Washington Republicans in Legal Quagmire

October 6, 2008

The plot thickens. Last week I discussed the Public Disclosure Commission’s decision that the Washington State Republican Party was illegally financing attack ads against Christine Gregoire. The P.I. last week reported that there was evidence that Dino Rossi was complicit in this endeavor. The finding about the Republican Party was handed by the Public Disclosure Commission to the Republican State Attorney General for enforcement procedures. At the end of the week nothing had been done, at least as far a I could tell.

I also reported earlier last month that the Attorney General had refused requests that he recuse himself, and had filed a lawsuit against B.I.A.W., the notorious Republican attack machine, for violating campaign financing laws. I provided a copy of the Attorney General’s complaint which by its terms would not even require a hearing until long after the election.

Apparently a couple of citizens had had enough of political games involving illegal campaign practices. These two citizens happened to be retired state Supreme Court justices, Utter and Ireland. They filed a lawsuit against the B.I.A.W. that required immediate action instead of waiting until after the election.

The lawsuit calls for an immediate temporary restraining order prohibiting B.I.A.W. from further campaign activity and mandates court hearings in a couple of weeks. The complaint alleges that, counting all the illegal campaign funds, the B.I.A.W. has already exceeded lawful financing limits.

The lawsuit filed today is an extraordinary move, apparently necessitated by the Attorney General’s refusal to take any immediate action. The suit is actually filed by citizens on the Attorney General’s behalf, something that is rarely done and ordinarily would not be done unless the Attorney General refused to, or could not, perform a duty of his office, i.e. the enforcement of campaign financing laws.

But the story does not end there. Today the Attorney General announced that on Friday he had sued the Republican Party for campaign violations. The complaint, which was rather brief, by its terms sought no pre-election relief with the trial set in 2010.

This whole series of events reflects poorly on the Attorney General’s Office and if it turns out that the citizen suit is meritorious, the Attorney General’s Office will look very bad indeed. The fact of the suit suggests a lack of confidence in Republican Rob McKenna’s nonpartisanship.

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Palin Keeps Opening Doors McCain Does Not Want to Enter

October 6, 2008

Remember ten days ago or so when Palin mocked Biden’s age?  This of course made us wonder how much she respected her party’s nominee for president.  This weekend of course Palin accused Obama of associating with terrorists, which I hope is such a shockingly untrue accusation that there will be serious blowback. Palin’s weekend attack on Obama has two very strong negatives:  It makes her ticket look cheap and spiteful; and it again opens the door to unflattering comparisons with McCain.

Palin’s use of the media while complaining about it may have contributed to a growing impatience with her inability to address subjects substantively.  Given the many questions about her, the recent attack strategy has Republicans wondering about the campaign’s direction.  Interestingly we rarely here anything about integrity in this context.  The discussion seems to be entirely focused on efficacy of what were once thought unworthy methods.  Thankfully some media feel it is incumbent on them to at least check the truth of scurrilous accusations.

In opening the door of past associations she has exposed an area of extreme vulnerability to McCain.  McCain actually was one of the Keating Five at the heart of the financial crisis of the 1980’s.

Look at this discussion of one of McCain associations:

Palin is accusing Obama of association with a terrorist by his being on the board of directors of a nonprofit corporation when also sitting on the board was a university professor who had helped found the Weathermen twenty years earlier.  That’s it.  There was no further association.  It’s actually rather high praise for an individual if that is the closest association the person has ever had with a person who had a questionable background. Would you do better?

n contrast to Obama, McCain was in the middle of our last financial crisis, from 1988 to 1991.  He was one of the Keating Five who caused havoc with the economy and McCain was never exonerated from the charges, but never criminally charged either.  His role was investigated by the Senate and the F.B.I. which concluded that he had bad judgment but that there was not enough evidence of criminal activity on his part to sanction him.

This guilt by association accusation triggered a multimedia assault by the Obama campaign, featuring the video on this website.  Politico has a review of the this counterattack.I

As many other have pointed out Palin seems to find more to fear in Obama’s sitting near this professor at the annual meeting than her husbands membership in an American government hating secessionist group.