It is time for Republican attorney-general candidate Rob McKenna to tell his party to stop its dirty tricks.
A group of well-connected GOP operatives have launched an unprecedented smear campaign against Democratic favorite Deborah Senn in the final days before the primary. While their $1.2 million budget dwarfs that of the candidates, they have refused to meet a Public Disclosure Commission deadline to reveal their financial backers.
McKenna’s campaign vociferously denies any involvement, but nobody has more to gain from knocking the frontrunner out of the race. A two-time insurance commissioner, Senn is the only AG candidate with statewide name recognition, a huge advantage in what is normally a low-profile race.
If McKenna truly has nothing to hide, then his should be the loudest voice demanding full accountability, because absent evidence to the contrary, the faint money trail is starting to point in his direction.
The state Republican Party has its fingerprints all over the Voters Education Committee (VEC), the organization sponsoring the ads, with a party lawyer, a party officer, and a Republican consultant all at the helm. In fact, the VEC is clearly a creation of the pro-business, GOP-backed United for Washington (UfW).
The VEC was incorporated by UfW chairman William Conner, who has donated $44,000 to Republican campaigns in 2004. Its “Director” is UfW Executive Director Bruce Boram, a longtime Republican consultant. And its IRS forms were filed by UfW Associate Director, Valerie Huntsberry, who also serves as Secretary of the King County Republican Party, and an Executive Board member of the WA State GOP.
While it’s no surprise that Republican operatives and moneymen would do what they can to elect a Republican candidate, the UfW is clearly backing McKenna in more than just spirit. Of the twenty-one directors listed on the UfW website, at least eighteen have contributed money to McKenna, either directly or through their respective company or organization.
Rob McKenna may have had nothing to do with the VEC attack ads, but his backers certainly have.
If McKenna wants to prove he has the character to serve as our state’s top attorney, he needs to demand that his UfW sponsors pull the ads and fully comply with the state’s public disclosure laws.