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Postman on Politics

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

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July 28, 2008 10:39 AM

When losing pays off

Posted by David Postman

Ralph Thomas had a story in yesterday’s paper detailing what Dino Rossi did in the three years between losing the 2004 governor’s race and his official entry into this year’s rematch with Chris Gregoire.

It turns out that losing the ’04 race wasn’t all bad for Rossi. Connections he made during the campaign helped him boost his real estate investments and get him a piece of the Everett AquaSox minor league baseball team. Said Rossi:

"There's no doubt that I got to meet people I wouldn't have met if I didn't run for governor."

The story also looks at Forward Washington, the non-profit group Rossi founded and led during the time he wasn’t running for governor. Democrats filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission claiming the group was just a front for Rossi’s ’08 campaign. Thomas writes:

Rossi said the group's fundraising largely dried up after the PDC launched its investigation. But even before that, he said, many people in the state's business establishment were nervous about donating for fear of ticking off Gregoire.

This has been a consistent claim of Rossi’s; the foundation’s fundraising was hurt because of the Democrats’ complaint. It came up in his interview with a PDC investigator, who asked:

Can you give me any more information about the harm that the Foundation has experienced? Make it more tangible for me?

ROSSI: Yes, less money in the bank account to help pay the bills because
of the PDC’s prolonged investigation of a baseless claim.

Rossi’s attorney suggested in that session that the candidate could file a legal action against the PDC for harming the foundation’s fundraising.

But the PDC investigation found that donations to Forward Washington dried up months before the state Democratic Party filed its complaint. The foundation raised $356,770 from April 2006 to August 2007, according to information collected as part of the investigation. But about 84 percent of that had already been raised by the end of March of last year. Democrats didn’t file their complaint until June.

It’s possible fundraising got tougher after the investigation began. But it’s clear it hadn’t been going well for months before.

The foundation staff did some fundraising by personally contacting potential donors. The non-profit also spent $39,092 to rent mailing lists to send direct mail solicitations. The PDC staff investigation described the non-partisan foundation’s fundraising as “explicitly partisan.” Rossi told investigators his foundation didn’t try to raise money from Democrats.

We were looking for people who would be responsive to a pro-business message, especially a pro- small and medium sized message so that wouldn’t have happened.

But even those targeted on Republican lists didn’t come through with very much money. Rossi told investigators that after paying to rent those lists, there wasn’t much net gain for Forward Washington. Rossi said most of the time the non-profit only broke even, or in one case, did a little better than that.

On the expense side of the ledger, Forward Washington’s biggest expenses included Rossi’s $75,000 salary and $24,000 in legal fees. The foundation also spent $9,100 to buy copies of Rossi’s self-published book.

The foundation didn’t accomplish much. There was the Idea Bank that Rossi heralded as a bipartisan effort to solicit and vet ideas from citizens on how to improve state government. (The Democrat who made the project “bipartisan” thinks FDR was a Socialist and still complains "that traitorous scamp, Jane Fonda" caused America to lose the Vietnam War.)

The bank’s work resulted in a letter to lawmakers early this year outlining 32 ideas from people around the state, offered with no analysis from Forward Washington, and no effort on part of the foundation to push for any of the proposals. The ideas ranged from radical shift in state policy stated in brief, like this from Gene in Ferndale:

The state should sell the Workers Comp program to private investors and invest the $7 billion surplus from the sale in transportation-related infrastructure improvements.

to more details on less substantive ideas, like this from Karyn in Orting:

The state should contract with sheep and goat farmers and their working dogs to use their herds to keep roadside grasses "mowed" and trimmed. I saw a program on Animal Planet about working dogs which described a lady and her herd of sheep used by a Florida municipality. She dropped off the sheep where huge weeds of some kind had taken over and her dog kept the sheep where they were supposed to be and the sheep ate the weeds until there was nothing left. It would be quaint to see sheep lining the roads ( at the triangle areas of on/off ramps ) and using sheep or goats would also be "enviro-friendly" by not using gas-powered mowers, as well as encouraging agricultural awareness.

