Goldy joins in PDC complaint

To Vicki Rippie – Executive Director
Phil Stutzman – Director of Compliance
Washington State Public Disclosure Commission

Sept. 14, 2006

Dear Ms. Rippie,

I am writing to request that you add my name to the complaint filed on Sept. 13, 2006 by Steve Zemke of Majority Rules, alleging that Americans Tired of Lawsuit Abuse is hiding the source of its funding in violation of PDC rules and Washington state statute.

Now that record amounts are being spent on judicial races — an astounding $1.7 million on behalf of challenger John Groen, weeks before the primary — it is more important than ever that voters be promptly and accurately informed of which special interests and individuals are providing the money. Anything less would make your Commission’s mandate virtually meaningless.

Thank you for your time,

David Goldstein

I sent this email this morning, and I encourage you all to copy my letter, modify it as you wish, and email it to Ms. Rippie.

That said, I’m rather discouraged that we can do anything to block far right-wing interests from completely taking over our courts over the next few years. We simply don’t have the financial resources to compete with moneyed interests who have so much to gain by buying Supreme Court justices. And pretty soon these right wing justices will have a firm enough majority to block any legislative reform that might limit the cash flow.

Once they have the Supreme Court, they will start focusing their efforts on Superior Court races. You think I’m being paranoid? Well, this is exactly what has already happened in a number of states around the nation, where the US Chamber of Commerce alone has spent $250 million on local races.

The Alexander-Groen race is the most important contest in Tuesday’s election; since there are only two candidates, there will be no general. I know I should have more faith in voters, but I simply can’t see how Alexander can survive the overwhelming tide of negative ads that have painted this Dan Evans Republican as a radical, senile baby killer.

And I find it ironic that there are those in the media who continue to express outrage at what they see as irresponsible muckraking on the part of bloggers like me, yet shrug off $1.3 million $1.7 million of vicious lies by powerful and wealthy business groups as nothing more than politics as usual. Fuck that.

UPDATE:
A combined $1.7 million has now been spent on behalf of Groen. I’ve updated this post accordingly.

Comments

  1. 1

    Daddy Love spews:

    ASS @ 16

    Arguing against what people don’t say looks much easier than arguing against what they do say. I might try it.

  2. 2

    howcanyoubePROUDtobeanASS spews:

    You forgot: WE BELIEVE Walmart is EVIL and murdering terrorists are just misunderstood.

  3. 4

    Jim King spews:

    Good for you, John, but then you initiate a second complaint based on the same set of facts. This isn’t a petition process.

    Kyle Olive has filed a very well laid out, researched, and exemplary complaint that covers all of the problems in the five independent expenditure efforts targetting Alexander and Chambers. The PDC staff is already busy investigating. So why bother with the ill-researched, just get my name out there Zemke effort?

    Sixty-three pages of complaint and supporting documents.

  4. 5

    Poster Child spews:

    in fact there are some pretty heavy hitters on that list in ethical practice of law game, including the president-elect of the American Bar Association.

    Injun Joe is a lying muck-raking poser – probably a carpet bagger too!

  5. 6

    wayne spews:

    Here is a little info about Burrage.

    Even Richard Sanders, the BIAW, and other conservative groups have endorsed Tom Chambers because Burrage is flat out incompetent. Here is a good one for you, from a 1998 Court of Appeals decision. In the early 1990’s, a friend of Burrage’s came to her and asked her to prepare a new will for the friend’s husband’s stepmother. The prior will had left him one dollar, in favor of other relatives. Burrage wrote up the new will as directed by her friend, making the husband the primary beneficiary. Burrage then took the will to the convalescent home where the stepmother resided and got her to sign it. She did not discuss the contents of the new will with the stepmother before drafting the will, she did not talk to the stepmother’s doctors and she did not get a medical evaluation. Guess what? The stepmother had Alzheimer’s, also known as senile dementia. Burrage was sanctioned as a result of her marvelous legal work. Either she knew her friend was pulling a fast one or she was too thick to notice, either unethical or stupid. Do you really want someone like that on the Washington Supreme Court?

    Throw in the fact that in a 1999 KCBA survey of attorneys, Burrage was easily the lowest rated superior court judge, with 54% of attorneys rating her unsatisfactory or less than satisfactory in decision making and overall performance. The next lowest judge was around 45% and no other judge reached 40%. These ratings were restricted to attorneys appearing before the judges rated. Given that in most cases there is a winner and a loser, it takes some doing to make both attorneys think you are incompetent.

    A few additional points – Burrage was rejected by attorneys more than any other judge while she was on the bench. She also had a significantly higher than average reversal rate on appeal.

