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Guide to the Archives of the City of Seattle

Record Group 2200
Ethics and Elections Commission

The Board of Ethics was established in 1971 to promote ethical behavior by City officials and employees, to provide advisory opinions regarding conflicts of interest, and to conduct hearings regarding violations of the Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics sets standards of conduct for City officials and employees in carrying out City business. The members of the Board of Ethics also served as the Fair Campaign Practices Commission, which heard cases of campaign violations, although the two entities maintained separate offices and staff. In 1991 the two entities were consolidated into the independent Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission. The Commission enforces campaign practices legislation, including financial disclosure requirements, and develops and enforces ethical standards for city officials and employees.

Meeting Materials

8.4 cubic feet

Minutes, agendas, and meeting packets of the Fair Campaign Practices Commission, the Board of Ethics, and the Ethics and Elections Commission. Meeting packets contain correspondence, memoranda, reports, Commission decisions, and clippings. Meeting materials for the Fair Campaign Practices Commission and the Board of Ethics are filed together and contain some of the same material. Minutes exist for meetings held between 1977-1991, 1998, and 2001. Files for meetings held in 2000-2002 contain the notes of Carolyn Van Noy, Executive Director of the Ethics and Elections Commission. Files for meetings in 1973-1980 may contain transcripts from special meetings.

Folder List
Finding Aid

Policy and Administration Records

1992-2001 (bulk)
10.0 cubic feet

Correspondence, memoranda, reports, draft legislation, and rules related to the development and administration of the Ethics and Elections Commission and its predecessors, as well as material relating to campaign finance reform and development of the Fair Campaign Practices ordinance. Records reflect the histories and activities of the Board of Ethics and the Office of Elections Administration and their subsequent merger into the current office. Extensive files chart the development and changes to the enabling ordinances for the regulatory functions related to the Code of Ethics and campaign financing. Includes sample laws from other jurisdictions, comparison of proposed rules to state law, and analysis of the effect the proposed law would have had on recent elections.

Folder List
Finding Aid

Voters' Pamphlets

1.0 cubic foot

Official voters' pamphlets for primary, general, and special elections that include contests in which Seattle residents cast votes. Includes statements by candidates, text of measures, and statements of support and opposition. For some years, there are pamphlets in Spanish and Chinese. Pamphlets for 1980-1982 are missing


Campaign Finance Reports

48.4 cubic feet

Public Disclosure Commission campaign finance reports (C1, C3 and C4) filed by candidates running for city office, citizen groups and local issue political action committees. Reports document campaign contributions and expenditures.

Files are arranged by year, and alphabetically by candidate or PAC within each year.

Folder List
Finding Aid


1971-2001 (bulk)
17.6 cubic feet

Reports, correspondence, memoranda, and other materials comprising case files of requests for clarification of ethics policies and election laws, advisory opinions, whistleblower files, and public disclosure requests of all of the above. The series is divided into two subseries, the first being the files of the Board of Ethics and the Fair Campaign Practices Commission, which were created in 1971 and operated independently of each other. The second subseries contains the files of the Ethics and Elections Commission, created in 1991 by the merger of the two departments. While the Board of Ethics and the Fair Campaign Practices Commission were two separate departments until 1991, their respective records were interfiled after the merger and maintained as one unit.

The first subseries, the case files of the Board of Ethics and the Fair Campaign Practices Commission, is divided into three further subseries: Advisory Opinions, Legal Opinions, and Cases, each of which is filed alphabetically by the type of opinion being requested or the party accused of violating either the ethics code or election law. The Legal Opinions contain requests from Councilmembers and others regarding ethics codes. The Cases contain investigations of presumed violations. This subseries contains material for cases from 1971 to 1991.

The second subseries, the case files of the Ethics and Elections Commission, is filed according to case number. After the merger, a system was established to assign a unique number to each case received by the department. The first two numbers of each file represents the year in which it was created, so that the cases are arranged chronologically. Files without case numbers are filed at the end of the year in which they were created. In addition to the case number, each case is identified further by either the name of the party requesting information or an opinion, the party accused of a violation, or, in the case of anonymous complaints, the department accused and the type of violation. This subseries contains case files from 1991 to 2002.

Folder List
Finding Aid