Tag Archives: Rob McKenna

Washington State Democrats Join Call for McKenna and Republicans to Cease Collecting Ballots

In the press release below and in an official letter below that from Legal Counsel for the Washington State Democratic Party to Secretary of State Sam Reed, Democrats now at both the King County and State level urge that Reed tell the Republican Party and Rob McKenna to cease using paid canvassers to collect filled out ballots from voters. Such a process breaks the historic chain of custody that has existed in the election  process for years, where once the ballot is filled out, it is protected from possible outside tampering and possession. The current Republican canvassing and partisan ballot collecting breaks the official chain of custody from voter to mail box, or drop box or election official, inserting in a step where a paid partisan canvasser has possession of a signed and filled out official ballot. See our previous post on this entitled “Republican Ballot Collection in King County Threatens Integrity of Election“.
Washington State Democrats Press Release:
For immediate Release
November 3, 2012
Contact: Benton Strong
Washington State Democrats Chair Pelz Calls on Secretary of State Sam Reed to Denounce GOP Ballot Collection Tactics

Seattle — Today, the Washington State Democrats called on Secretary of State Sam Reed to denounce the recently announced practice by the King County Republican Party of sending Republican operatives to collect ballots. The Washington State Republican Party and the campaign of Rob McKenna have recently been recruiting unknown paid canvassers to go door-to-door collecting ballots, leaving their delivery in the hands of partisan political operatives.
Reed, who recently gave $50,000 to the WSRP, should encourage the Republican party to direct voters to return their ballots through official means, either by mail, at a drop box, or at a mobile drop box. As Secretary of State, Reed is responsible for ensuring the independence and integrity of our elections, and this tactic by Republicans threatens that.
“This looks like a campaign that doesn’t know how to run a get out the vote program and is panicking,” said Washington State Democrats Chair Dwight Pelz. “Voters in King County have many ways in which to return their ballots, including by mail, in a drop box, or in a mobile drop box. Republicans should be encouraging people to return their ballot through official means, as we and the County have done, but instead they are creating a situation fraught with the opportunity of voter fraud.”
“We’ve learned a lot about Rob McKenna’s ethics this week — from taxpayer-funded trips to Disneyland, to going door-to-door taking people’s ballots away from them. This isn’t how we conduct fair elections; Rob McKenna’s campaign should cease this practice immediately.”
The full text of the letter is below:


November 2, 2012

By Email and U.S. Mail

Hon. Sam Reed
Secretary of State

416 Sid Snyder Ave. S.W.
Legislative Building
Olympia, WA

Dear Secretary Reed:

I represent the Washington State Democratic Party.  It has come to our attention that the King County Republican Party is informing voters that they can and should drop off voted ballots not at county election offices or U.S. mailboxes, but instead a temporary pick up locations staffed by Republican party operatives.  Worse, these actions are being taken in direct contravention of guidance from the King County Elections Department.  http://www.kingcounty.gov/elections.aspx.

This initiative is as ill-considered as it is unprecedented.  There is a reason why nonpartisan election officials conduct our elections and the prospect of having partisan operatives collect voted ballots and return them to the elections office is chilling indeed.  It is especially concerning in light of press reports from around the country about deliberate efforts by Republican Party officials to disenfranchise Democratic voters by collecting and then destroying their voter registration applications.  See, e.g., http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57535950/man-charged-after-tossing-voter-registration-forms-in-virginia/.

Worse, state law makes it a felony for a person to either directly or indirectly offer “anything of value” to a voter in exchange for a vote.  RCW 29A.84.620.  The collection and delivery of ballots at the expense of the Republican Party seems a plain and clear violation of that statute.

As Washington’s chief elections officer, I ask that you defend our tradition of nonpartisan election administration and call upon the King County Republican Party to immediately cease and desist from this, frankly, badly misguided effort and consider appropriate legal action if that becomes necessary.

Very truly yours,

Kevin J. Hamilton


cc:  Katie Blinn, Co-Director of Elections

Koch Brothers Enter Washington State Governor’s Race

The infamous Koch Brothers have entered the 2012 Washington State Governor’s race.  Surprise – they are supporting Republican Rob McKenna. McKenna is running against former Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee.

