Let me be the first to call for Attorney General Rob McKenna’s resignation. Or at the very least, a very public mea culpa.
Yesterday in the Tacoma News Tribune, Ken Vogel reported on McKenna’s outspoken support for the Building Industry Association of Washington’s (BIAW) efforts to unseat Gov. Christine Gregoire: “Attorney general lauds GOP ally for collecting evidence.” The BIAW gathered much of the “evidence” used by Republicans in their election contest lawsuit, and financed the bulk of Rossi’s unprecedented and dishonest PR campaign to convince the public that this was a stolen election, regardless of the facts. That McKenna would sympathize with these efforts is no surprise, but that he would be so blatant in his public praise for the BIAW at the same time his office is charged with defending the secretary of state — the primary defendant in the suit — is at the very least unethical… if not a total disgrace.
“He’s supporting the entity that’s suing him and it is totally inappropriate for someone who is defending the secretary of state’s office,” said State Democratic Party Chairman Paul Berendt.
McKenna gave the keynote speech at a BIAW meeting, and he was unequivocal in his praise for both the organization, and it’s prominent and controversial role in the election contest. How blatant were his comments? Well, the BIAW, in their typical arrogant fashion, quotes a few of them for us in its March newsletter.
Attorney General Rob McKenna was the keynote speaker at the BIAW General Membership Luncheon at the Board of Directors meeting in Olympia. McKenna praised BIAW’s efforts in electing pro-business candidates in the November election, as well as for the association’s ongoing efforts to aid Dino Rossi’s legal challenge by finding illegal felon votes. McKenna noted BIAW made the most efficient and effective use of its campaign resources, using creative and high impact ideas to achieve the “biggest bang for a buck.” “BIAW is powerful, principled and effective — three important attributes,” said McKenna. “BIAW isn’t intimidated. BIAW doesn’t wilt under pressure,” he said. “That’s why the left fears BIAW. If every organization was as principled, it would be a far better state.” McKenna concluded his speech by thanking BIAW for its fearless and courageous leadership, and encouraged the association to keep up the battle.
Creative ideas? Oh… you mean like mailing out a fraudulent survey to hundreds of Seattle residents in an effort to trick them into giving up their signatures. High impact efforts? I suppose that might be the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on direct mail, billboards, radio, and print advertising proclaiming “Felons vote, Soldiers don’t,” when in fact all the evidence shows that military ballots were mailed on time, and returned in similar percentages as regular absentee ballots. Pro-business candidates? Yup, that would be candidates like McKenna, on whom the BIAW spent millions of dollars in “independent expenditures” electing.
But regardless of how much McKenna owes his victory to the BIAW and its vicious, partisan hackery, as our state’s elected Attorney General, he steps far outside accepted notions of propriety in lauding and encouraging their role in suing his client. Given
ass-licking statements like this, how can we expect McKenna’s office to impartially defend the state from lawsuits he clearly wants the state to lose? In closely following the court proceedings I have been taken aback when the secretary of state’s attorneys frequently side with the Republicans suing them. While the state’s attorneys have generally presented well reasoned arguments, being reasonable is not their job; our legal system is adversarial, and their job is to defend the secretary of state as vigorously as possible… as vigorously as the Republicans are pursuing their case.
McKenna does not have the luxury of picking and choosing cases to defend… he must defend the state from all lawsuits, and to the best of his office’s ability. When Christine Gregoire was attorney general, her office vigorously defended Tim Eyman’s stupid initiatives, as she was required by law. Hell… she even sued me to prevent me from putting my “horse’s ass” initiative on the ballot. That’s the type of impartial, nonpartisan execution of the office we’ve come to expect from our attorney general. And that’s the type of ethical and moral compass Rob McKenna clearly lacks.
When our state’s top law enforcement officer chooses to exercise his power for partisan political gain, all our citizens are at risk.