Rossi told Thomas that Forward Washington could still take off. You’ll know that has happened when you see goats on the freeways.

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Posted by Particle Man

11:55 AM, Jul 28, 2008

David, Politics has always been "good for business" for Dino.
When Rossi said:
"There's no doubt that I got to meet people I wouldn't have met if I didn't run for governor." he might just as honestly stated:
"There's no doubt that I got access to highly profitable real estate deals and labor free commissions as a result of being elected to the senate"

The fact that Rossi sought to be rewarded while last in office and continued to do so after his loss to Gregoire in 04 is well known. His partnership deal with BIAW lobbyists where the profits were split and Rossi was also given all of the purchase and sale commissions of several hundred thousand dollars is one example. Next, political supporters with deep pockets were encouraged to place 1000 copy orders of his book of fables. Who knows if the books were ever shipped. Then Forward WA with primary funding from BIAW paid him over $120,000 in 07/08 as he carried on his campaign after the book tour gig petered out. And along the way, "out of the blue" an unsolicited offer so large Rossi could not pass it up resulted in the sale of his run down Eastlake apartment building.
The remaining deals in the story are frankly of less interest. Voters really should not care how much money Rossi makes, but they should be given a more clear picture of the relationship between the public office he held and the access to easy money that position provided him. These are the transactions Rossi seeks to hide. This is why his campaign lobbied the PDC out both sides of its mouth, to both have them rule that his campaign was not ongoing between 04 and the present while accepting his f-1 from 04 for use in his new campaign. As a result of this gift, less is known about his income sources. This is why Rossi will not release any income tax records. It is not his income he is hiding, but the fact he earned a great deal of that income from his campaigns primary supporters. Chief among them is the BIAW.
Papers like yours David and reporters like you David must not allow Rossi to run out the clock every time he is interviewed and must not accept his artful dodges.
I watched the online extension of Up Front and well as the 18 minutes that was on the air. What struck me was that Dino has been handed the upper hand by virtually every media outlet who has covered this race and for that matter, his political carrier. Unless things change, he has it made really. Between now and the election he only needs to run out the clock on about 1.5 hours of Q & A air time and too often he will get to select who that will be with. Even though you pressed for just one minor clear answer David, no doubt the Rossi campaign will have a scheduling conflict next time. And so it goes.

Posted by Bothsides

12:16 PM, Jul 28, 2008

PM,

The PDC charges were DISMISSED, no harm, no foul, no scandal. Seems to me since Dino Rossi IS a real estate investor, it's not too surprising he MEETS people and invests with them. I see nothing wrong with his networking, I think people like you are jealous that it's not you making the return on investment, which buy the way, carries a certain amount of risk. After all, it is an INVESTMENT that he was making. As for the rest of the story, it's worthless, I can't believe this was front page material, it's a bunch of words about virtually nothing.

No CG on the other hand is a real piece of work, taking bribes from the tribes and all............

Posted by HUH?

12:36 PM, Jul 28, 2008

To hear Democrats, whose WEA holds the record for the highest fine for violations in state history, to hear them even try to show a granule of credibility on the topic is laughable. It's like talking John Dillinger about how horrible it is that so many banks are getting robbed.

FACT: Rossi was not found guilty of anything. The bogus, politically driven smear charges made by the racist Democrats of Washington, were DISMISSED.

The only purpose of their frivolous complaint was to give them SOMETHING to point to an insinuate about Rossi.

Posted by Particle Man

12:46 PM, Jul 28, 2008

It is not that Rossi makes money that interests me.
Rather, it is that Dino has a long and established pattern of trading upon his position for personal financial gain.
Voters are entitled to teransparency when it comes to political contributions. In Dino's case, when he has lined his own pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars from those seeking influence in his political past or future voters should demand answers.
As for the PDC and the Forward WA case, all they found was that he had successfully evaded the intent of the law.

