Topic: Attorney General
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November 15, 2012 at 3:45 PM
King County Executive Dow Constantine laid out more details about the process for replacing Metropolitan King County Council member Bob Ferguson, who was elected the state’s attorney general.
Candidates interested in filling the District 1 vacancy should apply by 5 p.m. Dec. 3, for vetting by a citizen advisory committee, according to Constantine.
“The people of Council District 1 can be assured that I will send the council well-qualified candidates who care about the district,” said Constantine in a statement.
Constantine said that after the election is certified on Dec. 6, he will name an advisory committee that is representative of District 1 to evaluate applicants for their qualifications, their knowledge of issues currently relevant to King County, and their knowledge of issues specific to people living in Council District 1. Preference will be given to experience with budgets, leadership and community issues.
By Dec. 21, the advisory committee will forward the names of qualified candidates to the executive. Under state law, when the position becomes vacant in January, the executive will transmit three names to the County Council for consideration. The Council has 60 days to fill the position from the date it becomes vacant.
Individuals who seek consideration for the appointment should e-mail their resume, a statement of qualifications and references with contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We earlier reported that candidates include: Dave Baker, Kenmore mayor and owner of a video inspection system company; Rod Dembowski, Seattle lawyer and member of the King County Districting Committee; Will Hall, Shoreline City Council member and Snohomish County Council legislative analyst; Cindy Ryu, District 32 state Representative and former Shoreline mayor; Keith Scully, a lawyer and Shoreline Planning Commission member.
Chuck Sloane, deputy ombudsman for King County and chair of the Municipal League of King County, also says he’s in.
November 8, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Reagan Dunn conceded this morning in the state attorney general’s race.
Dunn said he had a “great conversation” with winner Bob Ferguson in which congratulated his fellow Metropolitan King County Council member. Ferguson leads with 53 percent of the vote counted through Wednesday.
Here’s his statement:
“This morning I congratulated Washington’s next attorney general, Bob Ferguson, on his victory in Tuesday’s election. It was a hard-fought campaign, and I am proud of the work we did. It was a true honor to have had the opportunity to meet so many Washingtonians and visit so many communities across our state.
“I believe firmly that there is a time for campaigning and a time for governing. Our nation and our country have many pressing problems that demand we all reach for solutions, and I intend to lead in that effort here in King County. I believe Washington will be well-served by its next attorney general. I will miss Bob’s service on the King County Council and look forward to working with him as he heads to Olympia.
“More importantly, Paige and I are so excited to be only a few short days away from welcoming the newest addition to the Dunn family. I want to thank all my friends, supporters, family and colleagues for their well wishes.”
The Dunns are expecting a baby girl on Tuesday.
October 23, 2012 at 12:19 PM
A national Democratic group has joined the state attorney general’s race, trying to bolster the campaign of Bob Ferguson, who has been slipping in polls after attacks by a national GOP group spending $2.5 million in the race.
The Washington Committee for Justice and Fairness, funded by the Democratic Attorneys General Association and the Service Employees International Union, has reported to state watchdogs $900,000 in receipts. Records show the group has spent more than $400,000 buying time for TV ads on Seattle stations thus far.
In a 30-second TV ad scheduled to start running today, the Democrats attack Republican candidate Reagan Dunn, a former federal prosecutor, for cutting deals with criminals he prosecuted. Specifically, the ad says Dunn “cut a deal” with a drug smuggler, a child pornographer and a domestic abuser who went on to beat someone to death in a drunken rage.
Dunn notes that prosecutors strike plea deals with defendants in the vast majority of cases they handle; only a small fraction ever go to trial. “As a matter of judicial economy we’re trying to encourage cases to settle before trial, because if most went to trial the wheels of justice would grind to a halt,” he said.
Dunn also says the charge about him cutting a deal with a convicted domestic abuser is inaccurate. He contends that case was primarily handled by other prosecutors and he did not sign the plea agreement.
An SEIU spokesman acknowledged that Dunn was not listed on the plea agreement. But Dunn did submit a sentencing recommendation, spokesman Jackson Holtz noted. And that recommendation called for dropping one felony charge and reducing the sentence from the maximum of 10 years to 40 months in prison.
Look for us to fact-check the ads by both national groups more thoroughly in days to come.
The Democratic ad hits the airwaves after the Republican State Leadership Committee in Washington, D.C., bludgeoned Ferguson with ads focused on how Ferguson, as a law student two decades ago, helped a death row inmate get legal representation. In a Survey USA poll just before the GOP ads surfaced, Ferguson held an eight-point lead over Dunn. Last week a poll by the same group had Ferguson ahead by just two points, with 22 percent of voters undecided.
