As expected, Dino Rossi is asking King County Superior Court to kill the subpoena that would force him to testify in the lawsuit filed by Faith Ireland and Rob Utter, two former State Supreme Court Justices whose complaint states that Rossi worked with the BIAW to raise money for their independent pro-Rossi effort. (It’s against state ethics rules for candidates to work in concert with independent groups whose fundraising limits far exceed those of the candidates.)
The BIAW’s independent effort to raise money for Rossi is itself being challenged by the Attorney General’s office because the Public Disclosure Commission ruled earlier that the BIAW did not disclose its fundraising activity to the public—a major violation. But that’s—literally—another story.
The case that Rossi worked with the BIAW to raise money for Rossi’s gubernatorial run is laid out in the complaint , but perhaps the most compelling charge in Ireland and Utter’s case has not been picked up on in press accounts. Press accounts have focused solely on May 2007 minutes from a Master Builders Association meeting which report that Rossi called senior members of the Master Builders Association—a BIAW affiliate that was being targeted by the BIAW to raise money for the BIAW’s Rossi campaign—to ask if the MBA would contribute.
In the press accounts, Rossi disputes that the calls were direct fundraising asks.
However, the complaint adds this point: After the phone calls, Rossi followed up by taking two of the MBA officers he’d already called, plus the MBA’s executive director, out lunch. “At that lunch,” the complaint says, “Dino Rossi discussed the pending solicitation for the BIAW’s Rossi PAC.”
The press has not asked Rossi why he took the MBA members out to lunch. If Rossi has to comply with the subpoena, perhaps Knoll Lowney, Ireland and Utter’s lawyer, will get to.