On Thursday, October 18, 2012, Americans for Prosperity, based in Arlington filed a C6 with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission that they were spending $27, 985 on a radio ad supporting Rob McKenna.

Americans for Prosperity  was founded by the oilmen Koch Brothers –  David H. Koch and Charles G. Koch, both of Koch Industries.

Wikipedia notes that:

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is an American conservative political advocacy group headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. AFP’s stated mission is “educating citizens about economic policy and mobilizing citizens as advocates in the public policy process.” The group played a major role in the Republicans’ 2010 takeover of the House of Representatives, and has been called “one of the most powerful conservative organizations in electoral politics.”

Sourcewatch writes that:

Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is a group fronting special interests started by oil billionaire David Koch and Richard Fink (a member of the board of directors of Koch Industries). AFP has been accused of funding astroturf operations but also has been fueling the “Tea Party” efforts.  AFP’s messages are in sync with those of other groups funded by the Koch Family Foundations and the Koch’s other special interest groups that work against progressive or Democratic initiatives and protections for workers and the environment. Accordingly, AFP opposes labor unions, health care reform, stimulus spending, and cap-and-trade legislation, which is aimed at making industries pay for the air pollution that they create. AFP was also involved in the attacks on Obama’s “green jobs” czar, Van Jones, and has crusaded against international climate talks.

So far the spending by Americans for Prosperity is small potatoes in this state but this could quickly change. Kirby Wilbur, the Washington State  Republican Party Chair, was the state coordinator for Americans for Prosperity in 2010 and they successfully dumped money into last minute mailers against Democratic legislators who did not have sufficient time to respond to the last minute mailers. They are spending lots of money nationally and are doing it without disclosing their donors. This needs to change in disclosure laws.

As the Guardian in a just released articles states:

Americans for Prosperity, the Tea Party-aligned group part-funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, is building a state-of-the-art digital ground operation in Ohio and other vital battleground states to spread its anti-Obama message to voters who could decide the outcome of the presidential election.

The group hopes that by creating a local army of activists equipped with sophisticated online micro-targeting tools it will increase its impact on moderate voters, nudging them towards a staunchly conservative position opposed to President Obama’s economic and healthcare policies. Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is spending tens of millions of dollars developing its local strategy, already employing more than 200 permanent staff in 32 states. …

AFP has already spent $30m so far this election cycle in opposing President Obama and other prominent Democratic candidates and their policies. It says it aims to reach up to 9 million targeted voters in crucial swing states, through the efforts of its 2 million activists.


Who’s Raising Money in Washington’s Statewide Races this Year

The Washington State Governor’s race is far and away attrracting the most money this year, followed by the race for Washington State Atttorney General. Through May 2012 Jay Inslee (D) and Rob McKenna (R) have each raised over $6 million dollars.  The next campaign finance report through June 0f 2012 will be released July 10th. Full reports and contributor’s names are available on the Washington State  Public Disclosure website.

here are the most recent reported numbers:

Name                                       Raised                                  Spent                             Owed


Jay Inslee (D)                         $6,195,567                           $2,604,808                $131,065

Rob McKenna  (R)                $6,333,189                           $2,601,872                  $58.028

Lieutenant Governor

William Finkbinder (R)          $103,327                                 $39,869

Brad Owens (D)                        $134,017                                  $78,134

Attorney General

Reagan Dunn (R)                    $878,303                               $358,223                    $1,756

Robert Ferguson (D)               $852,147                                $303,231                 $46,074


Troy Kelley (D)                       $107,584                                  $12,956                   $10,254

Mark Milosca (D)                     $61,287                                  $29,471

Craig Pridemore (D)               $115,190                                  $43,167                    $5,500

James Watkins  (R)                 $45,515                                   $11,23o                  $20,000

Public Lands Commissioner

Clint Didier  (R)                         $4150                                       $1659                      $1656

Peter Goldmark  (D)            $289,626                                  $98,268

Insurance Comissioner

Mike Kreidler (D)                  $87,000                                   $29,665

Martin Reilly (R)                      $9,937                                    $7400

Secretary of State

Kathleen Drew                     $101,598                                       $75,429                   $3800

James Kastama (D)              $52,524                                        $37,215

Gregory Nickels (D)            $105,661                                       $57,667                 $10,700

Kimberly Wyman (R)         $102,443                                       $41,105                   $1,103

Superintendent of Public Instruction

Randy Dorn (N)                    $99,522                                      $60,532


James McIntire (D)             $83,642                                        $35,671                    $8,584

no opponent




Who’s Raising Money for the 2008 Washington State Races?