Posted by P

1:25 PM, Jul 28, 2008

PM,

Try to focus, Dino Rossi did nothing illegal or unethical. NOTHING!

This is simply another, in a very long list, of poltical hachet jobs done by a willing liberal media to undermine the credibility of a good and honest Republican. Postman should be ashamed of himself for pretending this is a news-worthy article.

Every since its founder, Thomas Jefferson, began the Democrat Party they have used this very same tactic. Thomas Jefferson was the most unprincipled, back-stabbing politician who used newspapermen to smear his political opponents. Postman should be ashamed of himself for pretending this was a news-worthy article, and not the hachet job it truly is.

Gregoire has dirt all over herself. She has sold her office to the Indian tribes and gets away with it from these very same "journalists". It is shameful how corrupt this state has become since the Democrats took it over nearly thirty years ago.

Posted by PizzeShizzle

1:47 PM, Jul 28, 2008

"You’ll know that has happened when you see goats on the freeways."

Thats what Postman says about Forward Washington taking off.

Well, that's a coincidence because we will see "pigs fly" when Gregoire can control her spending.

Posted by Wiz

2:08 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Particle Man, you really need to get off of this “Dino Scandal” thing. It is starting to make you sound like a one track minded lunatic.

Dino got an offer on his 4 plex. Wow! Call Oliver Stone! By the way, don’t you think 600,000.00 for a 4 plex in Eastlake is kind of low? I am not sure how that is an offer he couldn’t refuse. If you owned that same property, you could have sold it for the same money.

The links to articles you post as proof of Dino using public office to make private money do not really say anything.

Posted by upchuck

2:20 PM, Jul 28, 2008

dogs and goats on the highway shoulders? forward washington would never support such a neo-nazi evnironmentalist hair brain idea like that!

Posted by C'mon

2:53 PM, Jul 28, 2008

ParticleMan--
I voted for Rossi last time. You & JimD convinced me to vote Gregoire this time....until now.
The type of innuendo & nonsense you create from a small situation seems typical of Gregoire supporters.
You should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by Bothsides

3:27 PM, Jul 28, 2008

"In Dino's case, when he has lined his own pockets with hundreds of thousands of dollars from those seeking influence in his political past or future voters should demand answers. "

This is an out and out lie, blatant BS. As they said in Jerry MacGuire....SHOW ME THE MONEY.

Posted by Particle Man

3:36 PM, Jul 28, 2008

P, for Dino to trade on his elected position for his personal financal gain is most certainly unethical. You need a reality check.

And

C'mon C'mon, I really don't give a rip who you vote for. You obviously place no value in the ethics of your elected officials. Since this is the apparent case, you only have one choice and that is to vote for Dino. He has made so many bad decisions so far in his public life, I have no doubt that he would drag our state into scandal after scandal if he were to fool enough voters to get elected.

Posted by AD

4:31 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Dino invests his own money in legitimate businesses and does well at it.

Christine invests every taxpayer's money in wasteful programs and kickback schemes for her political supporters and drove our state to a $2.7 billion deficit.

An easy choice.

Posted by John

6:14 PM, Jul 28, 2008

PM,
Dino has made wise and legal business decisions. You have a queen whose backers including her self would stop at nothing to bring Dino into court for wrong doings.
Instead they attack his Italian background to imply corruption cause there is nothing there.

Posted by John

6:52 PM, Jul 28, 2008

After reading the two stories Thomas did Dino it reinforced our need to elect him to clean up her mess.

Dino has done a fantastic job in just 3 years, now contrast the Queens record a Dino surplus he left her has tuned into deficit of Billions, The tribe wanted to pay us 140 million however the good queen rejected that, We have the highest Gas tax in the nation and the worst hwy system in the nation. She increased state employees by 9,000.

