Posted by: sweeneyblog | March 14, 2014

Friday Odds and Ends: Chow Time, Buys Complaint and the Irish

Hello Loyal Readers, 

The session is frantically wrapping up so expect an update next week covering what passed, what died and all that jazz. This weekend, I plan to publish another piece of investigative journalism that digs into a fishy land deal with possible big consequences for Whatcom County. In the meantime, here are the Friday Odds and Ends.

"Chow Time"

“Chow Time”

Sen. Doug Ericksen can dine easy now that a lobbyist oversight bill has died in the Republican-controlled Senate. This bill would have forced lobbyists to file their reports electronically, making it very easy for anyone to see who they are buying meals for. Ericksen was highlighted last year for double-dipping from the reimbursement funds, having his meals paid for by lobbyists while taking the full per diem in reimbursements. Records show he ate dinner with lobbyists almost every other night while in Olympia in 2013. The ethics commission took a look at the issue over the break and decided the legislators should draft their own rules defining what is inappropriate. Surprise, surprise, they didn’t.

Whatcom Dems Chair Mike Estes

Whatcom Dems Chair Mike Estes

Meanwhile, the Whatcom Democrats have filed a PDC complaint over Rep. Vincent Buys fundraising attempts during the legislative freeze. From their press release, “This isn’t a gray area: state elected officials and their staff cannot send invitations to a campaign kickoff during session,” said Mike Estes, chair of the Whatcom Democrats. “Nobody is above the law and we expect our Representatives to follow our laws and set good examples. Ignoring the wishes of his district is one thing, but ignoring the law because he wants to get a head start on his campaign fundraising is just wrong.”

We will see what ruling the PDC provides, but at worst this would result in a small fine. Full disclosure, I am the vice-chair of the Whatcom Democrats.

Finally, enjoy a safe St. Patrick’s Day. I used to scorn this day, considering it another culture’s holiday that Americans have appropriated as an excuse to drink (see: Cinco De Mayo, Halloween and National Pancake Day). But since the Irish take it in good cheer, how can I do any less? Éirinn go Brách, my friends.



  1. Riley,

    W.C. Fields said “Never trust a man that doesn’t drink”.

    • W.C.Fields also said: “Anyone who hates children and dogs can’t be all bad.” So, Mr. Farber, if you wish to associate yourself with W.C. Fields, you’re welcome to his company.

      • W.C. Fields was a Democrat?

  2. The comments concerning Vincent Buys are blatantly false according the attorney for the PDC. Retraction please.

    • Everything I have published is accurate – there is a complaint filed over his fundraising efforts during the legislative freeze. When the PDC issues a ruling, no matter how it rules, I will cover that.

      • Any can file a complaint with the PDC, even the Whatcom Democrats.
        Kinda like a Grand jury could indict a ham sandwich.

      • Which is why in order to be “blatantly false” it would have to read “Vincent Buys is guilty of ….” instead of using words like “appears” or report on filing complaints, it’s a tactic that Fox News uses very often where their hosts will say “some would would say” or “some have asserted that your guilty of….” removing the burden of proof

  3. Which attorney, Wayne? Name? Number?

    • Melvin Belli. 415-656-6666

      • For those who don’t understand the joke, Melvin Belli was Jack Ruby’s lawyer, often described as the “King of Torts”.

  4. Anagor,

    The details of the complaint ARE blatantly false. Vincent Buys sent out invitations for a kickoff and his birthday. If he receives NO contributions at the function or related to the mailing he is NOT in violation. Obviously, if he wanted to raise money, he should have waited to mail the invitations until after the current session was over.

    Read the law.

    • Your statement has an If in it which implies uncertainty, however even if he is not raising money, it is still truth that the Whatcom Dems have filled a PDC compliant.

      • If means if…the event hasn’t taken place yet. Thanks for pointing out the obvious.

  5. Someone may have made a mistake here…usually the PDC complaint is not filed until the party filing the complaint can be absolutely sure the PDC won’t make a decision until after the election… Here, there is a one in one hundred chance the PDC will get off its duff and make a decision before the first week in November.

  6. RCW 42.17A.560

    (1) During the period beginning on the thirtieth day before the date a regular legislative session convenes and continuing through the date of final adjournment, and during the period beginning on the date a special legislative session convenes and continuing through the date that session adjourns, no state official or a person employed by or acting on behalf of a state official or state legislator may solicit or accept contributions to a public office fund, to a candidate or authorized committee, or to retire a campaign debt. Contributions received through the mail after the thirtieth day before a regular legislative session may be accepted if the contribution is postmarked prior to the thirtieth day before the session.

    I presume this is the pertinent law. There are two restrictions listed: no solicitation or acceptance of contributions.

    Solicitation: regarding the Buys Facebook Invitation…I don’t consider “Campaign Kickoff” to be synonymous with “fundraiser”. I don’t see on the invitation wording like “fundraiser” or some sort of exorbitant per-plate charge to attend the party.

    Acceptance: the event has not yet occurred; Rep. Buys has not yet had the opportunity to accept any contributions.

    • Jerry,

      You are correct but these Democrat Fools want to believe what they want to believe. However, people like Ken Mann when caught and convicted just laughed it off. A double standard if I ever saw one.

      • Convicted implies a criminal charge, however the ideal is that nobody is above the law, so Kenn Mann was found guilty of his charge and he paid for it, rather then turning a blind eye Buys should be subject to PDC laws as well, no matter how close you are with his lawyer.

      • I should note that I covered Ken Mann’s PDC troubles on this blog too.

      • Buys hasn’t broken any laws yet because he hasn’t received any campaign contributions related to his “kickoff/birthday mailing.

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