Some candidates are getting an early start on raising money for the 2008 statewide races. Financial reports filed for the 2008 statewide races show the Governor’s race getting the most attention.

As of the latest reports filed with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission for the period though Nov 30, 2007, Democratic Governor Chris Gregoire, has raised over $4,156,386, spent $1,368,739 and has $2,678,454 in cash on hand.

Republican Dino Rossi, who lost to Gregoire in 2004, is re-running and has raised $1,435,355, spent $525,748 and has $909,607 on hand.

Lt Governor Brad Owen, a Democrat reported raising $16,635, spending $6917 and having $9717 on hand. No Republican has filed yet with the PDC.

Attorney General Rob McKenna, a Republican has raised $635,617, spent $267,364 and has $368,252 in cash on hand. Although Pierce Count Executive John Ladenburg has been rumored to be considering a run for this seat, he has not filed with the Public Disclosure Commission.

Secretary of State Sam Reed, a Republican, has raised $230,899, spent $62,023 and has $168,875 on hand. He has no announced opponents at this time.

The current State Treasurer Mike Murphy, a Democrat, is retiring. Democratic State Legislator Jim McIntire is running for this seat. He has raised $33,945, spent $13,899 and has $20,046 on hand. Allan Martin is the Republican candidate. He has raised $21,530, spent $1786 and has $19,744 in cash on hand.

Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland, a Republican has raised $157,459, spent $15,370 and has $142,088 in cash on hand. Former Democratic Congressional candidate Peter Goldmark from eastern Washington is challenging Sutherland for this seat. Goldmark has raised $59,969, spent $29,197 and has $30,371 in cash on hand.

State Auditor Brian Sonntag, a Demcrat, has no opponent at this time. He has raised $27,432, spent $4054 and has $23,398 on hand.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, a Democrat, has raised some $38,686, spent $12,046 and has $26,640 on hand.

Superintendent of Public Instruction, Terry Bergeson has raised $27,051, spent $1980, and has $25,071 on hand.

If only one name is mentioned in a race, it means no one else has filed with the PDC at this time.

None of these figures include money raised for independent expenditures in these races. In 2004, eg, the Building Industry Association of Washington, through its affiliated PAC called It’s Time for A Change, made $1,053,251 in independent expenditures -most of it to support Republican Rob McKenna in his race for Attorney General. In addition $1.5 million came from out of state from the US Chamber of Commerce opposing Debra Senn in the primary.

Senn received $1,080,028 in contributions for her whole campaign. This approximately matched the $1,211,814 McKenna received directly to his campaign. The $ 2.5 million in independent expenditures supporting McKenna was more than both candidates raised together.

McKenna personally thanked the BIAW for their support on election night saying if it wasn’t for the BIAW he wouldn’t have been elected.

Rob McKenna and Washington State Missing in Action on Latest Climate Change Victory

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco last week slapped slapped George Bush’s hand again. They rejected his wimpy do almost nothing fuel efficiency standards for light trucks and SUV’s. See New York Times article. Bush’s proposal was to increase the average fuel efficiency for light trucks from 22.5 mpg to 23.5 mpg by 2010. The standard for cars is 27.5 mpg.

The Court ruled that the Transportation Department did not take into account the economic costs of not reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Washington State was not a party to the suit although it certainly had a chance to join. Washington State’s Attorney General Rob McKenna chose not to participate.

Eleven states , 2 cities and 4 environmental organizations had filed the original suit. Washington State was absent from the list of states that were part of the suit. California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico, Oregon and Minnesota and New York City and the District of Columbia were parties to the suit.

Washington state’s absence from this suit is not surprising. Rob McKenna is a Republican. George Bush is a Republican. McKenna‘s loyalties are first to his party, not our state. In fact all of the states that joined the lawsuit had Democratic Attorney Generals. No Republican Attorney General saw fit to join the lawsuit to try to curb global warming.

