Port of Seattle: Formal Investigation opened on misuse of funds

Just days before the general election, I accused 4 incumbent port commissioners of misusing public funds. Since then, it has been all quiet from the Public Disclosure Commission, and with the exception of the Seattle Times, the press as well. Now, just days after the election being certified with blowouts for all the incumbents involved, the Washington Public Disclosure Commission has opened a formal investigation.

In addition to investigating misuse of public facilities, failure to report contributions, and over-limit contributions from the Port, the PDC will investigate the legality of the Public Service Announcements welcoming travelers to the airport. From the letter: ‘PDC staff will also consider whether the four commissioners violated RCW 42.17A.575 which states in part, “No state-elected official or municipal officer may speak or appear in a public service announcement that is broadcast, shown, or distributed in any form whatsoever during the period beginning January 1st and continuing through the general election if that official or officer is a candidate…”‘.

As was shown in the election, all four candidates had blowout races. The most interesting in this election was the race of Incumbent John Creighton vs Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis. Despite Mr. Lewis’s competitive campaign, complete with major endorsements and a sizable budget, the incumbent John Creighton won by a landslide. I urge the PDC to quickly complete this investigation, and if they find my allegations to be true, to forward their findings to the Attorney General so the election may be overturned.

On average, the PDC opens less than 30 formal investigations a year, covering around 25% of complaints received. The majority of investigations that have been opened in the last four years have concluded with the commission finding a violation. The fact that the commission has opened an investigation means that they believe there may be sufficient evidence to find a violation of state law.

If we wish to continue to maintain our republic as a free and democratic nation, it is critical that our elections at all levels be conducted in a fair manner and be free from government interference. I feel strongly that the election results would have been different if the incumbents had not used public resources to unfairly support their campaigns.