Posted by: sweeneyblog | May 21, 2014

Pro-Coal PAC SAVEWhatcom Blasts Me in Blog Post

Kris Halterman and her pro-coal PAC from last year, SAVEWhatcom, took issue with my recent reporting on the Charter Review Commission and published a blog post saying that I, “failed to do some basic fact checking before publishing his article” and, “Now that Riley Sweeney has been caught in the act of misrepresentation, how is one to trust what he says?”

Achievement Unlocked: Pissed Off Conservative Bloggers

Achievement Unlocked: Pissed Off Conservative Bloggers

First of all, thank you for giving me an excuse to drag my “cranky conservative achievement award” icon from the dustbin. I haven’t used it since Garin Wallace accused me of being a clown, an insult to the noble profession of clowning if I ever heard one.

Second, when I posted the article, I admitted it was a scattershot attempt to provide some more information. As it says at the top of the article, “If you have more information about some of the people running for Charter Review, feel free to add it in the comments, below is what I know off the top of my head or was able to dig up.” But enough excuses, let’s look at my horrible, horrible misrepresentations.

I stated that Delaine Clizbe was “one of the key organizers of the Whatcom Tea Party movement.” Halterman says they talked to the Whatcom Tea Party and she has never been involved.

Except, Clizbe publishes a blog in which she rants about the evils of government over-taxation when it comes to the Chuckanut Community Forest, regularly comments at the Tea Party run blog The Whatcom Excavator, and donated $240 to the Pro-Coal PAC SAVEWhatcom (as well as Bill Knutzen and Ben Elenbaas). So yes, I will update my article to clarify that she is not directly involved with the local Tea Party leadership, that is my error and I will gladly correct it.

Of course it raises the question, what is so toxic about the local Tea Party that SAVEWhatcom wants to distance their donors from it?

Kris Halterman

Kris Halterman from SAVEWhatcom

Another issue is Yvonne Goldsmith and for this one I am guilty as charged. I listed her as a key organizer with SAVEWhatcom because when Lisa McShane came to inspect their books, Goldsmith was the one helping with that process, so I put two and two together. I’m very sorry to associate Goldsmith with the pro-coal PAC SAVEWhatcom and I will update accordingly. It is accurate to refer to her as a “Republican fundraiser” having donated to, and volunteered for, the local party for the last ten years.

Finally, they objected to my calling SAVEWhatcom a “pro-coal PAC,” saying they are merely “pro-business.” When you raise over $150,000 from coal company subsidiaries and funnel it through a shell PAC (“Whatcom First”) so you don’t have to list SSA Marine as one of your top donors on all your mailers, and promote candidates that are friendly toward the proposed coal terminal, then I think calling you a “pro-coal PAC” is fair game. If you wish, you may call the Washington Conservation Voters a “pro-environment PAC” if it makes you feel better.

Finally, I don’t think this is about making sure my Charter Candidate’s article put each conservative candidate in the proper association (move Goldsmith to simply “Republican Donor” and Clizbe from “Tea Party” to “SAVEWhatcom”). I think this is because I’ve now debated Kris Halterman twice; once on the KGMI morning show and once on her own show where she had to bring Allen Brown and Charlie Crabtree to back her up. It can be rough on such a public figure as Halterman to lose two debates in a row but I’m sure there will be an opportunity this year for her to lose a third time.

That’s as close to Richard Sherman-ing as I get. Enjoy the nice weather everyone and stay tuned for my article on PCO filings.






  1. […] (De) Clizbe, one of the key organizers in the Whatcom Tea Party movement see update and one of the fundraisers for the pro-coal terminal PAC SAVEWhatcom last year that was funded by […]

  2. Riley you are delusional. You did not win the debate but you did admit and correct your multiple errors and you are commended for doing that.

  3. Just like there is no “clean” coal, there are no “clean” coal political PAC donations from coal companies and coal related companies. Even though they tried to launder their dirty coal money through the SaveWhatcom/WhatcomFirst political PAC washer.

  4. Look at Delaine’s facebook profile photo. Just look.

    • The nerve of me to have a profile picture of myself holding a sawzall. I’m pretty proud of my work ethic and the fact that I’ve done lots of non-traditional work for females. Yes, sometimes I go a bit overboard flaunting that fact. But sorry, the picture stays!

    • She’s holding a Sawzall (handheld reciprocating saw) and she’s not afraid to use it! When she’s not chained to the kitchen stove…….

    • You know what if that profile pic makes you uncomfortable Mr. Dessler, I’ll just go ahead and change it. Be sure to check out my new one!

  5. Riley, Nice of you to comment and concur to all of your posting errors. Except, you have to failed to address the connection between the “Washington Conservation Voters,” their financail connection to the “Progressive Alliance,” and Billionaire-Hedge Fund Mogel, “Tom Steyer,” who has positioned himself to prosper from green technology that’s being heavily subsidized with tax dollars while he also profits from the increased demands for coal from his foreign investments. ~ Kris Halterman

    • I wasn’t reporting about WCV – I was reporting about SAVEWhatcom.

  6. Oh and BTW you are a champion of finding the worst photo’s of people. That’s why I don’t wear hats. And that photo you dug up of Orphalee is a doozy. You do a great job of using subliminal-emotional tactics to achieve negative media perception. Proud of the hat…wish it looked better on me. 🙂

    • To be fair, I find terrible pictures of people on both sides of the aisle. The Orphalee photo is from the 2012 Republican convention.

  7. I’m not sure why anyone would criticize photos used in a story. Unless the photos are altered in some manner, then they are simply a reproduction of what the photographer would see in the subject of their photo on that particular day and time.

    Hard to fault that concept.

  8. Riley, thanks for standing up to the right-wingers who don’t want to be labeled as such. On another subject, do you have any idea who is behind the numerous radio spots and robocalls behind “My Freedom Foundation,” who are apparently opposed to the Governor’s efforts to stem climate change? I wrote them to ask if they are a Koch enterprise and their silence speaks volumes…

  9. Riley,

    You are doing something right. Approx. 98% of your information was either correct or went unchallenged!

    You could invite Kris Halterman and others to submit their best photos –then no bias on your part. Invite every candidate to submit their own “Reasons for Running or Candidate Statements. A uniform set of general questions would allow for a more uniform and better candidate comparison. The more specific political information and background information in the public realm is beneficial.


  10. The Whatcom Excavator is not a project of the Whatcom Tea Party.

    • How would we know when they write anonymously? Certainly sounds like the same voices.

  11. Lisa McShane going over to SaveWhatcom to examine their books….I’m loving it!

  12. […] of blog drama between Kris Halterman and myself leaves you wanting more, Halterman has responded to my response to her “fact-checking” of my reporting. At a certain point, it seems to devolve into a […]

  13. […] all the conservative harrumphing (yes, that’s a word) over the Charter Review candidates, do not think I’ve forgotten […]

  14. […] Speaking of the Whatcom County rumor mill, I opened up my email from the Northwest Jobs Alliance, the advocacy group created to support the Cherry Terminal project that is run by professionals (rather than SAVEWhatcom, which is run by Kris Halterman). […]

  15. […] Halterman, KGMI host and coordinator for the Coal PAC last year, served as host of the event. She stressed the importance of voting, why the Charter Review is so […]

  16. […] their political future decided by scary things like . . .  gasp . . . students! SAVEWhatcom, the coal-funded political action committee in town, posted this in the wake of Sidhu’s appointment, “No votes went to former County […]

  17. […] able to charge it up enough for Kris Halterman, organizer for the pro-coal PAC SAVEWhatcom. She argues that the size is right but it could be bigger. “You are going to have a hard time […]

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