Seattle mayoral candidate Jenny Durkan is seeking to keep her home address out of public records, citing threats made against her in her former job as U.S. attorney.
Citing safety concerns, former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan is seeking to keep her home address out of public records as she runs for Seattle mayor.
Durkan has requested an exemption from listing her address on financial-disclosure statements candidates must submit when seeking public office.
The state Public Disclosure Commission has scheduled a vote on Durkan’s request for Thursday. Staff of the commission has recommended approval.
Like some judges and prosecutors, Durkan has been enrolled in the state’s Address Confidentiality Program, which protects criminal-justice employees who have received serious threats.
The program, which also is available to victims of crimes including domestic violence, allows participants to shield disclosure of their home address in public documents that normally list that information, including voter registrations, licensing and marriage records.
There are 4,461 people enrolled in the program, according to Erich Ebel, spokesman for the Washington Secretary of State’s Office. He said information on when Durkan entered the program is confidential, but eligible law-enforcement officials can retain its protections for life.
“Jenny’s a strong believer in transparency and is committed to running an open campaign, but there have been some very real security concerns about her personal security related to her work as U.S. attorney,” said Sandeep Kaushik, a consultant for the Durkan campaign.
Property records show Durkan and her partner, Dana Garvey, sold their 6,800-square-foot home in Seattle’s Windermere neighborhood, south of Magnuson Park, for $4.3 million on May 31.
They since have been renting in downtown Seattle at an undisclosed address.
Before being U.S. attorney, Durkan had lived in the Mount Baker neighborhood, Kaushik said.
Earlier this month, Durkan was granted a similar exemption from address disclosure by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC), which oversees city elections.
In a June 5 written request to the SEEC, Durkan pointed to “threats I received related to my job as US Attorney.” She wrote threats have continued since she left that position in 2014, including one specific threat “in recent weeks.”
“In addition to the specific threats, I did prosecute a number of organizations known for their dangerousness, including Mexican Cartels and Russian hackers/organized crime,” Durkan wrote.
Wayne Barnett, executive director of the SEEC, said no other mayoral candidates have sought similar exemptions. But he said Durkan’s argument about the potential dangers she faces “was enough for the commission.”
Durkan was nominated in 2009 as U.S. attorney for Western Washington by President Barack Obama. She left the job in 2014 and joined the law firm of Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan.
Threats against federal law-enforcement officials carry particular weight in Washington state after federal prosecutor Thomas Wales was shot to death in his home on Oct. 11, 2001, as he sat at a basement computer. The unsolved slaying remains under investigation.
Seattle mayors — even those not previously involved in law enforcement — also have faced safety concerns. In 2001, then-Mayor Paul Schell was hit in the face with a bullhorn at a community event in the Central District. Longtime local activist Omari Tahir-Garrett was convicted of the assault.
Still, previous mayors’ addresses have been a matter of public record. Mayors are protected by Seattle police-security details.