Gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna (R) has his undies all atwist over gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee’s (D) plans to forward up to $1 million of congressional reelection surplus to his gubernatorial election war chest:
Republican candidate Rob McKenna’s campaign, responding to an inquiry from The Associated Press, characterized the money as simply “illegal.”
“He’s trying to claim that because it would be convenient for him to try to grab that money and evade Washington state law” McKenna campaign manager Randy Pepple said.
“Babbled” would have been a better last word for the sentence.
He added that the campaign or someone else would likely challenge any formal opinion that would allow the money transfers.
The PDC has reviewed the law and, in their opinion, finds such a transfer acceptable:
PDC staff believes Inslee’s interpretation is correct, and agency spokeswoman Lori Anderson said past candidates have taken similar steps.
“I don’t think that’s a fuzzy area,” Anderson said. “It’s spelled out well in our statutes and our rules.”
PDC officials pointed to a section of state law that allows candidate’s with dedicated surplus funds to roll them over to future elections for the same office without the money being subject to contribution limits. Because Inslee is running for a different office, officials also turned to a separate section of law that allows candidates who are running for a new office to get approval from donors to use past donations for a new campaign.
Those laws combined show Inslee’s interpretation is correct, Anderson said.
Three amusing observations:
First, the 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.
Second, the AP story points out:
After his 2008 campaign for attorney general, McKenna rolled an extra $40,000 over to the 2012 election cycle. Because that money was mingled with new cash, it is all subject to campaign contribution limits, according to the PDC.
Anderson said that McKenna could have placed that money into a dedicated “surplus” account and got the same benefits as Inslee.
In other words…McKenna’s campaign royally fucked up its own campaign cash roll-over. And now they presume to tell the PDC how the process is supposed to work for Inslee?!?
Third, as Jerry Cornfield points out, if the McKenna campaign sues the PDC over its interpretation of the law…
…[t]his could create an interesting situation down the road because McKenna’s office typically defends PDC interests in court.
That’s an amusing irony—kind of. And it reminds me of an episode from the chronicles of Horsesass involving McKenna’s predecessor.
Back in early 2003, when it became clear that Goldy’s Horses Ass Initiative, I-831 might conceivably make it to the ballot, then state Attorney General Christine Gregoire sued to keep it off the ballot.
Goldy lost the case. But just in case he won, and the initiative subsequently became law, Goldy was prepared to sue over the legality of the law. Doing so would have put Gregoire in the position of defending the new law.
Of course, McKenna has an easy out, by virtue of his own precedent: McKenna could simply refuse to provide the PDC with legal representation.