If you’re eligible to vote but not registered, Washington’s Secretary of State’s office has a message for you: Take three minutes and register online.
There are 210,000 eligible residents in the state who aren’t registered to vote. About one-third are younger than 18 and 60 percent are under the age of 30, according to the secretary of state’s office.
If you fall under the eligible-but-not-registered category, you might see one of these postcards in your mailbox soon:
“We hope that citizens receiving the postcard will realize how easy it is to register online to vote here in Washington,” said Secretary of State Kim Wyman. “Registering is that key step that will allow them to speak through their ballot on the important races and measures facing voters this fall.”
Turnout for the primary in Clark County was very low, with only 28 percent of registered voters bothering to cast their ballot.
The general election is Nov. 4. The deadline to register online or by mail is Oct. 6. The final day for people to apply in person at their county elections office is Oct. 27, according to the secretary of state.
Federal grant money is being used to pay the $48,300 to mail the postcard to the 210,000 people.
Think that money could be better spent?
Guess you should vote!
As Republicans and Democrats fight for control of the U.S. Senate this November, they are getting help from so-called “dark money,” according to a Washington State University researcher who keeps an eye on national campaign advertising.
Outside interest groups are pumping money into campaigns, footing the bill for television ads and billboards, and doing so anonymously.
“I suspect the numbers will go up even more during the crucial weeks leading up to Nov. 4,” said WSU political scientist Travis Ridout, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, which recently released a report (http://mediaproject.wesleyan.edu/2014/09/04/heated-battle-for-u-s-senate-draws-deluge-of-outside-group-ads-most-are-dark-money/) highlighting the use of dark money.
With Democrats battling to hold on to their majority and Republicans hoping to take control, most of the money is being funneled to districts where the race is close.
The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission, removed restrictions on how much money corporations could contribute to campaigns. Special interest groups have since formed, which are not required to publish their donors’ names.
A record $68 million has been paid for TV ads this election cycle, according to the report.
The study found Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Koch brothers, has contributed the most with $16.7 million. Crossroads GPS, with ties to Republican political consultant Karl Rove, is next in line. The most Democratic-backed dark money source is Patriot Majority, which has dipped into it’s bank account to the tune of $6.2 million.
He first burst on the scene, after all, when he funneled nearly $180,000 out of his own bank account into his political action committee NoTolls.com. And while running for county commissioner, his own war chest benefited from his personal millions.
He has yet, however, to give to any cold-hard cash to incumbent legislative candidates. His fellow Republicans seeking re-election at the state level include; Reps. Liz Pike, of Camas, Paul Harris, of Vancouver, and Brandon Vick, of Felida.
He did donate to Vick’s Republican opponent in the primary, John Ley, who was defeated.
But he hasn’t totally forgotten his Republican counterparts vying to get to Olympia. Earlier this month, he cut a check to the Washington State Republican Party for $25,000, which presumably benefits local Republicans in their bid for re-election.
And political newcomer Lynda Wilson, who is hoping to oust incumbent Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, has benefited from Madore’s millions. She has received two checks for $950 each.]]>
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, of Spokane, the highest-ranking woman in the House Republican party, is being accused by her former communication director of numerous ethics violations. For the first time this week, the staffer detailed the allegations.
McMorris Rodgers is also one of U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler’s mentors and former employer.
Herrera Beutler’s office did not comment on the investigation, only noting that Herrera Beutler last worked in the office nearly seven years ago and was not there when Todd Winer, her former communications director, was hired.
Winer alleged his former boss used taxpayer money for campaign purposes. The Ethics Committee is reportedly investigating. Until this week, Winer hadn’t commented on the case. But on Monday, he sent a detailed email to a handful of reporters listing his complaints.
CQ Roll Call published the email, you can read it here.
In the email, Winer wrote the Office of Congressional Ethics found “substantial reason to believe that CMR (McMorris Rodgers) violated House rules pertaining to leadership races – mixing taxpayer money and campaign money in her leadership race against a Republican colleague in 2012.”
He also alleges that the Congresswoman has slandered him to “distract” from the investigation.
