Author: Sanders, Eli
Date published: May 30, 2012
Journal code: STRR
In response to an April 25 Stranger story on hundreds of campaign documents that were discovered in Rob McKenna's King County Council archives-and a May 21 Associated Press report that dug even deeper into "The McKenna Files"-two new ethics complaints have been filed against the Republican gubernatorial candidate.
Kimberly Christensen, who describes herself as a freelance writer, mom, and former midwife from Wallingford, filed her complaint with the King County Ombudsman's Office on May 23, alleging that McKenna, while serving on the county council, demonstrated a "complete disregard" for rules prohibiting campaign activities inside government offices.
"When I read the Stranger and AP articles, it seemed like it was begging for someone to file a complaint," Christensen says. "All the information was there, but I know that in order for it to be investigated, somebody actually has to file."
The county ombudsman's office confirmed that it has received two complaints regarding McKenna (the other, apparently, is from lawyer Kyle Olive).
Christensen says she's "hoping there will be some sort of formal censure" of McKenna, whose King County archives feature lots of documents that shouldn't be there: fundraising lists, a list of potential table captains for McKenna's 2003 reelection campaign kickoffbreakfast, supporter seating charts, and a draftcampaign speech. State law prohibits elected officials from conducting political activity out of their government offices.
"We will make determinations about these complaints as soon as we can," says Jon Stier, senior deputy ombudsman. He noted that the King County ethics code provides for civil penalties-meaning fines-for a person found to have committed ethics violations. But he could not say whether a person no longer working for King County (McKenna now works for the state as attorney general) can be the subject of a King County ethics investigation.
Christensen remains hopeful that the county will take action. "As a midwife, and seeing how really critical access to health care is for women and children, I worked really hard on supporting health-care reform and volunteered on a lot of campaigns to get that going," she says. "So when McKenna filed a lawsuit trying to overturn health-care reform, I got really pissed offand decided to actively work against him becoming governor."
McKenna's campaign did not respond to a request for comment.