Luke Esser, double-dipper UPDATED

Noemie over at Washblog has more on Luke Esser and his two bosses. Goldy first wrote about this growing scandal here.

Noemie does a great job laying out the issue at hand:

The documentation … does not set this matter to rest, but instead demonstrates need for further investigation. Apparently, Mr. Esser failed to apply in advance for leave from his AGO position to conduct WA-GOP business on 1/29/07. His leave request for the hours he worked on that day is dated 2/16/07, the day I called to ask for the documentation.

Mr. McKenna, Washington’s top legal officer, and Mr. Esser, who represented that office to the public, hold a uniquely high level of responsibility to strictly follow state’s ethics laws — and to appear to the public to strictly follow these laws — both in their letter and their intent.

It may only be a perception of impropriety, but even that should be avoided — though of course, there is no perception of impropriety if the media refuses to inform the public about it. At the risk of pissing off my journalist friends, I’d just like to suggest that had this been a close aide to Gov. Gregoire, on the state payroll, elected party chair, and doing party work during official state business hours, the story might not be totally ignored. In fact, the self-righteous Seattle Times editorial pretty much writes itself.

I’m just sayin’.

[– Goldy]

David Postman of the Seattle Times followed up on Noemie’s post today, and reports that Esser filed his “leave slip” late. Noemie thanks Postman for his efforts, but points out that Esser didn’t bother to fill out a leave slip until after he was contacted by Noemie on Feb. 16. Huh. And yet…

So I called Esser and asked him if he took Monday off, and he said no, but that he did take off some “personal hours” that day to conduct party business. Hmm. I have no reason to doubt Esser, and assume that if somebody were to request documentation there must be some kind of time card or something… dated prior to our 11AM, 2/1/2007 conversation.

In fact, Esser didn’t bother to fill out his leave slip until two weeks later, when Noemie finally requested official documentation. I wonder, if not for Noemie’s inquiry, whether Esser would have put in a leave slip at all?

Postman also reports that Esser was never on the WSRP payroll while still employed by the AG’s office, so we can’t really accuse him of double dipping. But I don’t really think that’s the main point. The fact is, the chair of a state party should never have been on the state payroll for even a moment. Esser should have resigned immediately. Surely, the AG’s office could have functioned without its “Outreach Director” — I mean, it’s not like Esser was a real attorney or anything.

Still, thanks Dave, for following up.

[– Goldy]


  1. 1

    Thomas Trainwinder spews:

    All politicians are the same.

    Do whatever, say whatever to further one’s political ambitions.

    Republicans and Democrats alike are guilty of this.

  2. 2

    Delbert spews:

    Give it a break. You really don’t want a minute by minute accounting for any elected offficial’s time, Democrat or Republican. It would be too depressing.

    Esser is leaving the AG’s office. End of story.

  3. 3


    For chrissakes; if the tables were turned, the GOP would be shrieking ‘sewer of corruption’ faster than you can say ‘Voter Fraud.’

    You know it; I know it; Esser knows it.

  4. 4

    RightEqualsStupid spews:

    Fox Nothing Channel would be spinning up million-dollar graphics and running a 24-7 screen crawl about this if it were a Dem. Don’t you love how the Publicans are always scream WASTE FRAUD ABUSE and then don’t seem to mind one bit when it’s a PUBLICAN doing the fraud?

  5. 5

    Blockhead spews:

    That’s the new Republican mantra: “They all do it!”

    Is this more anecdotal evidence of yours, TT? Or is it based on something more substantial?

    You don’t even back up your stuff with anecdotes like: “Oh, Sure! We’ve caught hundreds of crooked Republicans with their hands in the till, but what about that Dem. Congressman Jefferson? They all do it!”

  6. 6

    Blockhead spews:

    It’s a Republican sewer of corruption! We need a Federal Investigation NOW!

    I’ve heard enough! Bring in the Feds.

  7. 7


    Ok, this seems to settle the question as to exactly when Mr. Esser left the AG’s office, and whether or not he was still on the state payroll while he was doing WA GOP business.

    It also appears that the “leave request” for time off to do WA GOP business was dated after he left the AG’s office.

    Mr. Esser got his hand caught in the cookie jar here, and Mr. McKenna’s hand is right in there with his. (Wow, that’s a really ugly mental picture.)

    Unfortunately, with Mr. McKenna controlling the AG’s office, and our new sock puppet US Attorney apparently being selected primarily for political reliability, we seem to have a dilemma. To this admittedly partisan old real estate guy, this appears to be a pretty clear violation of state law.

    So, I’ll ask the question I asked earlier. Can the Governor appoint an outside investigator to look into this?

