The state Senate race between Pam Roach and Matt Richardson has already provided plenty of work for lawyers and court employees (not to mention reporters) and now it will add some work for elections investigators.
A complaint has been e-mailed to the Public Disclosure Commission against Roach, and Roach filled out paperwork last week for a complaint of her own against Richardson.
The complaint against Roach blames her for a website airing some of the revelations and allegations swirling around Richardson. Elect mattrichardson.com is run by her former aide, Chris Clifford, who is also named in the complaint.
The complaint is filed by Kathy Hammad, a Sumner resident and Richardson supporter. It meanders through a series of accusations, some of which the PDC can’t do much about, but points to two laws where the agency does have jurisdiction: a prohibition against defaming a candidate with false information and a requirement that spending on behalf of a candidate be reported to the PDC as an in-kind contribution.
To find against Roach on either point, the PDC would have to determine the site is election-related and that she’s behind it, which she denies.
Based on her past history with the website’s creator, Richardson said: “The idea that these people aren’t talking to each other is ludicrous.”
Roach said everything she’s seen on the site appears to be backed up by the facts.
“Hello, it’s called opposition research,” she told me. “Opposition research is done routinely in campaigns, and he should have thought about his background before entering a state Senate campaign.”
Richardson has now put up a website with a similar name, electmatthewrichard son.com, devoted to the 20-year incumbent’s history of being reprimanded and kicked out of Senate Republican Caucus meetings. His official site is richardson 4senate.com.
Roach’s own complaint alleges Richardson hasn’t properly reported his campaign spending, including on a mailer, newspaper ad and yard signs.
He’s reported spending on all three, but Roach said the disclosures don’t cover the full costs, including artwork and research.
Richardson said his upcoming report will disclose a payment to a graphics company. But he said what Roach doesn’t realize is he’s done most of the work himself. “I used to be a political consultant,” he said.
Richardson is also funding his campaign mostly by himself. The campaign has gone into debt while Richardson has reported taking only two cash contributions totaling $225. Richardson said he is refusing to take money from special interests.
Jordan Schrader, staff writer
An audit of the Washington State Wine Commission has found questionable spending at the agency, including nearly $5,000 to throw a commissioner’s going-away party.
The commission is a state agency that’s funded mostly by the wine industry, not taxpayers. Fees on grape and wine sales pay to operate the commission, which paid $2.7 million to vendors from June 2009 to May 2010.
The $4,922 paid for a banquet room and catering at the party for an unnamed commissioner, according to a report out Monday by State Auditor Brian Sonntag’s office.
It was one of several payments to vendors that “did not appear to be for valid business purposes,” Sonntag’s office said, including:
$778 for a single commissioner’s dinner during an annual board retreat. No receipt backed up the purchases.
$1,080 for wine at a dinner for 13 commissioners, 12 employees and four others during a retreat.
$696 for seven purchases of wine at staff meals.
The commission said in a response that it’s taking action by training staff on policies and rules and improving review and approval of spending and reimbursements.
Jordan Schrader, staff writer