Rob McKenna will of course protest, saying wait a minute, Washington state was a party to another significant Supreme Court decision in April 2007 that said the EPA had the authority to regulate greenhouse gases. In fact he even put out a press release after it was decided praising the decision. The truth, however, is that McKenna did not originate that suit. It was Washington’s current Governor, Christine Gregoire, when she was Washington State’s Attorney General, who joined the lawsuit when it was filed in 2003.

I have previously written about McKenna‘s lack of enthusiasm for bucking his fellow Republican George Bush by his lack of tackling the global warming issue. I wrote the Attorney General asking why he was not involved in the lawsuit last year and urged that Washington state join the lawsuit. I think the year and a half that has passed since then has significantly shown the importance of our needing to act to curb global warming and the need for significant and meaningful action like drastically increasing fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

You can read my press release here – Press Release – “Attorney General Rob McKenna Should Join Federal Lawsuit on Vehicle Fuel Efficiency Standards

see also:
MajorityRulesBlog Missing in Action – Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna
MajorityRulesBlogUpdate on Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna Asleep at the Wheel
MajorityRulesBlog 2nd Update – Still Waiting to Hear from Attorney General Rob McKenna
MajorityRules Blog 3rd Update –Washington State Attorney General McKenna Should Join Car Fuel Efficiency Lawsuit

Here is the response from McKenna‘s office and my comments – “Washington State Attorney General’s Office Responds to Not Joining Other State’s on Fuel Efficiency Lawsuit”

Rob McKenna missed his chance to be part of the solution rather than stick his head in the sand. McKenna is running again for Attorney General of Washington. Inaction on critical issues when the opportunity arises like it did for McKenna to join the Federal lawsuit and represent Washington state’s interests are legitimate issues that one can use to evaluate and judge whether a public official is representing the voters interests or not.

Global warming is a significant issue affecting the future of our state. The public has a right to question the inaction of public officials in addressing this problem. On this one McKenna came up missing in action.

McKenna’s Legal Opinion on Ballot Petitions Aids and Abets This Year’s Right Wing Initiative Campaigns

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna has written a nonsensical legal opinion on ESHB 1222 that will help right wing initiatives this year. ESHB 1222, “to increase the accountability of ballot measure petitions”, was passed last year by the Washington State Legislature to require that petition gatherers sign a declaration on the back of each petition signifying they got the signatures. The reason was to reduce fraud.

McKenna‘s opinion is that the bill does not really require an initiative signature gatherer to sign each petition, even though that is what the bill says. McKenna‘s opinion, unless challenged, will allow this year’s crop of mostly right wing initiatives to avoid the consequences of having any petitions rejected that do not have signed declarations.

McKenna‘s opinion was in response a request for an opinion by Republican Representative Toby Nixon at the time it was revealed that Tim Eyman‘s first printing of I-917 contained a declaration by the petitioner that could be easily overlooked and not signed. At the time we commented that the petitions would need to be carefully checked to ensure that the petitioners actually signed the sheets.

McKenna‘s opinion is a tortured exercise in how to help your friends like Tim Eyman (Initiative 917 to cut transportation funding), Denis Falk and Martin Selig (Initiative 920 to repeal the estate tax that goes to education funding in this state) and the Farm Bureau and Colorado based Americans for Limited Government (Initiative 933 to overturn neighborhood zoning and growth management).

It would not surprise me if McKenna ran his opinion by his in house BIAW lawyer he hired and also the lawyer who wrote the biased ballot title for Initiative 933. They may be the same person. Why do I say that? I can only speculate, but McKenna‘s opinion is that Engrossed House Bill 1222, passed by last year’s Washington State Legislature, really doesn’t mean anything. And I find that hard to believe.

Mc Kenna has gone out of his way, to circumvent the will of the Legislature, to try to prevent this bill from being implemented as written. One has to wonder if Eyman messed up so bad that the only way not to invalidate hundreds of petitions was to try to bypass this law. Or maybe its just that McKenna‘s heart is not in really protecting the initiative process from fraud but is instead in protecting the right wing petition factory industry.

As passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Gregoire, ESHB 1222 specifically says that

The following declaration must be printed on the reverse side of the petition:
I, . . . . . . . . . . . ., swear or affirm under penalty of law that I circulated this sheet of the foregoing petition, and that, to the best of my knowledge, every person who signed this sheet of the foregoing petition knowingly and without any compensation or promise of compensation willingly signed his or her true name and that the information provided therewith is true and correct. I further acknowledge that under chapter 29A.84 RCW, forgery of signatures on this petition constitutes a class C felony, and that offering any
consideration or gratuity to any person to induce them to sign a petition is a gross misdemeanor, such violations being punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.