    Maybe Mr. McKay is available. Is he still looking for work?

  8. 9

    rhp6033 spews:

    Word: hypocrite
    Main Entry: hyp·o·crite
    Pronunciation: ‘hi-p&-“krit
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English ypocrite, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin hypocrita, from Greek hypokritEs actor, hypocrite, from hypokrinesthai
    1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion

    2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
    3 : see also: Republican

    Source: (with updated modern usage added).

  9. 10

    rhp6033 spews:

    Hey, Richard Pope, does the State of Washington have a whistleblower statute like the Federal Claims Act, so that anyone who reports abuse can get a monetary reward?

    Maybe Goldy can use this as a new method for financing his blogging activities?

    (Gee, considering the state of Republican corruptions, we all might be able to live off the proceeds of what they collect after the Democrats take control of all branches of government in 2008.)

  10. 11

    Libertarian spews:

    Thomas Trainwinder @ 1:

    I agree with your comments: they’re all corrupt.


    There is a lot of criticism of Fox News. Any of you watch it? Have you formed your own opinion?

  11. 12

    rhp6033 spews:

    “Breaking News: Washington D.C., January 2009:

    The nation’s capital announces a stage 1 smog alert, as smoke continues to waft over the city and its outlying suburbs. Investigation has revealed its source an numerous federal office buildings, where fires have mysteriously broken out in multiple file storage rooms, while smoke alarms were also by coincidence “out of service” for testing and repair. Particularly hard hit were the fires at the Pentagon, the NSA, and the General Services Administration. Sources at the GSA say the procurement files appear to be a “total loss”, and will have to be re-constructed “from memory”. Officials also blamed the fire on the “electrical spike” which destroyed the hard drives and databases of the computer networks in each of those offices.

    Officials had no explanation for how nearly identical fires could break out nearly simultaniously in different buildings spread over a wide area of the metropolis.

    In related news, officials hoped that the smoke would not interefere with the inaugural events as President-Elect Hillary Clinton and Vice-President Elect Obama are sworn into office today.”

  12. 13

    Milo spews:


    “There is a lot of criticism of Fox News. Any of you watch it?”

    Only when I want to update my Republican talking points.

  13. 14


    Libertarian asked:

    “There is a lot of criticism of Fox News. Any of you watch it? Have you formed your own opinion?”

    Yes, as I prefer not to blindly follow anyone, and to at least make an attempt to get all sides of any story before making an opinion.

    I readily admit that I have not watched Fox News recently. While it is possible that they have dramatically changed their presentation and outlook, my earlier experiences with them have convinced me that their definition of “fair” has little to do with truly unbiased reporting, and “balanced” seems to mean being balanced between the various far-right wings of the Republican party.

    It is with what I consider to be good reason that I tend to use the term “Faux News” when speaking or writing of that organization. Not that they don’t get anything right. They are reasonably reliable on anything that is completely non-political.

    But if they can find a Republican slant on the time of day, they will present it as the whole story.

  14. 15


    Libertarian says:

    Thomas Trainwinder @ 1:

    I agree with your comments: they’re all corrupt.


    There is a lot of criticism of Fox News. Any of you watch it? Have you formed your own opinion?


    I watch Faux News Distortion Channel all the time. I saw Hannity a while ago claiming we “found WMD’s in Iraq” on his show. I figured he should tell the president. Mr. Bush said we hadn’t. Hannity is a lying sack of slime.

    The difference between Republicons, and Democrats is the fact that Republicons do not mind being lied to repeatedly….. They have one of their operatives spew some lie out of their pie hole, and then their 2,500 interconnected media outlets, reading the GOP talking points memo all repeat it in unison. When they are caught lying, they are never made to pay for it. The retarded traitors that believe these outright lies should not be allowed to vote. They are far too stupid to be trusted with the task of choosing our nations leaders.

    The whole ideology of today’s Republicon party is one big fat pathetic lie. The problem they are having is the fact that Americans are starting to understand how much damage the Republicons are doing to our country, and are getting pissed. Unnecessary wars, and endless war profiteering, and pouring debt onto our children while alienating our allies, and destroying our military.

    Now Bush obviously wants to bomb Iran. You remember Iran, the country that helped us take out the Taliban, and asked for better relations in 2003, to be flatly denied by Cheney.

    Bush knows he is heading to prison, and wants to screw up the world as much as possible before the day they come for him….

    American’s enemy is the GOP, not the Iranians.

  15. 16

    Libertarian spews:

    It seems to me that the other source of news are extremely biased towards the left while Fox is biased towards the right. What I’d like you folks to admit is the bias in all the other media sources – The NY Time, CNN, MSNBC, The Washignto Post – I mean, c’mon!

