The left-leaning Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has thrown out a complaint made by the Washington State Democrat Party against Republican Teri Hickel, who is challenging Democrat State Representative Carol Gregory in the 30th Legislative District’s special election this fall. The State Democrats’ took issue with a photo, in a political advertising piece, of Hickel accepting a “key to the city” from Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell. They alleged Hickel violated state law by implying she received an endorsement from the mayor.
Fred Kiga, executive director of the PDC, stated the following in a letter to state Democrats,
“By using the photo of Teri Hickel receiving the ‘Key to the City’ from Mayor Jim Ferrell, the Hickel campaign’s advertising represented only that Ms. Hickel has received the key to the city. No evidence was presented that the photo was inaccurate in this regard. The advertisements at issue contained no statements indicating that Mr. Ferrell supported or endorsed Ms. Hickel in her campaign for state representative.”
Perhaps more interestingly, the PDC also upheld the Hickel campaign’s claim that Gregory is “heavily supported by a California billionaire who has an extreme agenda for Washington state.” State Democrats alleged the statement was a “complete fabrication.”
According to the letter, PDC staff “found no clear and convincing evidence that the relevant statements in the campaign’s advertising were false statements of material fact.” That’s perhaps because—for once—PDC staff followed the obvious trail. The Federal Way Mirror,
“According to Hickel’s campaign’s response, Steyer funds the Next Gen PAC (Political Action Committee), which gave $200,000 to the Harry Truman Fund last fall and has been the largest contributor to the fund in the last 18 months.
“Because the Truman Fund contributed $175,000 to the New Direction PAC in July, and the New Direction PAC has supported Gregory to the tune of $105,720, the Republicans claim there’s no reason to believe the ‘carry forward funds were not co-mingled with funds from Next Gen.’
“‘The carry forward money cannot be segregated out for 2015 expenditures,’ the response states. ‘Therefore, some of Tom Steyer’s Next Gen PAC funds were used supporting Carol Gregory via New Direction PAC.’”
After Hickel defeated Gregory by 52% to 48% of the vote in the primary election, Shift predicted Democrats would come out swinging full force – with all the usual lies and dirty campaign tactics – in the general. This was just their first failed attempt at confusing the voters in the general election.