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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 11, 2008 10:27 AM

UPDATED: Gregoire got big party cash last month

Posted by David Postman

Gov. Chris Gregoire’s re-election campaign touted her May April fundraising success in a press release yesterday, saying it “shows strong, early support for the governor.”

“I’m happy to see such enthusiastic support for our campaign,” said Gov. Gregoire. “It proves that voters want us to continue to take on challenges and get results on the issues that matter to them most, like education, children’s healthcare and global climate change.”

She did raise a lot of money. But the single largest chunk, by far, came from the state Democratic Party. The press release said Gregoire raised $785,000 in May. Not mentioned was that $200,000 of that came from the state party. That is more a sign of the party’s commitment to her re-election than it is a measure of early support from voters.

And where did the state party get its money from in May? Mostly from two tribes. The party’s filings with the Public Disclosure Commission show $276,000 raised in April. Of that, $250,000 came from the Tulalip Tribes and the Swinomish Tribal Community.

Of the $2 million Gregoire reports raising since she formally kicked off her campaign, $511,000 has come from the state party.

Republican challenger Dino Rossi got some party help, too. Of the $701,000 he raised, $40,000 came from the state Republican Party. That’s all he’s gotten so far. That wasn’t mentioned in Rossi’s press release, either.

The state Republican Party doesn’t show any big May donations. But this week it did get $50,000 from the Republican Governor’s Association.

Both parties are sure to play major roles in the governor’s race. That makes it hard to know the real source of campaign money. We can see which groups make large donations to the parties, but of course it’s impossible to say precisely which dollars flowed through to the candidate. It’s all legal. But it leaves voters in the dark about important campaign finance details.

The Rossi campaign was quick to put out a press release this afternoon criticizing Gregoire for taking the party money and for donations she’s accepted from out of state residents.
But Rossi’s campaign is getting some outside help itself. And Rossi benefits from a different sort of loophole in the campaign law.
A political action committee called “It’s Time for a Change” paid $272,047 on May 28 for radio ads criticizing Gregoire on transportation issues. The ads feature women who complain that gas taxes went up but traffic hasn’t improved.

The ads are so-called independent expenditures. By law, an independent expenditure committee is prohibited from coordinating its activities with a candidate’s campaign. The Building Industry Association of Washington - the builders’ lobby whose ardor for Rossi is matched by its his animus toward Gregoire -- has made no secret of its control of that PAC.

So where did the money come from? Just as with Gregoire’s party money, it’s impossible to say precisely which dollars flow from one committee to another and what they pay for.

But on the same day It’s Time for a Change reported its ad spending, it showed it received $245,000 from ChangePAC, where all its money has come from.

And where does ChangePAC get its money? May 28 was a busy day. That’s also the day the Building Industry Association of Washington donated $245,000 to ChangePAC.

The BIAW already gave Rossi $3,000 directly to his campaign, which means it can only give another $200.

ChangePAC also gets money from others who have either hit their limits in donating to Rossi or are close, including Rossi campaign treasurer Howie Meadowcroft, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Washington State Farm Bureau.

The tribes that gave recently to the state Democratic Party are close to reaching the limit for donations directly to a candidate. So both sides have methods for spending money from maxed out donors.

It is all legal. And it all makes it a little harder to track donations and spending.

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Posted by JimD

11:24 AM, Jun 11, 2008

For the most part, the state party's contribution is generated locally (including the tribes of course).
Not sure what you're implying here, David?
Aren't both Gregoire's and Rossi's campaign chest getting filled with LOCAL money commensurate with the LOCAL support each has generated?

Posted by P

12:05 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Re-electing Dino Rossi is the most important decision Washington State voters can make.

Gregoire is horrible! She and the democrat-controlled state legislature have bankrupted us once more. Gregoire has raised our taxes, refused to mitigate the horrendous gas tax we pay and now we learn she is in the back pockets of the tribes. This person should be prosecuted, not elected to office.

Posted by Particle Man

12:33 PM, Jun 11, 2008

David: Where candidates get their money is of interest and you have already reported on the state of the state republican party.
What is also of interest is who is spending money on behalf of the candidates. It is known in the political community that BIAW has started airing attack ads against Governor Gregoire.
BIAW as it turns out has gone to great lengths to hide the fact that they are the funders of these ads.

At the end of the radio ad I caught yesterday, it said it was paid for by Change the Gov Org and that the largest contributor to that Org was Change PAC.
Change PAC no doubt gets all its money from BIAW so what is behind the sham?????????

Posted by Particle Man

12:46 PM, Jun 11, 2008

PDC reports reflect that the BIAW as of 5/30 has given $246,250 to ChangePAC and that on 5/28 ChangePAC gave "It's time for a change" $245,000.