    If Thomas Trainwinder @ 1 can say all poiticians are corrupt, I can say all news meida is baised. There is one cable news network on the right and a whole lot more on the left. If you can’t see that, you’re either not very intelligent or afraid of admitting to a little ugly truth.

    How about we actually have a news media that has NO agenda? One that just reports the news and doesn’t give their opinions? Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

  16. 19

    rhp6033 spews:

    I stumbled upon a short portion of Fox News a couple of weeks or so ago. I listened long enough (about two minutes) to hear the person interviewing Tony Snow make a political statement in the form of a quesiont. The next day I posted it here. As best I can remember it now, it went something as follows:

    Interviewer: Now, isn’t it true that the Democratic resistance to the surge plan only emboldens the terrorists, and makes America less safe to terrorist attack?

    Snow: “Why yes, that’s exactly what it does”.

    (Fair and Balanced Journalism??????????)

    Most sympathetic journalists would merely open the door, and let the person being interviewed make the statement. Fox News apparantly doesn’t want to take the chance that they might not recognize the open door when they see it, or that they might flub up the talking points. So they give the statement in the form of a question, the person being interviewed need only agree.

    Fox News is the privatly-financed PR division of the right wing of the Republican Party. (I guess that is unduly repititious, in that the right wing is all that’s left of the Republican Party).

  17. 20

    rhp6033 spews:

    “Fox News is the privately-financed PR division of the right wing of the Republican Party. (I guess that is unduly repititious, in that the right wing is all that’s left of the Republican Party).”

    Gee, that got me to thinking.

    It is illegal for a corporation to make a donation to an election campaign, and contributions to political parties, politicians, etc. are not tax-deductable.

    But what if one were to set up a cable “news network”, and use it for political purposes (24 hour propoganda which supports exclusively one political party), which is supported by advertising paid by corporations who get to deduct the payments from their income tax (hey, its a business expense, right?) Can it be that Fox News is not merely a right-wing leaning organization, but is instead a conspiracy to violate federal election laws?

  18. 21

    Libertarian spews:

    Milo says:


    None of the above org.s you mention go to the lengths of Fox to mask opinion for news.

    That’s because the other “news” outlets have had such a long period of zero competition. I used to watch CBS News and NBC News until I realized all they were doing was reading a bit of news and then giving opinions as to how the rest of America should think and act.

    Guys like Brokaw and Rather actually think they are celebrities. They think they are above everyone else, and that their views and opinions are the same as if God himself (herself) said it. All these guys and gals are is readers of the news. Anyone who gives any credence to their personal opinions would do better by going to the local tavern and discussing politics with those holding the barstools to the floor.

    But buy a round of beers first!

  19. 22


    “It seems to me that the other source of news are extremely biased towards the left while Fox is biased towards the right. What I’d like you folks to admit is the bias in all the other media sources – The NY Time, CNN, MSNBC, The Washignto Post – I mean, c’mon!”

    Considering that many liberals see many of these news outlets as being biased to the right, you are making an assumption not based in evidence.

    I will go so far as to say that many of the major news stories we’ve seen over the last few years tend to be critical of Republicans.

    They’ve been the folks in power, making the decisions. Additionally, reporters tend to get annoyed when they are lied to and used to put forward blatantly false information in order to get public support for a war.

    Certainly they fell all over each other to support the Bush administration in its march to war, and were very supportive during the first year of that war. It was only after having their noses rubbed in the fact that they were used that they started getting really sceptical with regards to the administration.

    I’ve seen CNN called the “Clinton News Network”. What we tend to forget is that at least part of the reason for that nickname is that during his presidency, especially during the last couple of years, their news coverage seemed to be “all Clinton, all the time”, and most of the other news outlets seemed to be following their lead.

    I took to reading the “Straights Times” online from Singapore in order to get any news that didn’t include the name “Lewinsky” somewhere in the story. (I learned to like that paper when I was in Singapore during the OJ trial. That trial hardly made the back page.)

    The Washington Post hosts George Will, hardly a liberal icon. MSNBC hosts Mr. Scarborough, and while many neo-cons revile him as a traitor to their cause, he’s pretty conservative.

    I expect news outlets to critically examine whatever they are given by any politician, be they on the right or the left. CNN and the Washington Post usually do a decent job of that.

    Faux News, NewsMax and their like do not. They seem to start with their desired position, then slant the story to match. This is why I do not use them as reliable sources of news.

  20. 24


    Thanks for posting/linking on this, Will.