Let’s not mention as AG she cost us Millions and we have some on this blog who want more of the same. Liberal’s must like living in bankruptcy.

Posted by jan

9:31 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Forward Washington appears to be a backward failure. If the PDC complaint that was dismissed took it down, that doesn't show much forward motion. It looks more like an organization on rewind. Something that's backward, not forward.

That it was one of Rossi's chief public relations arms is telling. Make you wonder whether the other things he's put out, like his transportation plan, are all talk and no walk.

It isn't clear that Rossi is capable of much follow-through - and his chief policy messages seem to be more about pandering to popular campaign themes as opposed to clear purpose with backbone. It isn't clear he's capable of much leadership required to change anything.

He just doesn't seem to have much experience. It sorta reminds me of McCain v Obama - McCain's experience theme could hurt Rossi.

Posted by FACT

9:41 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Gregoire signed into law House Bill 2079 to reward her big union mob boy backers in what the Seattle Times characterized as "amounts to a kind of money laundering".

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/2003752870_duesed19.html

If that is the kind of "experience" Gregoire is offering, we could use a whole lot of inexperience.

Posted by hinweis

9:54 PM, Jul 28, 2008

So this is what vigilantly and courageously seeking to hold those in power looks like, eh? Single-party dominance in this state for so many decades means that the fourth estate now also kneels at the emperor's hand.

It means that journalists who want to "get the story" (aka keep their job) cannot ever completely operate independently of the Democratic machine. The latter has obviously been hard at work pressuring the media to layoff the gov, hence this "news" story...

Posted by jk

10:04 PM, Jul 28, 2008

Another "who cares" story by a liberal columnist trying to create a controversy to line his own pocketbook!

Why is it a bad thing that someone running for office has done something in his life other then live on the taxpayer dime? The founding fathers wanted people to serve the public not live off of them like Gregoire has done.

Look this is the crap you deal with when an incumbent has nothing to run on, they try to tear down the opponent. I admit Rossi's foundation was probably not the smartest thing to do politically, not that it was illegal but that it could look bad and be used against him in the campaign. The investments? I could care less most people get a job because of their connections why should Rossi be treated any different?

Posted by JimD

8:10 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Look -- Rossi has been less than forthcoming with his financial TIES to the very industry that's financing his campaign.
As PM said (at least twice for goodness sake), this has NOTHING to do with how much money Dino Rossi made the last three years.
This is about a lack of transparency in a clear and obvious conflict of interest with his main campaign supporters - the builders he's been wheeling and dealing with in private the last three years.
You've got to wonder why they're so hot to trot him into the governor's mansion.
What's is BIAW buying with their support, if not a more favorable environment for the construction industry?
Less regulation, less restraint, less land use planning...
We can barely keep these wolves at bay as it is.
Just imagine what will happen if Rossi has the opportunity to make their investment in his campaign - and possibly him personally - worthwhile.
His highly guarded secrecy in this relationship, combined with his contempt for the very idea that anyone would want to know, turns a possible conflict of interest into a more probably one.
If you think losing tax revenue from the tribes has hurt the state, wait until the unregulated over-development we've fought so long to keep from destroying our region is unleashed in whatever backroom deal Rossi has worked out with his development buddies in exchange for his campaign financing and sweetheart real estate deals.

Posted by Bothsides

8:38 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Blah, blah, blah with nothing to back it up. Personally after the King County "land grab", I would rather be on the side of "freedom" to do what I'd like with MY property. But I don't see Dino Rossi ruining this state, to the contrary, with D's in control for so long, you can't do much worse.

Posted by JimD

8:54 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Living in a more developer-friendly state might be a little like working a non-union job, Bothsides.
We can't enjoy the result of good land use planning without the regulation that keeps those who'd build "whatever I want" from changing our carefully balanced land-use.
Go to some less-regulated, builder's free-for-all states if you want to see what a mess builders and developers will create if not held to a higher standard than simply what turns them the biggest and quickest profit.