The spending by national groups shows how important our state race is. Currently each party has 25 state attorneys general spread across the country. Republicans are especially intent on holding the AG’s office in Washington. A spokesman for the GOP group said it has never spent as much in a single state race as it’s investing in Dunn. Both Ferguson and Dunn are seen as rising stars in their respective parties.
The ads, though, with grainy images and ominous sound effects, aim to drag the candidates down in the minds of undecided voters. “This is sort of lowbrow politics,” Dunn said of both national groups, which are running campaigns that cannot coordinate with the candidates.
September 18, 2012 at 6:13 PM
Bob Ferguson and Reagan Dunn, the candidates for state attorney general, squared off in a debate Tuesday at Town Hall in Seattle.
Not much new ground was broken, unless you count both candidates revealing they passed the bar exam on their first try. But the two King County Council members continued to highlight contrasts in their views and records.
Dunn said his first policy priority as AG would be to work on reforming regulations, so businesses are not hurt by unintended consequences of state rules. Ferguson said he would create an environmental crimes unit and criticized Dunn for previously saying he’d expand the AG’s work on government transparency by trimming its environmental section.
On consumer protection priorities, Ferguson said he would look closer at banks and improper foreclosures and businesses that improperly withhold wages and tips from employees. Dunn said he is concerned about banks manipulating so-called Libor interest rates, which may have cost the state money on its investments.
Pointing to his year-long stint as council chair, Ferguson contended he was the only candidate with experience directly supervising employees. Dunn argued that the chair’s post is “largely ceremonial” and said his year as a senior counsel to the Executive Office of U.S. Attorneys, a branch of the Department of Justice, amounted to managing thousands of federal lawyers spread around the country. Ferguson disagreed with both assertions.
Ferguson said he would not have filed a lawsuit challenging President Obama’s health care policy as current AG Rob McKenna did. He said overturning the entire law wouldn’t have been in the best interest of Washingtonians, and McKenna’s effort was not a good use of scarce state resources. Dunn said he thought the policy’s so-called individual mandate was unconstitutional and worth challenging. But he would’ve done it differently than McKenna, he said, consulting with the governor first.
And when asked what voters should be glad about if either of them got elected, Dunn said that he’d bring his prosecutor’s experience to bear on violent crime; Ferguson said that he’d bring independence to the office, free from partisan and special interest pressures.
September 14, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Gubernatorial gender gap? A spokesman for Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna, Randy Pepple, has said a few times that McKenna does not face a gender gap. The gender gap, as you may gather, is the difference between the percentage of women and the percentage of men voting for a given candidate. Often, especially in presidential elections, male voters favor Republican candidates, and women lean toward Democratic candidates.
But this new ad, ahem, makes you wonder.
Thursday, Pepple explained the ad like this:
“This ad points to Rob’s record of achievement, something which Congressman Inslee is lacking. Additionally, it highlights issues which are important to an important swing audience – suburban women voters.
The campaign’s focus is on putting Rob over 50%, and the majority of the undecided are women voters – only makes sense to make sure you are talking about issues they care about.”
A KING-TV SurveyUSA poll, by the by, shows a gender gap in what has been called one of the hottest governor’s race in the country. Here’s is how KING-TV’s Robert Mak described it:
“Women favor Inslee over McKenna by a big margin (53 percent to 39 percent), while men narrowly favor McKenna (48 percent to 45 percent),” wrote Mak.
Still staring at primary election results:
This map showing votes from the Aug. 7 primary prompts a few questions. I understand Democrat Bob Ferguson, candidate for attorney general, beating his Republican rival in counties shown in blue — but not the three in eastern Washington. Those counties, more often than not, vote Republican, with the occasional exception of Spokane or Whitman counties, the latter being the home of Washington State University. But in this case, all three counties voting for the Democrat for a law-and-order type of position seemed unusual. Conservative Republican Steve Pidgeon was in the race during the primary and was a factor. But one wonders if there is some sort of name familiarity thing working in Ferguson’s favor there. You know, a politician or other famous person named Ferguson on the east side? What gives?
Valerie Rongey, vice chair of the Washington State Democratic Party, lives in Spokane. She noted that Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Democrat, also sort of surprisingly, won both Spokane and Asotin counties in her race against state Sen. Mike Baumgartner. It’s highly unusual for a Democrat like Cantwell to take Asotin County. Rongey then looked up the name Bob Ferguson and found a martial arts instructor with that name in Pullman, a Washington State University professor and a musician-turned-country record producer who graduated from WSU many years ago. Keep an eye on the general election totals in those same counties.
