Update – April 3, 2015: While the tax status of Councilwoman Sawant’s Solidarity Fund remain dubious, the fact of the matter is she still accepts the full $117,000 paycheck from the taxpayers of Seattle. How she actually disburses the $117,000 is still the Councilwoman’s business.
While two icons of the American liberal movement have been caught having quite a double standard when it comes to cozying up to oppressive regimes that execute homosexuals, one of the few self-described Marxists ever elected to public office in the United States may have a bank account closer to John Lennon than that of Vladimir Lenin. As reported by the left-leaning The Guardian (of London, England) on April 1, 2015, Seattle City Councilwoman, Occupy Wall Street activist and so-called social justice campaigner Kshama Sawant has been hailing the Council’s recent vote to raise the minimum wage.
Running for office as a member of the Socialist Alternative Party, Sawant championed the raising of the minimum wage, and now within the confines of the Emerald City, the minimum wage for an employer with more than 500 employees rises from just over $9 to $11 per hour; for employers with 49 or less, it becomes $10 per hour. As reported, Sawant said of the vote, “This is a historic moment. This is truly a historic victory for the working class of Seattle, and nationwide, and internationally.”
However, despite the former software engineer and college professor touting herself as “a representative of the 99 percent” the Seattle-centric news portal Seattle Met noted that prior to the late 2013 local election it was made public that Sawant may not have been a member of the 1 percent richest in the nation, but she was far from living from payday to payday. According to a financial disclosure document filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission, Sawant’s husband (whom Sawant listed as a source of her income) pulls in a cool “$100,000 or more.”
Seattle Met also makes note of the $100K amount possibly being “a lowball number” due to $100,000 being the largest amount that’s possible to report on the disclosure. Also cited was Sawant disclosing a checking account and an insurance fund that are each worth somewhere between $40,000 and $99,999.
Shortly after being sworn into office on New Year’s Day, 2017, the Seattle Post Intelligencerreported that Sawant will accept only $40,000 (after taxes) of her $117,000 salary. The paper reported “She argued that ‘median wages’ for men in Seattle come to $60,000, with $51,000 for women, with ‘people of color’ earning only 45 percent of the median income ‘of white workers.'” She also stated “I will fight to close the gender pay gap and to overcome the structural racism in working and living conditions.”
In Sawant’s words, the $40,000 after taxes is “roughly the full-time take home pay of a Seattleite.” The Councilwoman has vowed to contribute the remaining $77,000 various charities.
Yet the average Seattleite, unlike the self-described Marxist and representative of the 99 percent, don’t have tax deductions anywhere near the $77,000 mark. Sawant did establish the Solidarity Fund which will ensure there’s plenty of cash available for “workers strike funds, and environmental, civil rights and women’s rights campaigns.”
Sawant makes a point of stating “I will give a full account of my income and how my Solidarity Fund is being used.” However, she failed to cite her salary from the taxpayers of Seattle was actually $117,000, but instead listed as “Estimated Annual Income (After Tax): $90,000”. She also didn’t note that she would only contribute to charity after taxes were deducted from her gross pay. With her self-adjustment of what she considers her total income, Sawant also didn’t mention the tens of thousands of dollars she was able to write off as a charitable tax deduction.