  6. 7

    EvergreenRailfan spews:

    One interesting thing about judicial vacancies, the Governor might appoint, but the voters get the final say at the next election. Most Supreme COurt positions are 6 year terms, but sometimes you will see on the ballot “un-expired 2 year term”.

  7. 8

    SteveZemke MajorityRulesBlog spews:

    It’s now $1.7 million that has been spent by Groen and his supporters.

    The website http://www.VotingforJudges.org is the best place to go to get updated for the most current contributions, news and ratings.

    They report $1.5 million but do not include the expenditures by Walking for Washington. Walking for Washington now has spent$400,000. Since they have been supporting both BIAW candidates Groen and Johnson, I’ve added $200,000 to the figure for Groen.

    BUT the most telling figure is that the BIAW has now spent almost $1 million in this race. See http://www.MajorityRules.org/blog for latest analysis.

    Thanks for people adding their name to the complaint filed with the PDC. And please urge others to also do so and remind them that to stop the BIAW’s onslaught, people need to vote for Gerry Alexander, Tom Chambers and Susan Owens on Tuesday. Wouldn’t it be great if Groen and Steve Johnson and Burrage all lost on Tuesday?

  8. 9

    Daddy Love spews:

    Joe

    I cant [sic] believe Justice Alexander took $101,400 dollars from the TULALIP TRIBES!!!!

    If true, what is wrong with that? Is it a legal contribution? If so, what’s wrong with it?

  9. 11

    LauraBushKilledAGuy spews:

    No need for the commission to recognize the bloggers – but the public pressure point is valid. And if inbred log cabin republicans like Jim Queen think we’re doing a bad thing then it must be a good thing.

  10. 12

    John Barelli spews:

    Commentby Jim King— 9/14/06@ 12:46 pm

    “And by the way- you can’t just add your name to a PDC complaint- you need to fill out certain paperwork, certifying under penalty of perjury that the facts you are setting forward as the basis of the complaint are true and correct. Did any of you do that? Did Zemke or Goldy bother to tell you that you have to do so? Did you do so, Goldy? Did you, Zemke?

    Very good point. When I sent my e-mail, I requested that any forms or requirements that needed to be completed be forwarded to my home, with directions for their completion.

    Needless to say, I did voice my support for the complaint in my e-mail.

  11. 13

    Jim King spews:

    @37 Typical stooppid lefty- go ahead, vote for Groen and do all you can to help him because a bunch of Republicans- CONSERVATIVE Republicans- support Alexander. Reminds me of the recent poll that showed liberal Democrat women as being most likely to support Burrage.

    You do NOT want to vote for Alexander, because Slade Gorton is supporting him. In fact, Alexander has a three-plus decades long friendship with Gorton.

    Why the Democrats are having trouble moving toward a majority in Congress? No matter how badly the Republicans screw up, the voters look at the Democrats and decide the frying pan is better than the fire.

    And your stoopid posts just help prove your types aren’t yet ready for primetime.

  12. 14

    Jim King spews:

    And by the way- you can’t just add your name to a PDC complaint- you need to fill out certain paperwork, certifying under penalty of perjury that the facts you are setting forward as the basis of the complaint are true and correct. Did any of you do that? Did Zemke or Goldy bother to tell you that you have to do so? Did you do so, Goldy? Did you, Zemke?

  13. 15

    Daddy Love spews:

    Jim King

    The Tulalip Tribe is a major contributor to the independent expenditure effort in favor of Alexander- they gave $100,000 to that effort.

    Umm, so what? Is this illegal? Do you just dislike Native Americans? Why should we care at all about this?

    They only gave $1,400 directly to Alexander’s campaign.

    Not according to http://www.votingforjudges.org/sup/fin-ga.html

  14. 16

    Juris spews:

    I don’t care if it’s a democrat or a republican in the gov’s office, I want supremem court posistions taken out of the fucking voter’s hands. It’s absurd and indefensible that we allow the ‘impartial’ wing of our government to be chosen through elections, and it was inevitable that they wound up becoming a tool of some interest group or another.

    I plan on law school in my future, but if we don’t change this bullshit, I’m not going to practice in Washington. I’d hate having to move out of my home state because of some antiquated notion of populism that was dumb half a century ago, let alone now.

  15. 17

    Jim King spews:

    Goldy- why do you expect the mainstream media to get too worked up over these independent expenditures- in whose pocket does the money eventually end up?

    And are all of you as outraged over big, sources-hidden money being poured into the 35th Legislative District?