Endorsements: There are a ba-jillion endorsements of various candidates and statewide initiatives at this point in the election cycle — sometimes too many to keep track of. But one un-endorsement stands out, the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s decision to oppose the tax threshold required by Initiative 1185. If the measure passes, it would continue the requirement that state lawmakers vote by a two-thirds majority to approve a tax increase. To be clear, the chamber endorsed the son of I-1185, Initiative 1053, but opposes the idea this time around. Read for yourself, but the gist of it is that the chamber now believes the measure would make it difficult to pay for investments in transportation and education.
Brits and Portlanders: Portland, one of the hippest cities in the U.S., is coming around to fluoridation ever so slowly. But finally the city is prepared to boost the public bite.
September 7, 2012 at 9:24 AM
Attorney General candidate Bob Ferguson held a luncheon fundraiser Thursday featuring Oregon’s new attorney general Ellen Rosenblum, the state’s first female AG.
At the $100-a-plate event, where supporters lunched on croissants filled with portobello-and-mozzarella, Rosenblum reinforced one of Ferguson’s campaign themes: that he, as a Democrat, would better protect women’s rights than his opponent, Republican Reagan Dunn.
“We can’t let Mr. Dunn bring a war on women’s health to the Northwest,” Rosenblum told the crowd at the Washington State Convention Center — even though Dunn is pro-choice, supports same-sex marriage, and was raised by his single mother, the late U.S. Rep. Jennifer Dunn, a GOP moderate.
Rosenblum and Ferguson said women’s reproductive rights were relevant in the AG’s race. She said that because Dunn told a Bellingham radio show that he hoped pharmacists would win their legal battle with the state allowing them not to sell morning-after contraceptives if doing so conflicted with their religious beliefs. (Despite his comment, Dunn contends as attorney general he would continue to press the state’s case that pharmacists must provide morning-after contraceptives.)
Rosenblum is something of an oddity as a state attorney general. A career prosecutor and judge, Rosenblum, 61, doesn’t seem to fit the profile of AG as “Aspiring Governor” or ambitious politician. She was appointed to the post this year by Gov. John Kitzhaber after her predecessor John Kroger stepped down to become president of Portland’s Reed College. In November’s election Rosenblum faces Republican challenger James Buchal. (Disclosure: I worked for a newspaper in the 1990s owned by Rosenblum’s husband.)
Dunn holds his big general election fundraiser Sept. 20 in Bellevue. Both Dunn and Ferguson recently topped $1 million in campaign contributions. National groups, representing both parties, are expected to make independent expenditures in Washington state’s AG race.
August 29, 2012 at 6:00 AM
Good morning, All.
Forget all that chit-chat about president, governor and attorney general. That’s so 2012. Let’s talk for a minute about the 2013 Seattle mayor’s race. It is taking shape, quietly, behind the scenes. No announcements, official or otherwise. But I am going out on a very sturdy limb to say I expect to see at least two candidates file against incumbent Mayor Mike McGinn by the end of the year, state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, and Seattle City Councilman Tim Burgess. There may be more. Folks around town say they hear Burgess is all but certain to run but won’t say an official word before the end of the year.
Murray was glib, but said: “I will make a decision and then announce (something) after the November election, after the Referendum 74 (gay marriage campaign).”
Seattle City Councilman Bruce Harrell is also considering the race, but is not expected to say too much about that between now and the end of the year.
Some of the enthusiasm surrounding the approve Referendum 74 campaign is connected to the idea that Washington could be the first state in the country where same-sex marriage is approved in a popular vote. Not so fast. Washington is on the West Coast, Pacific Standard Time on Election Day. Technicality? Maybe. But Maine or Maryland, which are both voting on gay marriage that night, could be first, by dint of closing their polls ahead of Washington’s. And do not forget — who could? — Washington has a reputation for slow ballot counting, due in part to that whole postmark-by-election-night rule.
New-age Ramtha “channeler,” J.Z. Knight, gives $50,000 to the Democrats, who have regularly been padding Democrat Jay Inslee’s campaign. Who’s Ramtha, or for that matter, Knight?
The general election calendar got busier this week, with some firm dates established for debates among candidates for attorney general and governor. The candidates and their handlers argued about it for a while, but agreed to head-to-head match-ups when the time came. Here is a first crack at a general election calendar. Click ahead on the arrow below.
August 28, 2012 at 10:58 AM
State attorney general candidates Bob Ferguson and Reagan Dunn made quite an impression during their crisp, confrontational first debate in June.
Robert Mak of King5-TV reported that the warm-up act, Ferguson and Dunn, “stole the show” from debate headliners, Jay Inslee and Rob McKenna, who are running for governor.
Worry not, political nerds, more Ferguson-Dunn debates are coming. The two campaigns have agreed to several already. Here are details:
Wednesday, Sept. 12, 6:30-7:30 pm. Location: Seattle Times offices, 1000 Denny Way. Sponsored by the Washington Coalition for Open Government and The Seattle Times. Broadcast on KUOW and TVW.
