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Friday, October 31, 2008

The Latest from the 46th

posted by on October 31 at 16:53 PM

Gerry Pollet, one of two Democrats running for state legislature in North Seattle’s 46th District, may not be doing well in the polls, but he’s still fighting for the seat like they’re neck and neck. Earlier this week, Pollet sent out a gleeful email announcing that his opponent, Democrat Scott White, had been found to be in violation of King County ethics rules; in the email, Pollet said White’s actions were “morally wrong and illegal. To start with, White should apologize to the taxpayers. White’s repeated violation of our ethics laws reflects on whether he will violate the public trust again in the future by putting partisan politics ahead of the public interest.”

A King County ombudsman found that White had made 12 campaign-related entries in his county calendar, modified 11 campaign documents on his county computer, and sent a form attempting to withdraw from the race from a county fax machine (which White had already admitted doing). The ombudsman did not determine that White had committed any of the more serious violations Pollet had accused him of, including using county cars and cell phones for campaign purposes. In a statement quoted by PolitickerWA, White said that the campaign-related calendar entries ended up on his county computer when he synced that computer with his cell phone. “Clearly the accuser, clearly my opponent’s campaign, was trying to get me caught up in any type of violation so what this exonerated me of was doing any type of campaigning on county time,” White said.

Although the investigation is over, Pollet’s supporters are continuing to demand that the county take some kind of action against him. In a letter to King County prosecutor Dan Satterburg, Republican former state Rep. Toby Nixon (currently trying to win his old seat back) demanded that Satterburg “further investigate and take appropriate action to hold White responsible for the violations of the public trust and Ethics Code documented by the Ombudsman.” Nixon serves on the board of Heart of America Northwest, Pollet’s anti-nuclear Hanford watchdog group.

Pollet has also slammed White for taking money from the Building Industry Association of Washington-affiliated Affordable Housing Council of Washington. As I noted yesterday, White has received a total of $1,600 from the group.

Although Pollet has made a stink about the contributions White has received from corporations (including Kroger, McDonald’s, and the fireworks industry), he has a few questionable contributions of his own. Disclosure reports show that Pollet has received $2,400 from Pacific Ecosolutions, a nuclear-waste treatment company based near Hanford, and $1,600 from Babcock Services, a firm that provides support services to the nuclear industry. $1,600 is the legal limit on combined contributions during the primary and general elections.

RSS icon Comments



It's hard to time attack ads when people started voting two weeks ago, though.

Posted by Will in Seattle | October 31, 2008 5:15 PM

I fail to see how having campaign related entries on an electronic calendar are a violation of any ethics.

Any large organization has some sort of synchronized calendaring application even if most people don't use it.

There is only one me. I keep one calendar. I plug my phone into my work computer and my home computer, and they sync my calendars. If people want to know why I'm not in a meeting, they see my calendar, and "oh, he is at the dentist" or, "oh, his kid is out of school early." Similarly, my work calendar being synced to my personal calendar allows me to decline personal events if, as is all too common, I have to work late.

So Scott White has campaign events in his calendar. I expect that, and it is useful information to his coworkers.

And does anybody give a flying fig about sending a single fax, or opening documents? Kee-rist. Like no government employee has never read personal email at work.

I have two family members who work for state government and the stories they tell about trouble people get in for simple things like web browsing at work are way paranoid compared to private workplaces.

(this message posted from my workplace, omg.)

Posted by StC | October 31, 2008 6:50 PM

In the big leagues of elected officialdom - Congress, for instance - schedule coordination is explicitly exempted from ethics prohibitions on commingling ones political and official affairs.

Posted by RonK, Seattle | October 31, 2008 7:08 PM

I voted for Pollet, but I increasingly wish I hadn't. He's acted so immature and been so whiny and shrill that I'm really thinking he's acting terrible unprofessional, and isn't someone I want representing me. He's starting to remind me of Palin; I can see him trying to fire a state trooper or similarly vindictive thing.

Posted by recall | October 31, 2008 8:10 PM

Pollet claims that he is "clean" of any corporate contributions, but then it comes out at the last minute that his nominal campaign is actually financed by big nuke waste companies? What a fake! Pollet crusades as if he only takes grass roots donations, but he is in bed with the big nuke companies.
And now we learn that the PDC forced him to pay back his own non-profit organization Heart of America that he runs because he illegally funneled money to support his campaign. Isn't that money laundering? Can't Pollet go to jail for that?

Posted by contributions | November 1, 2008 9:07 AM

Pollet = petty

Posted by AlkiT | November 1, 2008 9:45 AM

@3: Ron is correct that if White were already an elected official, ethics laws would allow him to mark campaign events on his office schedule (but not to post significant amounts of information on said events, as Jean Godden found out in her last campaign). It's a minor ethics hit, even if that bloated Republican gasbag Toby Nixon thinks otherwise. White's still the only qualified candidate in this race and Pollet's still a nutcase.

Posted by J.R. | November 1, 2008 11:52 AM

Nice to see the Stranger taking a break from writing press releases for Darcy to writing press releases for Scott White.

Only your pretzel logic could turn a finding of misconduct against White into a hit against Pollet. Whew!

Posted by You are in the tank | November 1, 2008 3:17 PM

and Scott White lied

Not in that District but clean campaign money is one of my highest items

Sunshine, sunshine, let there be sunshine in campaign finance

Posted by Louis | November 1, 2008 5:31 PM

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