David your last post delt with the effort to rebrand the Republican party. This shows an effort by the BIAW to rebrand itself as ChangePAC and to mask the real source of the funding for their attack ads.

Posted by Paul

1:17 PM, Jun 11, 2008

The problem with tribal funding of elections is that they pay no state taxes - compliments of the current administration. Every other state that allows tribal gambling earns revenue from it. They claim sovereignty but then dump cash into elections to make sure the money keeps flowing.... come on - it is absurd that every other business pays through the nose and the tribes get away scott free thanks to massive political contributions.

Posted by Particle Man

1:40 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Paul, can't figure out if you are lying of just have no clue what you are talking about.

Posted by Chad (The Left) Shue

1:53 PM, Jun 11, 2008


You are usually better at this.

Gregoire get 3/4 of her funding from sources OTHER THAN the state party and you suggest that she is being propped up by her own party?

As a member of the Democratic Party, I expect that some of the moeny I contribute during the year will be going to my party's candidates.

Now if you would like to help us advocate for public financing, perhaps we can stop the parties and the tribes and the unions and the BIAW and the MBA from contributing anything in the future.

Chad (The Left) Shue

Posted by Paul

4:41 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Re: your update: AT LEAST Change PAC lists themselves as the sponsors of the ads. Will the tribes do the same? Or will the DemoParty keep laundering their money.

Posted by Methow Ken

5:59 PM, Jun 11, 2008


Noted in above you said:

''The Building Industry Association of Washington - the builders’ lobby whose ardor for Rossi is matched by his animus toward Gregoire -- has made no secret of its control of that PAC.''

Was there a subliminal message in there; i.e.:
You said ''HIS animus'' versus ''THEIR animus''... Have to wonder if you weren't thinking of TM when you wrote that. . . . ;-]

And of course you are right in the last part:
No reasonable person can claim BIAW was trying to keep its relationship with ChangePAC a secret: A few minutes with google and on the PDC website is all you need; to find that they are legally exercising their right to actively participate in the political process, just like a whole bunch of other individuals and organizations. BIAW just happens to be very good at competing in that arena.

SIDEBAR full disclosure: I am an active member of the WSFB, and you bet I fully support their formal endorsement of Dino Rossi; AND their support for ChangePAC along with BIAW and NFIB.

Meanwhile the socialists, eco-extremists, and fans of ever-expanding big-government are supporting Gregoire. No surpises here; none at all. . . .

Posted by A common person

7:00 PM, Jun 11, 2008

The Illinois Attorney General is presently shaking down pharmaceutical companies for large fundraiser for Gregoire in Chicago.
Gregoire's base is large rich elitists, be they drug companies, tribal casinos, large unions, or multi-millionaires. Gregoire has never worked outside of government, never had normal healthcare. Her elitists friend have not either. She is not in touch with the common person in WA. She needs to be replaced.

Just a common person

Posted by WhatPassesForNews

7:08 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Um, so the Democratic Party is supporting Gregoire?? What a scoop!!!

So. And what.

Posted by upchuck

8:38 PM, Jun 11, 2008

nothing new, money talk and sh** walks in politics.

public campaign financing is the answer to level the paying field so we can evaluate the candidates and their positions on the issues without the deep pockets dictating who's message get's heard on the for hire media machine.

funny that while lee raymond retires with $400 mil from exxon oil sales and keeps it all for himself, repubs love to hate wa state and its dem leaders that invest a mere 1/4 that amount per year back into public resources that we can all utilize!

Posted by Particle Man

10:32 AM, Jun 12, 2008

David Postman: Thanks for the update. A hat tip may have been in order since you followed my comment.

Methow Ken, you said:
"No reasonable person can claim BIAW was trying to keep its relationship with ChangePAC a secret:"

I know the Methow is a long way from the big city where they have all those big TV and radio stations, but I cannot let you get away with such a false statement even if you do live in a nice area.

ChangePAC is what is known as a shell PAC. IT exists for one reason and one reason only. That reason is to hide the fact that BIAW is funding the attack ad funded by pass through money.

Now it is a fact that you and I and most who play here know that BIAW is funding the attack ads but it is also true that the ads are more effective when the entity disclosed as funding them (under PDC law, at the end of the ad) has a nice name that does not appear affiliated with a scumsuching org like the BIAW.

This evasion of PDC law will cause a change in the law next session. People have the right to a clear view of who is funding independent expenditures, without doing research.

Recent entries

Jun 11, 08 - 04:06 PM
Gov's court pick gets free ride

Jun 11, 08 - 10:27 AM
UPDATED: Gregoire got big party cash last month

Jun 11, 08 - 07:54 AM
UPDATED: More on Republican re-branding

Jun 10, 08 - 05:20 PM
Top Republican leader to help Reichert

Jun 10, 08 - 04:47 PM
Primary ballot allows candidates to re-brand







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