    These two men, McKenna and Esser, are poised to be the new, moderate & trustworthy face of the Republican Party in WA. And Goldy says McKenna has presidential ambitions…

    If the Republican Party is to be reformed, this is not the way — making fools of the public, treating the public trust like their personal domain.

    Today’s stories on the $millions going to Bush and Guiliani from the Vulture Funds capitalists… an extreme and sickening version of the same syndrome – ruthless disregard of the welfare of the people in their trust.

  21. 25

    rhp6033 spews:

    24: Don’t forget today’s story in the Times about Nethercut and the close ties he has with a local industry, a lobbying group, and his former seat on the appropriations committee.


    Nothing illegal has been alleged, but that’s kind of the point. It is entirely possible (and legal) to do a circuit between private employment as a board member, being a member of a lobbying group with the company as a major client, to exercising enfluence to get that company government military contracts (over the objections of the defense department), and back to being a board/member and lobbyist when you lose an election – as long as nobody has a wire recording where the company and the Congressman directly ask for or receive a quid-pro-quo. A wink and a nod works just fine.

  22. 26

    Mike spews:

    Here’s another example of the “liberal media:” all the attention given to Michael Mixon, the terrorist who gave money to the GOP. Well, actually, it hasn’t really been reported anywhere, I guess. has it here:

    Interestingly, the fair and balanced Fox News covers the story, but must have accidentally left out that he was a GOP donor:,00.html

    I’m sure it was just an oversight.

  23. 27

    Libertarian spews:

    “Considering that many liberals see many of these news outlets as being biased to the right, you are making an assumption not based in evidence.” – John Barelli


    Read any of Bernard Goldberg’s books.

  24. 28

    Libertarian spews:

    Anyone who uses any broadcast or cable tv news for their main source of news is deluded.

    Anybody who uses blogs to get his or her news is deluded.

  25. 29

    rhp6033 spews:

    Mike at 26:

    Gee, the lead paragraphs for that story are:

    “WASHINGTON – A New York man accused of trying to help terrorists in Afghanistan has donated some $15,000 to the House Republicans’ campaign committee over three years.

    Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari pleaded not guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan to charges that include terrorism financing, material support of terrorism and money laundering.”

    Okay, I’m not going to make a big thing about being a GOP donar, because that could happen to either party. Neither party has that much control over who gives them checks, and they don’t vet every donar before accepting a contribution. Next week we could find that the same guy sent checks to the Democrats as well.

    But I couldn’t help but chuckle, as the lead paragraphs COULD be read to imply that giving money to the GOP WAS “engaging in terrorism financing, material support of terrorism and money laundering.”

  26. 30

    Mike spews:

    I wonder if Fox News would have reported on it if he had given money to the Democrats? What do you think?

  27. 31

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    Maybe Mr. McKay is available. Is he still looking for work?

    Or maybe they can call Fitz in…he is wrapping up the Libby trial this week, though maybe we should wait to hear if his Grand Jury is going to hand down any more indictments (Cheney, Rove, and Armitage all seem like they’ve got it coming).

  28. 32

    Facts Support My Positions spews:

    rhp, how many articles of the constitution has Bush violated? 5, 6….. more…..

    Lawyer = no
    speedy trial = no
    warrantless search = no

    not to mention right to not be tortured…..

    Supporting the GOP = treason. Plain and simple.

    Did you know there are 52 actual criminal investigations going on of atrocities by Bush? All you hear of is the Libby trial.

  29. 33


    Libertarian said:

    “Considering that many liberals see many of these news outlets as being biased to the right, you are making an assumption not based in evidence.” – John Barelli


    Read any of Bernard Goldberg’s books.

    Mr. Goldberg has some interesting things to say, but is hardly free from bias himself.

    Some of his “proof” relates to his treatment after his rather famous op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, but I would put forward the idea that if either you or I wrote a nationally published opinion that claimed that most of the people we knew were violating the basic tenants of their professions, we might find ourselves a bit lonely too.

    While claiming to be a “liberal” (a term that at least some folks here do not think applies to me) Mr. Goldberg has found some interesting new friends. He is a regular contributor to Faux News, and in an interview with Right Wing News, claimed that they were relatively unbiased.

    You may read the entire article at:

    Some other interesting quotes from Mr. Goldberg:

    I admire Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly a lot because I think they’re standup guys

    By the way, that was a long overdue suggestion” – in response to Alan Colmes comment regarding Vice President Cheney telling Senator Leahy to “go fuck yourself” on the Senate floor.

    I read Slander, I laughed through every page, and I had a good time reading it. She’s funny.

    In regards to liberal bias in many news organizations, there is a very good piece that even agrees that there is some bias, but doesn’t have the axes to grind, nor is the author making a career out of finding liberal media “bias”.