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Democrats file campaign complaint against Hutchison
Posted by Bob Young
Suzie Sheary, chair of King County Democrats, filed a complaint Tuesday with the state Public Disclosure Commission, saying Susan Hutchison violated campaign laws.
Among "the most troubling" of the violations, the complaint says, is that Hutchison's campaign is run out of a house in Seattle's Laurelhurst neighborhood but she has not reported any expenditures for the rental property, or reported the space as an in-kind contribution.
Campaigns usually report their use of office space. In the latest reports filed Tuesday, Hutchison's opponent in the race for King County executive, Dow Constantine, disclosed spending $1,600 for an office rental in Bellevue.
Hutchison's campaign manager, Jordan McCarren, said he rents the 2,400-square foot house the campaign is run from. McCarren said he consulted with a lawyer to make sure the campaign's reporting -- or in this case, non-reporting -- was legal.
Campaign rules allow the use of office space in certain circumstances without it being considered an expense or contribution. A candidate can use their own home, for instance, or a volunteer could offer space provided that space wasn't previously rented or used to generate income. If it was previously rented, then its use must be reported as an expense or contribution.
Other violations alleged by the complaint include: failure to list a treasurer on Hutchison's first campaign report; failure to list an address where her campaign records can be inspected; and late filing of expenses and contributions.
McCarren called the complaint "frivolous" and said Constantine was desperate because a KING-5 TV poll released Tuesday showed Hutchison ahead 47-42. The poll was done Oct 10-12 and has a 4.4 percent margin of error. (Constantine didn't file the complaint, King County Democrats did.)
A PDC spokeswoman said the watchdog agency is reviewing the complaint to see it if merits investigation and will probably determine that in the next week.
The PDC is now investigating a complaint by West Seattle resident Judy L. Brown that Constantine's campaign illegally coordinated with an independent campaign that attacked Hutchison during the primary. That independent campaign was funded, in part, by abortion-rights groups and a labor union. Constantine's campaign treasurer, Jason Bennett, also worked for the independent campaign.
Constantine said there was no coordination. Bennett told the PDC his role in both campaigns was only "ministerial," meaning he wasn't involved in strategy.
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