    Finally- before buying into Steve Zemke’s PDC complaint, do a little research- which Steve didn’t bother to do. Most of the members of the Washington State Liability Reform Coalition are supporters of Justice Alexander- including the Association of Washington Business. To suggest that the WA LRC is acting against the position of most of its members- or is in anyway involved- is ludicrous.

    Go to war with the BIAW if you wish, but get your facts straight first. In addition to most of the business community supporting Alexander, most are supporting Chambers, too. Even the BIAW supports Chambers. The only race where most of the business community supports a challenger is Steve Johnson’s race- and business is joined by such Democrats as Lt Governor Brad Owen and State Auditor Brian Sonntag in that challenge.

  16. 18

    DT spews:

    I understand your concern, Goldy, but I still have a lot of faith in the voters of Washington to see through all that crap.

  17. 19

    JDB spews:

    Proud Leftist:

    It is also a question of judicial temperment. If you go in front of Alexander, you will get a fair hearing on the merits of your case. Chambers is a bit plaintiffs oriented, but he knows what he is doing.

    The people who support Groen do so because they know he will not be fair. They want to put a judge on the bench that they know ahead of time how he will vote.

  18. 20

    Jim King spews:

    The Tulalip Tribe is a major contributor to the independent expenditure effort in favor of Alexander- they gave $100,000 to that effort. They only gave $1,400 directly to Alexander’s campaign.

  19. 21

    proud leftist spews:

    JDB
    On the subject of temperament, Burrage is known for incidents like screaming at an attorney who called her “ma’am”, outside of her courtroom, no less. Her self-image does not coincide with how any objective person perceives her. She’s not smart, but she blends that attribute with being ill-tempered, arrogant, and impatient. My younger brother was in her law school class–he was far more distinguished than her in school, but wouldn’t begin to think he should be running for Supreme Court Justice.

  20. 22

    Jim King spews:

    John- Kyle filed his complaint on Tuesday. Yesterday the PDC acknowledged its receipt, the seriousness of the allegations, and said they would be expediting its investigation.

    From this morning’s Olympian- “We’re going to investigate the complaint,” PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson said in an e-mail Wednesday. “We won’t be finished with the investigation before the primary election, but we are expediting the investigation because of the seriousness of the allegations.”

    All this before Zemke tried to horn in on the glory…

    Full story at http://159.54.227.3/apps/pbcs....../609140356

    Quite frankly- the Governor appoints the PDC Commissioners, and they are subject to State Senate confirmation. There is already substantial public and political interest in getting these issues addressed by the PDC, and I am certain that PDC staff is in overdrive on this.

    So why burden them with more distractions from the central investigation? Why have them sending out formal acknowledgements to a bunch of bloggers instead of working on the Olive complaint? The PDC is NOT heavily staffed, which is one reason complaints usually take forever to be addressed (the other reason is that most complaints are just so darn PETTY that they are an embarrassment)- and burdening the investigators with responding to the piling on takes them away from the investigation.

  21. 23

    JDB spews:

    What is amazing is the hyperbole and falsehoods that the BIAW and its lackeys are using to attack Justice Alexander. Here is a very gifted man who has dedicated his life to public service, has been well recognized for being fair and impartial, and is very well respected by everyone, and yet according to the BIAW, in between helping child molesters and personally freeing murders, he somehow finds the time to be the most incompetent judge ever.

    There are three telling things from the smear campaign that the BIAW is orchestrating with its lackeys like U(sp):

    1) They have no argument in favor of their bought and paid for candidates;

    2) They are sure that Dino Rossi has no chance of being elected in ’08;

    3) The building industry is not being taxed enough if they have this much money to waste on a smear campaign.

    Stand up to those who want only the justice that money can buy. Vote for Justice Alexander and Justice Owens.

  22. 24

    howcanyoubePROUDtobeaKennedyandanASS spews:

    Have you heard that old fart?
    Of course he needs to be replaced.

    And THAT of course is what worries you. You WANT the illegitimate queen to be able to replace him rather htan have the VOTERS replace him.

    Imagine that.
    Partisanship in Judicial politics.

  23. 25

    Daddy Love spews:

    Democrats need to plainly tell the truth about what we believe:

    We believe that the Geneva Convention works. We do not believe in torture.

    We believe in accountability and the rule of law. We do not believe in secret prisons or warrantless wiretaps, outside the scrutiny of the courts.

    We believe that our morality is not dependent upon the morality of others. We do not believe in giving up our moral stature in times of war.

    We believe that no one is above the law – not the president, not the CIA, not the Justice Department, not the Congress, not the courts, not corporations, not unions, not lobbyists.

    We believe that no one is beneath the law – not the poor, not the non-English speakers, not the immigrant (legal or not), not the ill, not the outcasts of our society.