Posted by Puhleeze

9:34 AM, Jul 29, 2008

JimD and the rest of the Gregoire activists:

Please quote for us the law Rossi broke. You can't. You are simply trying to insinuate because there is nothing there.

How about telling us all how Gregoire was less than forthcoming about her failing to turn in the paperwork in time when she ran the AG's office and cost the taxpayer $10 million.

Posted by John

10:12 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Her attacks commercials on Dino are disingenuous after spending her adult life in politics she has NOTHING on herself to boast about.

Contrast Dino’s positive ads on leadership it puts a smile on your face.


The only reason she is getting more money than Dino is she has an open door policy for giving out paybacks.


The Democrat party is bankrupted on moral values just watch their campaign commercials nothing but gloom and doom. It’s no wonder liberals wear rosy color sunglass and have a higher than normal annual payments for medications.

Posted by Anyonesguess

11:13 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Democrats need blame and victims.
Without above they would not have a party.

Posted by Particle Man

11:14 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Alaska Ted Stevens indicted for ethics violations.http://www.mcclatchydc.com/election2008/story/45824.html

It is clever to ask this question as a defense:"Tell us what laws Dino has broken?"
The fact is though that Dino's actions are of the same breed at those Ted Stevens was indicted for today. The fact that he has yet to be indicted does not change how his election and pattern of behavior would expose our state do a very damaging scandal.

IF, as you say, Dino is an angel, then why does he refuse to even talk about these issues.

IF, as you say, Dino is an angel, then why does he refuse to release his tax returns? What is he hiding?

If, as you say, Dino is an angel, then why did he lobby the PDC to have them accept an obviously outdated financial disclosure (F-1) form.

If, as you say, Dino is an angel, then why does he not release documents or even a statement about his real estate partnership with BIAW lobbyists while he was Senate Ways and Means chair?

If, as you say, Dino has nothing to hide, why do all of his comments on these subjects come filtered through his campaign staff?

Posted by The Truth

11:30 AM, Jul 29, 2008

PM:
Your answer to your list of fiction.

Posted by Anyonesguess

11:13 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Democrats need blame and victims.
Without above they would not have a party.

Posted by John

11:38 AM, Jul 29, 2008

Posted by Bothsides

11:49 AM, Jul 29, 2008

JimD these are typical scare tactics from the left, with no evidence to support it. I could easily say that the environmentalist whacko's have CG's ear and she is going to turn our state into mush with all of their "green" BS policies, I won't though because I'm not "scared", there are too many people with common sense to let that happen. Just as there are too many people with common sense to let Dino Rossi change all the zoning/building rules. I'd suggest the building industry is trying to preserve what we have seeing how the leftist whacko's in King County's government took away a bunch of private property rights. It's about balance, and the scales have been tipped to far to the "left" for there to be any balance.

PM,
Interesting that the Ted Stevens indictment sighted "false statements", kinda reminds me of Scooter Libby where there was no evidence to find so they badgered him until they caught him in a false statement. I'll have to read the story to get the facts on Teddy though, if he's guilty, so be it, he should get whatever they throw at him.

Posted by jk

12:52 PM, Jul 29, 2008

Particle Man and JimD -- Practice what you preach! All these accusations against Rossi, all the countless hours the PDC has investigated Rossi on these false claims has gotten you where? We KNOW Gregiore has paid off all her contributers that allowed her to steal the last election....everyone from the teacher union, state employee union and worst of all the Tribal gaming union yet all you ever talk about are these supposed violations that you and nobody else can prove. Why don't you spend your time investigating these violations.....frankly I could care less about all this crap on both sides. We could do what the democrats in congress do which is waste time on endless investigations in order to gain political points in the mean time our transportation system is a complete mess, jobs are leaving this state and more will follow, sex offenders are running around everywhere, and our business climate is less then good yet all you idiots talk about are endless conspiracy theories between Rossi and BIAW...... Either lay out an argument for your candidate to get reelected (which you can't) or investigate both sides.

