It is that time of the election cycle when campaigns start filing complaints with the state Public Disclosure Commission.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee fired first, filing a complaint on Thursday with the PDC that alleges GOP candidate Rob McKenna has under reported debts and expenses, and that he used money from his attorney general campaign fund to pay for gubernatorial campaign expenses.
“We believe this is the tip of the iceberg,” said Sterling Clifford, Inslee’s communications director.
Not to be outdone, McKenna’s campaign said they plan to file a PDC complaint next week alleging that Inslee illegally moved money from his congressional campaign account to his gubernatorial fund.
Inslee’s complaint contends McKenna did not report thousands of dollars in expenditures as required by law. His camp also argues McKenna improperly hired staff to work on the gubernatorial campaign using money from his attorney general campaign fund.
The complaint references a Seattle Times story from May that noted McKenna’s attorney-general campaign spent more than $500,000 on consultants, media relations, field organization and other campaign expenses in the 19 months before he declared his candidacy for governor.
Randy Pepple, McKenna’s campaign manager, has said McKenna did not decide to run for governor until shortly before he announced his candidacy, and that up until that point all the money was spent preparing for a statewide re-election campaign as attorney general.
In an interview this morning, Pepple said Inslee’s complaint is bogus and an attempt to distract voters from the complaint McKenna is about to file. Pepple said they’ll allege that Inslee illegally transferred money from his congressional account and failed to prove he got permission from some donors, among other things.
He also said, “It’s the height of hypocrisy for them to make these allegations against Rob when Jay Inslee kept on fulltime campaign staff after his (congressional) re-election in 2010 all the way to June. To prepare for what?”
PDC officials said they will likely decide whether to pursue the complaint filed by Inslee’s campaign within 14 days.