    We believe that the military and the officers of the intelligence communuity are safer with the Geneva Conventions in place. We do not believe in cutting and running from the protections of Geneva.

    We believe in three branches of government that hold each other accountable as they do the people’s business.

    We do not believe in King George. Not in 1776, and not in 2006.

  24. 26

    John Barelli spews:

    Commentby Jim King— 9/14/06@ 2:33 pm

    Good for you, John, but then you initiate a second complaint based on the same set of facts. This isn’t a petition process.

    Kyle Olive has filed a very well laid out, researched, and exemplary complaint that covers all of the problems in the five independent expenditure efforts targetting Alexander and Chambers. The PDC staff is already busy investigating. So why bother with the ill-researched, just get my name out there Zemke effort?

    Sixty-three pages of complaint and supporting documents.

    Even better information, thanks. Still, while this sort of complaint is not a petition, public pressure does get things moving faster in almost any political situation.

    I’ll go further to say that a single, well-researched and valid complaint should be sufficient, but the reality is that a bunch of e-mails and letters in support will probably encourage faster action. Bureaucrats being what they are, it would be very tempting to put this decision off until sometime around March.

    Hopefully, I will get some sort of reply, and will read over what I get and take action accordingly.

  25. 27

    Daddy Love spews:

    ASS @ 2

    Yep. I heard him on the radio this morning. Gerry Alexander is intelligent, funny, thoughtful, experienced, and is rated “exceptionally Well Qualified” (an “A” grade, if you will) by the KCBA, while Groen, who refused to respond to their questionnaire, is rated “Qualified” (a “C” grade).

  26. 28

    howcanyoubePROUDtobeaKennedyandanASS spews:

    Personally, I can’t wait till GW gets pick #3 … and maybe #4 if Ruthie doen’t get her narcolepsy under control.

  27. 29

    JDB spews:

    The good news Goldy, I know of no one that isn’t on the BIAW payroll or a total kook that supports the BIAW candidates for the Supreme Court. However, in a primary election, anything is possible. This is why everyone needs to vote in the primary and prevent one interest group from buying the Court.

  28. 31

    changingamerica spews:

    RE: 2.

    howcanyoubePROUDtobeaKennedyandanASS—,
    You’re an ass. You’d flourish under the dicatorships of any dictator. Glad you enjoy the hell you’re creating.

  29. 32

    howcanyoubePROUDtobeaKennedyandanASS spews:

    done.

    Thanks for the Thursday morning action item. -Commentby changingamerica— 9/14/06@ 10:00 am

    Thanks for the proof… get the talking points, be told what to do and be a good little liberal.. “ya vohl mein commandant!”

    What flavor is your koolaid?

  30. 33

    changingamerica spews:

    howcanyoubePROUDtobeaKennedyandanASS,

    hahahahaha!
    You’re not real. You’re like a comical representation of everything I hear about, right? Really?

    Sorry, I’m too busy laughing at your post. It’s too funny.

  31. 36

    proud leftist spews:

    Goldy,
    Excellent post and suggestion. Groen is running a campaign that indicates he could give a rat’s ass about the code of judicial ethics. No one supporting him explains what his qualifications are for a most important position. He has neither the background nor the temperament to sit on the Supreme Court. The judicial candidates who refuse to participate in bar evaluations, as Groen and Burrage refuse to do, do so because they know they do not impress their peers with their qualifications. They routinely claim they will not participate because of some alleged liberal bias in the evaluation process, but such allegation is bullshit. Conservative candidates who are well-qualified (like Gerry Alexander) receive the highest ratings. By the way, one other Supreme Court race will be decided in the primary–that of Tom Chambers and Burrage. Chambers, before moving to the bench, was one of the most respected litigators in the state. Burrage barely made it through law school, has had a most undistinguished legal career, was a disaster as a Superior Court judge, and pursues the Supreme Court position only because of her far right political agenda. Only self-delusion could permit her to think she belongs on our state’s highest court.

  32. 37

    Richard Pope spews:

    The way our financial disclosure laws are written, you can create a dummy PAC to run an “independent expenditure” campaign, and have it funded 100% by another dummy PAC. State law requires that the five largest contributions to the first dummy PAC be disclosed. If you have just one “contributor”, this saves a lot of time on broadcast commercials. And both dummy PAC’s can have nice sounding names.

    Liberals seem to be pulling this stunt just as much as conservatives are these days.

  33. 38

    proud leftist spews:

    28
    I’m not aware of any respected attorney or judge who supports either Groen or Burrage. And, within the legal profession, the support for both Alexander and Chambers is bipartisan. It’s a simple question of competency.