McMorris Rodgers’ office responded, according to CQ Roll Call, with a statement from her lawyer, stating “We are sorry to see more frivolous allegations and information from the same source. From the beginning the Congresswoman and her staff have fully cooperated with the Ethics Committee and will continue to do so should it have more questions.”
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Buetler, R-Camas, has repeatedly been criticized for avoiding the traditional town hall format.
Turns out, she’s not the only one.
Earlier this month, the Huffington Post ran an article with the headline, “The Congressional Town Hall is on Death’s Doorstep.”
Traditionally, the August recess was reserved as a time for members of Congress to touch base with their constituents.
Last month, members of Congress held 588 town halls, compared to 792 in August 2013, according to LegiStorm, which tracks press releases, newsletters, social media and other sources.
Rep. Vance McAllister, R-Oklamaha, held 23 town hall meetings last month, the most of any lawmaker, according to LegiStorm. Oregon’s Rep. Peter Defazio, a Democrat, was close behind, hosting 19 events.
Herrera Beutler responds to the criticism by pointing out she’s taken an alternative tact to town halls, in part, by hosting “community coffees”; people who live nearby are called and invited to participate.
“I’ve hosted a tremendous amount of meetings in the district, and I’m not going to let up on that and I’m going to do it in a way that I think best allows people to share honestly and openly and frankly what their thoughts and needs are,” she has told The Columbian.
Not long after taking office, former Congressman Brian Baird went on an all-expense paid trip to Israel.
The powerful lobbying group known as American Israel Public Affairs Committee picked up the tab.
“They do have you meet with the Palestinian leaders, in a sort of token process,” Baird said of the trip. “But then when you’re done with it they tell you everything the Palestinian leaders said that’s wrong. And, of course, the Palestinians don’t get to have dinner with you at the hotel that night.”
As Jeff Mapes with The Oregonian first pointed out in a post, Baird is featured in a recent issue of The New Yorker, as being highly critical of the group’s sway in Washington, D.C.
Baird details his evolution from someone who received campaign donations from AIPAC to one of their more vocal critics.
Baird told The New Yorker’s Connie Bruck, “When key votes are cast, the question on the House floor, troublingly, is often not ‘What is the right thing to do for the United States of America?’ but ‘How is AIPAC going to score this?’ ” He added, “There’s such a conundrum here, of believing that you’re supporting Israel, when you’re actually backing policies that are antithetical to its highest values and, ultimately, destructive for the country.”
Baird said in 2003 when asking about one of his constituents, Rachel Corrie, who was killed buy a bulldozer in Gaza while protesting the demolition of a Palestinians’ home, he realized members of Congress were seen as being “for sale.”
When asking about Corrie initially, he was told, “There’s a simple explanation—here are the facts.” Or, “We will look into it.”
Later, he told The New Yorker, it emerged, “There is a disdain for the U.S., and a dismissal of any legitimacy of our right to question—because who are we to talk about moral values?” Baird told me. “Whether it’s that we didn’t help early enough in the Holocaust, or look at what we did to our African-Americans, or our Native Americans—whatever! And they see us, members of Congress, as basically for sale. So they want us to shut up and play the game.”
The state’s top court is asking why it shouldn’t hold the Legislature in contempt for failing to adequately fund the state’s public schools.
The conflict stems from a 2012 state Supreme Court case, McCleary v. State of Washington. The court ruled that the state was not meeting its “paramount duty” of adequately funding education and therefore was in violation of the Constitution. Lawmakers have until 2018 to boost education funding to a level the court deems sufficient.
The state ordered the Legislature to show by April 30th how “through immediate, concrete action, that it is making real and measurable progress, not simply promises” toward providing ample funding for basic education.
Lawmakers submitted a report but it did not include a plan detailing concrete action. The plaintiffs in the court case asked the court to take action; the court has now asked state lawmakers to defend themselves.
TVW will broadcast the hearing live.]]>
Surprisingly, not bad.
And only our neighbor to the south, Oregon, registered fewer corrupt state employees.