That seems pretty straight forward and Secretary of State Sam Reed thought so also. He posted on his website the required language and said it would make the law meaningless to require the provisions of the new law and then accept petitions with unsigned declarations

In his booklet , Filing Initiatives and Referenda in Washington State, he said

On the reverse side of every petition page, must be the declaration by the signature gatherer as required by RCW 29A.72.110, RCW29A.72.120 or RCW 29A.72.130. This act takes effect January 1, 2006 and requires the following declaration:

I,_______________________, swear or affirm under penalty of law that I circulated this sheet of the foregoing petition, …”

Reed has a line instead of dots so it is much more obvious that there is a place for someone to sign, and also says”declaration by the signature gatherer…” How can there be a declaration if one doesn’t sign?

But believe it or not McKenna somehow spends 12 pages arguing that no signature is required. McKenna says that he looked at the legislative record to reach his conclusion but he did so selectively. He tries by length to argue his position. But in this case length does not denote legal brilliance but rather tortured twisted reasoning. For example he ignores the statements posted on the Washington State Legislature’s bill history page for ESHB 1222 that seem to tell a different story about the intent of the bill.

For example, the bill digest says:

Requires that the following declaration must be printed on the reverse side of the petition:
I, . . . . . . . . . . . ., swear or affirm under penalty of law that I circulated this sheet of the foregoing petition, …”

Was I being confused by what these words meant? I decided to look up what the legal definition of “declaration” was. Here is the definition from law.co:

declaration – “a written statement made “under penalty of perjury” and signed by the declarant, which is the modern substitute for the more cumbersome affidavit, which requires swearing to its truth before a notary public.”

I think it is key that it says a declaration is signed. McKenna says the “2005 amendments do not include a place to sign. Nor do the 2005 amendments contain any language expressly requiring that the declaration be signed …”

Really. It certainly looks and reads like one is expected to sign. That is what a declaration is. And that is how the Secretary of State interpreted it also.What is not clear? Is McKenna mimicking Bush’s signing statements where Bush says he does not intend to comply with selected bills as written by Congress? Is McKenna doing the same with this legislation?

McKenna says that the amendments do not specify “the consequences of failure to fill out and sign the declaration” That I can’t understand at all because failure to sign means the petitions are not as required by the new law. Without a signature by the petitioner, they would not have a declaration. They thus would be rejected. This is how Sam Reed read it and I think his logic is clear.

McKenna argues that because previous bills in prior sessions contained versions of signed and notarized declarations, then the Legislature choosing a non-notarized procedure meant their desire was to have a statement on the petition that was not meant to be signed. Come again?

As the law.com definition noted, notarized statements are cumbersome and an added burden and the written signed declaration was the “modern substitute for the more cumbersome affidavit” according to law.com.

McKenna also argues that since two sponsors of the bill made contradictory statements on the House floor that they canceled each other out. Maybe it just that the prime sponsor understood the legal aspects of the bill and Rep Nixon did not.

Rep McDermott is quoted on the House floor as saying, “…the Senate has amended this bill to require that the person gathering the signatures actually has to sign the back of the petition…”.

Meanwhile Rep Nixon did not seem to be clear on what the bill did and thought that “It also does not invalidate the petitions forms if the signature is not provided by the circulator” So McKenna, seemingly because of erroneous statements by Rep Nixon as to what the bill did, uses those erroneous statements to say no signature is required?

It seems to me that the words speak for themselves.” I, ____________, swear or affirm under penalty of law that I circulated this sheet of the foregoing petition,…” What is not clear about these words?

Ironically, McKenna at the end of his discussion mentions a Colorado law, upheld in the Federal Courts, which threw out petitions because a signed affidavit by petitioners did not include the required language. McKenna agrees on this point and says the Secretary of State can reject petitions if they do not have the required language, but it is OK if they are not signed. I do not understand this reasoning and feel that if this issue goes to Court that McKenna‘s opinion will be voided. His line of reasoning is flawed when one reads the actual wording and reads what is posted on the Legislative website about this bill.