McKenna doubles down on his funding fuck-up/PDC dispute with new whopper

Earlier this week I offered Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna some solid advice:

[T]he sitting state Attorney General should NOT have his campaign stooges give uninformed legal babble opinion—it reflects badly on the legal prowess of the Attorney General.

But now, McKenna is doubling down on this sort of idiocy…by mailing out a fundraising letter built around a whopper of a lie, built on their fringe legal theory.

Publicola reports on McKenna’s letter that starts out:

The leading Democratic contender, Congressman Jay Inslee, has a war chest of over $1,000,000 in his re-election campaign for Congress. This week the media is reporting that he intends to illegally transfer that money to his state campaign for governor.

By “the media”, the McKenna campaign means this AP piece that was carried by numerous media sources.

A plain reading of the AP piece yields these facts (reordered):

  1. McKenna had $40,000 left over from his 2008 campaign
  2. McKenna didn’t segregate the money into a surplus account; rather, he rolled over those funds to his 2012 campaign
  3. The rolled-over funds commingled with new money and, therefore, are subject to campaign contribution limits
  4. Inslee has $1.2 million surplus from past campaigns squired away in a separate account.
  5. Inslee asked the PDC for permission to use the surplus, with donor consent, for his gubernatorial bid.
  6. About $1 million of Inslee’s money never commingled with new money so it would not be subject to campaign contribution limits
  7. The McKenna campaign characterized Inslee’s money as “illegal,” and claimed that Inslee was circumventing Washington state law
  8. The PDC disagrees with McKenna’s intrepertation; they agree that Inslee can, with donor consent, use about $1 million for his gubernatorial campaign without contribution limit issues
  9. The only challenge to the PDC’s interpretation of the law in the article comes from McKenna

This last point is important. It means McKenna’s fundraising letter is premised on a lie. It says:

This week the media is reporting that [Inslee] intends to illegally transfer that money to his state campaign for governor,

Not true. The media does not suggest the proposed transfer would be illegal. Here is what an honest McKenna could say:

This week the media is reporting that [Inslee] intends to transfer that money to his state campaign for governor. The PDC says this is legal. We disagree.

That would be an honest summary of the situation.

Instead this whole episode leaves us with a troubling picture of McKenna:

  • He (or his campaign) fucked-up their own cash roll-over, apparently through ignorance of the state’s campaign laws
  • He espouses a fringe legal theory about campaign cash roll-over, one that is contradicted by the PDC
  • He is willing to blatantly lie to his potential donors

The episode not only throws into doubt if he has the integrity to be Governor, it throws into doubt his competence as our state’s top lawyer.


  1. 1

    Deathfrogg spews:

    Why are you surprised by this? McKenna is a Koch Brothers stooge. He wants to be the next Scott Walker.

    He’ll kowtow to the fascists just like Walker does, and grovel to the Texas Fascist money machines.

  2. 2

    Michael spews:

    McKenna doesn’t want to be the governor, he wants to be a dictator and it sounds like he thinks he deserves it without having to earn it.

    What a fuckwit.

  3. 3

    rhp6033 spews:

    What’s particularly irritating is the arrogance in which he dismisses anyone who questions his half-baked interpretations. He seems to believe that he is twice as smart as anyone in the room, and anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t worthy of his attention.

  4. 4

    Michael spews:

    Dear lord, the race hasn’t even started and McKenna’s already done. WA voters don’t respond well to extreme hubris.

  5. 7

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Republican Debt Crisis No. 2011-006702-6

    “A Tea Party Congressman from Chicago’s northwest suburbs, who says he ‘won’t place one more dollar of debt upon the backs of my kids’ owes those same children and his ex-wife more than $100,000, according to documents filed in his divorce case in December.”

    Roger Rabbit Commentary: Washington has its share of deadbeat dads, too. McKenna would be more useful if he spent less time cooking up campaign lies and more time collecting child support for Washington’s kids.

  6. 8

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    “he’ll get his freakin’ throat slit….”

    Probably not the best simile, I wish you had expressed the underlying idea in a different way, but you’re right that Reichert is no match for Cantwell … hell, in a debate with a 30-inch tall rabbit, he’d get his freakin’ ankles kicked!

  7. 10

    proud leftist spews:

    McKenna is a fuck-up in his current job, so he believes he should be promoted. That is a pretty typical Republican approach to the workplace.

  8. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Rachel Beckwith raised only $220 toward her $300 charity goal before she was tragically killed in a traffic accident. But as of this evening, donations to her goal stand at $592,671 and, with money coming in at a rate of $100,000 a day, should reach $1 million before the government goes broke next Tuesday. I wonder how much Rob McKenna contributed toward the realization of Rachel’s dream of bringing safe drinking water to poor people in foreign countries? And I wonder if that slug Stefan posted a link to Rachel’s webpage on his pathetic little blog? HA did.

  9. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    I hope Stefan donates $9 of the $225,000 he got from King County taxpayers by suing KCRE under the PRA to little Rachel’s fund. That would be a nice gesture on his part.

  10. 13

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Even if he doesn’t share the loot with the generous donors who donated to his legal action fund, he she at least give $9 to little Rachel’s safe drinking water fund. I’ll bet even Jesse James would give Rachel 9 bucks, if he were still alive today.

  11. 14

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    And Rob can afford to give 9 bucks of that 40 grand to little Rachel … I mean, c’mon Rob, what’s nine little dollars?

  12. 15


    I need to thank McKenna: I enjoyed the brief honeymoon period his issues-based campaigning before he was forced to go negative.

    I’m guessing his campaign’s early polling didn’t go so well.

  13. 16

    Richard Pope spews:

    Guess Rob McKenna may have been right about his interpretation of the law after all:

    “Washington’s elections watchdog altered its interpretation of state law Friday, placing strict limits on how Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee will be able to use $1 million stashed in a federal campaign account.

    The commission initially had advised Inslee that he could roll forward some $1 million leftover from previous campaigns without the money being subject to contribution limits.

    But Public Disclosure Commission Executive Director Doug Ellis said the staff wrongly considered Inslee’s federal campaign to be similar to a state one.”

    In any event, Jay Inslee is still more fiscally responsible, since he had money left over from his previous campaigns, while McKenna did not.

  14. 17

    Richard Pope spews:

    Not only that, but McKenna can “double down” on this, and send out another fundraising letter saying how the PDC found that Inslee broke the law in a major seven figure kind of law. Another political exaggeration, of course, but count on see this soon in a McKenna fundraising letter.