Tuesday, Sept. 18, 12:00-1:30 pm. Location: Town Hall, 1119 8th Avenue, Seattle. Sponsored by Seattle CityClub, Henry M. Jackson Foundation and the Slade Gorton International Policy Center. Broadcast by the Seattle Channel.
Tuesday, Oct. 2. Time, exact location in Yakima, and other details to be announced. Sponsored by Association of Washington State Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, KCTS public broadcasting stations and the Yakima Herald-Republic.
Stay tuned. Ferguson has agreed to a couple more debates that Dunn’s campaign is still considering.
July 26, 2012 at 6:00 PM
Not surprisingly, politics in the state attorney general’s race have seeped into the business of the King County Council, where AG candidates Reagan Dunn and Bob Ferguson both serve.
The latest instance occurred Tuesday when a committee vote on a study led to all kinds of charges: Ferguson fired off a news release that Dunn missed a crucial vote; Dunn responded that Ferguson had unethically forced the vote only because Dunn left the room; and Kathy Lambert, chair of the Law and Justice Committee, said Ferguson “threw a tantrum.”
Here’s what happened: Lambert’s committee held a hearing on a motion that sought to ask County Executive Dow Constantine to conduct a study on the feasibility of starting a gang court similar to one in Yakima County.
Testimony came mostly from public defenders who expressed concerns about labeling and stigmatizing young offenders as gang members in court. A council analyst said he didn’t think the proposal was ready for a vote. But to Lambert’s surprise, Ferguson called for a vote on the motion. The vote was two in favor (Ferguson and Joe McDermott) and two against (Lambert and Larry Gossett). And Dunn, a co-sponsor of the motion, was absent, having left the meeting shortly before Ferguson insisted on a vote.
In a tie vote the motion essentially died in committee.
Ferguson sent out his news release, saying Dunn’s “dismal voting record was on full display” at the meeting. He pointed to a Seattle Times article that confirmed that Dunn had missed more full council votes (491) than any other member during his tenure. He also noted that Dunn had left early during last week’s joint city-county hearing on a proposed new sports arena.
But Lambert had a different take on the events. She said she told Ferguson the issue was not supposed to come up for a vote; she said she agreed to a courtesy hearing on the motion because Ferguson was eager to move the idea forward. But she, too, had concerns about the wisdom of creating a gang court and wanted to see more data, particularly from a study being conducted by the Center for Children & Youth Justice that was due by the year’s end. And, she said, Dunn had a meeting scheduled elsewhere that afternoon.
Although the committee agenda listed the gang-court study for a possible vote, Lambert said that was a mistake by her staff.
Ferguson “was told months ago Reagan had a meeting and there wasn’t supposed to be a vote,” she said. Ferguson’s news release about Dunn was “just Bob having a temper tantrum,” she said, because the motion did not pass.
Dunn noted that he stayed at the committee meeting for about an hour, voted on two matters, and left for a campaign-related meeting with the Washington State Medical Association. He missed two other votes: one to accept a report on the county’s automated fingerprint system; another to approve a new contract between the county and the employees in the Department of Adult and Juvenile Detention.
“What happened was Ferguson saw me leave and forced a vote,” Dunn said. “To me that’s unethical legislating.”
Dunn said he would’ve voted against the motion as crafted because of the skeptical testimony and lack of data from Yakima about its experience with a gang court. He said Ferguson should have asked him how to secure his vote and “worked it like every other piece of legislation.”
Gossett, who supports Ferguson’s campaign for attorney general but opposed the study, said he wasn’t aware of any agreement not to hold a vote Tuesday.
Ferguson stood by his actions, saying he pushed a vote because he thought it was important to get the study going. “Other folks may want to wait. I’m not interested in waiting to address the gang problem,” he said.
He didn’t realize Dunn had left the meeting for good, he said. But he added: “He had other priorities that afternoon; he has to defend that.”
As for the purported agreement with Lambert, Ferguson said: “The facts are straightforward. The item was listed for possible action.”
What about the staff report that the motion wasn’t ready yet? “Our job is to make independent judgments, not listen to staff reports,” he said.
And in a related note, Ferguson has criticized Dunn’s voting record in a YouTube ad that uses footage from TVW, the state’s version of C-SPAN. TVW has long had a policy forbidding use of its footage for political campaigns, and has castigated Ferguson for going against that. Ferguson maintains that it’s legal to use the footage and he will continue to because “voters are entitled to see it.”
There is a footnote to all of this. Dunn’s full-council voting record was the worst when the Times did its analysis last month, based on records through the first-quarter of 2012. But more recent records that include the second-quarter of this year show that Jane Hague eclipsed Dunn for the worst record with 502 missed full-council votes, while Dunn held at 491, now second-worst.
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