The Republican State Leadership Committee has doubled down in our state attorney general’s race.
After reporting last week that it was pouring $1.2 million into TV and radio ads criticizing Democrat Bob Ferguson and promoting Republican Reagan Dunn, an RSLC spokesman confirms the group is putting another $1.2 million into the race. Adam Temple of the RSLC said last week the ads would run in the Seattle, Spokane, Portland and Yakima markets.
The RSLC effort is an independent expenditure, meaning it cannot be coordinated in any way with Dunn’s campaign.
The RSLC’s first ad attacks Ferguson for work he did 20 years ago in law school helping to get legal representation for death row inmates. One such inmate, Ronald Turney Williams, was a convicted cop-killer. The ad spotlights a comment by Ferguson to a law journal. “It was a great feeling,” Ferguson said at the time about helping the convict get legal representation.
Ferguson is personally opposed to the death penalty. But he has said he would vigorously defend the state’s right to capital punishment if he is AG.
In an email to supporters today, Ferguson said “Karl Rove and his friends are trying to buy the Office of the Attorney General.” That’s a reference to Rove being a founder of the RSLC.
“This election is too important to let out-of-state special interests decide the outcome,” Ferguson added.
In related news, the state GOP filed a complaint Thursday with the Public Disclosure Commission, alleging Ferguson violated campaign rules.
Specifically, the complaint says Ferguson was tardy filing three contribution reports – one day late on one report, seven days late on another, and 18 days late on the third. It also alleges Ferguson has not properly disclosed the run dates of some TV ads. And it contends Ferguson spent $160 from surplus campaign funds that should have come from his regular campaign account.
Ferguson’s campaign treasurer, Phil Lloyd, says one of late reporting allegations is inaccurate. The other two were caught and self-corrected. Lloyd notes those were the only late reports out of several hundred he has filed for Ferguson.
As for the TV ad run dates, Lloyd said he’s never seen a campaign report those to the state commission. That information is available in public files that TV stations must maintain.
Lloyd said the $160 from surplus funds was a “completely permissible expense.” Overall, he said he’s “never seen a complaint with so little substance.”
State watchdogs had found that Ferguson did not file timely reports in 2005 and 2009 and fined him $500, with $300 suspended if he did not commit any other violations through 2009.