawful act.”

The judge also found that Sawant may have violated the Seattle Municipal Ethics Code by delegating employment decisions in her office to her Socialist Alternative party. But much of the attention was on the other allegations, including Sawant’s participation at a protest in front of Durkan’s house, even though the Democrat mayor’s address is protected information.

Durkan called out the actions which “recklessly undermines the safety others, all for political theater,” in a letter to the city council.

“The allegations, supported by a basis of knowledge, are that the Councilmember and fellow organizers knew the Mayor’s address, knew it was confidential and led the protestors right to the Mayor’s home,” Rogers wrote.

In discussions about Sawant allowing protesters into City Hall, John McKay, an attorney representing one of the petitioners calling for the Sawant’s removal, slammed the “violation” on the night of June 9 when most buildings were closed anyway due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It was not an unintentional action, she did not drop her passkey on the sidewalk and someone just picked it up,” McKay said in the virtual hearing. “She brought in hundreds of protesters. It was in the violation of an executive order.”

(Image: KING5 screenshot)

“They have not shown you that there is a City Council ordinance that prevents Councilmember Sawant from bringing people into City Hall for any reason she deems appropriate, in her discretion,” Dmitri Iglitzin, Sawant’s attorney, argued.

But the judge apparently agreed with McKay.

“It is very difficult to ignore the allegation (and the underlying facts) that City Hall was locked to the public precisely because of the pandemic and because of the public health Proclamations of the Governor,” he wrote.

Iglitzin had argued in the hearing that the recall effort was an attack on his client, who has been elected three times.

“We have elections in this state and in this city, and those elections are where the decision as to who is holding this office is supposed to be determined,” he said. “This is on its face, by any fair reading, a political screed against Councilmember Sawant.”

Back in July, Sawant was seen in a video rant after the passage of the city’s “Amazon tax.”

“We are coming to dismantle this deeply oppressive, racist, sexist, violent, utterly bankrupt system of capitalism. This police state. We cannot and will not stop until we overthrow it, and replace it with a world based, instead, on solidarity, genuine democracy, and equality: a socialist world,” she said.

Following the judge’s order this week, 10,000 signatures need to be collected in order to put the recall effort on the ballot. Sawant plans to appeal the ruling by the King County Superior Court judge.

Her party is apparently fundraising “to combat the spread of misinformation” by providing informational materials.

In another eyebrow-raising development, the Seattle City Council voted Tuesday to use taxpayer funds to pay for Sawant’s legal defense in the recall effort as Washington state law requires the funding of the defense of any elected officials at the approval of City Council and the City Attorney’s Office.

City Council staff estimated the cost for outside lawyers hired by Sawant to be $75,000, BizPac Review reported.


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