Democrats call on McKenna to seek injunction against GOP

Chris Rizo Oct. 1, 2008, 11:00am

Rob McKenna (R)

OLYMPIA, Wash. (Legal Newsline)-The Washington State Democratic Party has called on Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna to seek an injunction against the Washington State Republican Party.

Specifically, Democrats want an injunction barring the state GOP from engaging in "illegal campaign activities identified by the Public Disclosure Commission" on behalf of Republican gubernatorial nominee Dino Rossi.

Rossi is challenging Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire, who won the 2004 election against him by just 133 votes.

Last week, the state Public Disclosure Commission ruled that the state Republican Party had illegally used exempt, "soft money" funds in the primary election to promote Rossi's candidacy.

The Public Disclosure Commission sent the case to the attorney general's office for review. The AG has the option of prosecuting the case.

Democrats say McKenna's involvement in case would represent a conflict of interest since McKenna is a member of the Republican Party and because the state GOP chairman, Luke Esser, was an employee of McKenna's in the attorney general's office and is a former long-time aide.

"This is a clear conflict of interest," said Democratic Party attorney Kevin Hamilton. "Without immediate action from your office, the Republican Party will be able to flagrantly abuse the law in the general election, just as they did in the primary. This is an unacceptable result for our electoral process."

Last month, John Ladenburg, the Democratic nominee for attorney general, called on 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.

McKenna declined to appoint independent counsel. His office is pursuing the case.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at

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