Nebraska, Iowa and Vermont trail closely behind.
Click here and scroll to the bottom to see how all the states rank.
The Post writes, “Those states score well because of robust transparency laws, according to ethics watchdogs. Oregon’s rules for campaign finance disclosures are among the toughest in the country, and lobbyists and special interest groups cannot give gifts worth more than $50 to state employees. Oregon also requires most public-improvement contracts to be awarded based on competitive bidding, avoiding no-bid contracts, which can be a major source of corruption.”]]>
Here’s an updated dispatch from county beat reporter Tyler Graf:
Sometimes in politics, silence speaks louder than words.
And if that’s the case, then Thursday’s meeting of Republican precinct committee officers laid several volumes on U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler. At least according to precinct committee officer Joseph Wagner, who has been waging a campaign against the Republicans’ endorsement of her.
On the heels of her primary win over Michael Delavar, someone perceived to be “more conservative,” Herrera Beutler did not receive the local Republicans’ endorsement. What did she get?
At the meeting, Wagner said he was handing out pamphlets arguing that the PCOs shouldn’t endorse Herrera Beutler.
At the end of the meeting, he said, not one of the 97 or so PCOs in attendance made so much as a motion for Herrera Beutler’s endorsement despite having time to do so, something Wagner chalked up to a growing dissatisfaction with the congresswoman’s conservative principles — or, in his opinion, her lack thereof.
“What it means is that it’s not enough for you to win your primary to get our endorsement,” said Wagner, who led efforts not to endorse Herrera Beutler.
He said there were several reasons why he couldn’t support her endorsement.
“I think the fact that there was not an effort to get her endorsement means silence is acceptance,” he said.
No Republican candidate was endorsed at the meeting, however. Casey Bowman, Herrera Beutler’s spokesman, questioned the significance of her not receiving the local party’s nod. “Neither Linda Wilson, Paul Harris, Santa Claus, Ronald Reagan nor anyone else got endorsed,” he wrote in an email.
Although, Harris and Wilson were endorsed at an earlier meeting, according to sources.
And the important thing to point out here is that out of that list of actual candidates — Wilson or Harris — neither was pitted against a fellow Republican in the primary the way Herrera Beutler was.
Regardless of the posturing, and its significance, it will be interesting to see how the local Republican Party, as an entity, supports Herrera Beutler moving forward. Will they eventually endorse her?
But there was one thing precinct committee officers couldn’t hold their tongues about.
That was the proposed home rule charter, which will appear on ballots this November.
They passed a resolution against the charter with an overwhelming voice vote.
The resolution had been floating in the political tides for a few weeks, dismissed by some as an attempt by a handful of Republicans to quash the charter. But Thursday’s vote shows that, among the party faithful, the home rule charter has scant support.
County Auditor Greg Kimsey, a Republican, was at the meeting to champion the charter. But his support didn’t rub off on the rest of the PCO’s.
Kenny Smith, chairman of the Clark County Republicans, said he now expects grassroots efforts to counter the pro-charter campaign, which is flush with money from a political action committee.
“There will be a coordinated effort, but how the Republican Party will participate in it will be decided,” Smith said, adding that he expects PCOs to hit the streets to get the word out. “I would imagine we’d figure out a way to coordinate our efforts with the newsletter.”]]>
Only 28 percent of Clark County’s registered voters showed up to vote this primary.
Donna Quesnell would like to see that change.
“When we think of the decades and the hardships our women ancestors endured to give us voting rights ….,” Donna Quesnell wrote in a news release.
This Tuesday, Quesnell is once again rallying the Women Democrats of Clark County and supporters to walk along the Columbia River in celebration of women winning the right to vote.
To win the right to vote, women were jailed and sometimes attacked.
They did it without “firing a shot, throwing a rock,” a letter sent from Quesnell reads.
The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was approved on Aug. 26, 1920.
Women in Washington state got the right to vote a whole decade earlier, in 1910.
The only female statewide elected official currently is Secretary of State Kim Wyman.
For more information, email Donna at email@example.com.]]>