Ladenburg calls on AG to appoint independent counsel in fundraising case

Chris Rizo Sep. 17, 2008, 12:40pm

John Ladenburg (D)

Rob McKenna (R)

TACOMA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)-John Ladenburg, the Democratic candidate for Washington attorney general, is calling on Attorney General Rob McKenna to appoint independent counsel to probe alleged campaign finance violations by the Building Industry Association of Washington.

The trade group is accused of having illegally solicited, received and retained more than $584,000 from its local associations without registering as a political action committee.

As attorney general, McKenna will evaluate the complaint by the state Public Disclosure Commission. He has said he will decide by Friday whether to pursue legal action.

"Our attorneys are working diligently to review all the information and determine whether or not we have enough evidence to pursue a case. I assume as we make that decision, we will also consider whether or not it is appropriate to seek outside counsel on the case," said McKenna spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie.

Ladenburg, who says McKenna's ties to the BIAW are significant, is urging the attorney general to appoint independent counsel to "assure that the investigation is fair and credible," he said in a statement.

Ladenburg said BIAW members have been "loyal campaign contributors" for McKenna.

"A politician like Rob McKenna has two problems that make him a questionable investigator in this matter," Ladenburg said in a statement.

"First, he was the BIAW's go-to guy on the King County Council for weakening environmental laws and has a history of accepting their now-tainted campaign contributions. Second, he all but admitted that he did not actually investigate the oil industry despite repeated claims."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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