Posted by tacnativ

9:28 PM, Jul 29, 2008

If Washington State Republicans think that Tribal Gaming is bad and wrong, they should take that issue up with the Presidential Republican candidate John McCain who was a primary sponsor and drafter of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act. Also, supporting the Act was Republican Senator Daniel Evans.

How do like them apples....

Posted by The Truth

7:43 AM, Jul 30, 2008

Nothing wrong with tribe gaming, what's mystical why she turned her back on 140 million a year from them, please explain.

Posted by Bothsides

8:16 AM, Jul 30, 2008

tacnativ,

All true, however, why would you ONLY allow gambling for the tribes, and to top it off, get not one cent of revenue for it. Answer: lot's of money donated to her and her political party.

How do you like them apples...

Posted by Apollo

8:51 AM, Jul 30, 2008

Losing was good business for Al Gore, too. He is now worth in excess of one hundred million dollars from selling carbon credits to the world (selling us a pet rock, basically!)

Rossi was successful in business before politics and he will be successful in business after politics.

Success comes from taking chances, getting out in the world and meeting people.

In today's Seattle Times, we see that the state has already spent over one billion dollars on the viaduct and has not built a damn thing.

Where is my money?

Gregoire wants to toll 520? Didn't she tell us that the gas tax would pay for 520? Where did the gas tax money go? How many of her friends in the conslutant businesses have donated our tax dollars to her (they charge huge hourly rates and then give a kick back, I mean a campaign contribution to her and other democrats).

Why can't we build anything here? Consultants? No leadership? Yes and yes.

Get rid of our task force addiction and elect a leader!

Posted by JimD

12:14 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Bothsides wrote:
"...I could easily say that the environmentalist whacko's have CG's ear and she is going to turn our state into mush with all of their "green" BS policies, I won't though because I'm not "scared", there are too many people with common sense to let that happen..."

Oh please. surely you're so naive to believe that.
That line of thinking is almost anarchistic.
Get rid of driver's licenses - surely folks have too much common sense to drive if they're not qualified.
Get rid of police - surely folks have too much common sense to commit crime.
Get rid of zoning - surely folks have too much common sense to build an apartment complex on a fragile, water-logged eco-system where there isn't enough surface street infrastructure to support the new traffic anyway.

Mush and green BS nonsense?
You're really living in the wrong part of the country if you don't share or even appreciate the value of protecting our environment and managing our growth.
Balance? Sure, we're always fighting for practical, centrist solutions
But calling the whole thing "green BS nonsense" is so right-wing fringe and antithetical to even the most modest responsibility to our God-given planet, I'm surprised even YOU posted it.

Posted by Wiz

1:44 PM, Jul 30, 2008

Particle Man

“it is clever to ask this question as a defense ‘Tell us what law Dino has broken’
The fact is though that Dino's actions are of the same breed at those Ted Stevens was indicted for today. The fact that he has yet to be indicted does not change how his election and pattern of behavior would expose our state do a very damaging scandal.”

Sir, I believe you are seriously losing it. Why do you focus so much of your energy on this supposed scandal? Blog after blog, people have asked you for your proof. Instead of proof, you ramble about lack of tax returns and outdated forms.

So AGAIN, WHAT PROOF DO YOU HAVE? And please do not post another link to a Ted Stevens story and say that Dino’s actions “are the same breed”. I will ask you what any critical thinker would ask….how do you know that?

Recent entries

Jul 30, 08 - 10:41 AM
Rossi's subtle editing

Jul 30, 08 - 08:53 AM
Foward Washington exec responds

Jul 29, 08 - 01:46 PM
Rossi's first TV ad avoids specifics

Jul 29, 08 - 12:35 PM
What Stevens indictment means to his re-election

Jul 29, 08 - 07:34 AM
Burner's big bank account

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