No doubt about it. Former Washington Supreme Court Justices Robert F. Utter and Faith Ireland have certainly shaken up Washington State politics with their newly filed lawsuit against Gubernatorial candidate, Dino Rossi.
In the suit, Utter and Ireland accuse Rossi of coordinating fundraising activities with the builders to build a $3.5 million dollar war chest for the 2008 elections before he became a candidate for Governor. (According to the AP, both Utter and Ireland are supporters of Governor Gregoire).
In response to the suit, Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton drafted a letter stating that King County Superior court does not have legal jurisdiction in a case charging that Dino Rossi improperly helped the BIAW raise campaign money.
According to Dalton, "to the extent there are new claims in their citizen action letter, the law requires notice and opportunity for the state to investigate before a citizen action suit can be filed."
Here's Knoll Lowney's response to state attorney general opinion.
Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna filed two lawsuits against the builders after the Public Disclosure Commission conducted an investigation into allegations that the Builders had not reported ROII funds that were deposited into the account for Change PAC.
Here's an excerpt from the AGs press release: "In the Master Builders’ case, the office agreed with the PDC’s recommendation that “evidence of the investigation supports the allegation the MBA-K&S’ “Just 10%” program failed to register and report contributions and expenditures required under state law and committed multiple apparent violations” of the states’ campaign finance disclosure law. The court assigned the MBA K&S case to Judge Gary Tabor and scheduled a status conference for Dec. 19, 2008.
In the BIAW-MSC case, the office also agreed with the commission’s recommendation that “evidence of the investigation supports “the allegation that BIAW-MSC committed multiple apparent violations” of the law “by failing to register as a political action committee and report contributions it solicited, received and retained from its local associations in 2007, and by failing to reports expenditures to ChangePAC in 2008 with the contributions received.” The court assigned the MBA K&S case to Judge Christine Pomeroy and scheduled a status conference for Dec. 19, 2008. Attorney General’s Office files two suits against builders groups for alleged campaign violations
John Landenburg, McKenna's opponent, along with Utter and Ireland's attorney, insist that McKenna recuse himself from the case, based on the allegation that he is biased because he received funds from the BIAW in past campaigns.
Apparently, even Landenburg plans to use Utter and Ireland's suit to launch himself into public office. (Might as well get the maximum bang for the $ being spent on this very professional campaign tactic).
McKenna's opponent is right about one thing, "no one is going to believe that this is not political."
For a detailed update from the Attorney General's Office, click here: http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/seattlepolitics/archives/151140.asp
Link to Smith and Lowney's entire overview of the BIAW case can be found here: http://www.smithandlowney.com/guide-UtterBIAW.html
Link to AP article can be found here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/northwest/story/591509.html