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February 23, 2007

Careful who you call stupid

Posted by David Postman at 8:53 AM

Stefan Sharkansky wondered who it was who identified himself as "PDC expert" on Sound Politics earlier this month and left comments saying, among other things, "your ignorance is stunning" and "I love it when you demonstrate your stupidity."

It looks like it was state Rep. Geoff Simspon, D-Kent.

The comments came in response to a Sharkansky post Feb. 3 about Tim Eyman's battle with Secretary of State Sam Reed over moves to regulate paid signature gathering.

For example, the Secretary of State's spreadsheet claims that the WEA's "Protect our Public Schools" referendum campaign used only volunteer signature gatherers. But as Eyman notes, the campaign self-reported to the PDC that the WEA made a $211,000 in-kind contribution to the campaign for signature gathering.

Among other comments, PDC expert wrote:

Reporting in-kind contributions is a way that campaigns have of making it look like they've raised more money than they actually have because they report the fair market value of the service as if it were a contribution. Keep talking though because I love it when you demonstrate your stupidity.

And:

Eyman is a liar and the sheep on this blog will believe any lie he tells them. Show us the form that shows the payment of $211,000 by the WEA Tim. Show us the money. Oh, that's right. You can't because there never was any money. An in-kind contribution of volunteer time was all they contributed. Idiots.

How does Sharkansky know that Simpson is PDC expert? Because he tracked the IP address used to post the comment. It was part of the King County network and he made public records request that led to the City of Kent, and this response from Arthur "Pat" Fitzparick, deputy city attorney:

Please be advised that the city's network is designed to randomly assign IP address that change from user to user throughout the city's system. The city system does not record who is assigned particular IP addresses from day to day. As such, we were unable to locate the records that you requested in the manner that you requested them. However, based on other records maintained by the city, it has been determined that a shared computer at Fire Station No. 74 was used to access the blog in question, and although the exact computer is not identifiable, the user who posted the blog is identified as Kent Firefighter Geoffrey Simpson.

Simpson responded on Sound Politics yesterday:

Interesting that when Stefan doesn't like something someone says (even when they are correct as I was in each of my posts) he investigates them and violates the personal privacy afforded to all the posters on this blog by the ability to post anonymously. Poor baby. Make sure you don't disagree with Stefan or he'll open an investigation on you too... Posted by: Geoff Simpson

Simpson told me that he doesn't often post comments on blogs. But he does have a running e-mail debate with Eyman, and that's what pushed him to post his "PDC expert" comments.

A question for commenters. When you post here or elsewhere using a pseudonym, do you have an expectation of privacy? Should that standard be the same for a public official? I've had occasion to wonder about these things myself, but so far have not yet outed any commenter.

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