Washington campaign finance laws prohibit state-level elected officials from raising money during the legislative session, to avoid the appearance of corruption. As Shift reported, that has made some elected officials (read: Jay Inslee) rather antsy – not the corruption part, but the lack of fundraising.
Inslee did not waste a minute in his race to start fundraising for his re-election bid as soon as the 2016 legislature adjourned following its wasteful special session. And, it’s Inslee’s haste that could put him in some hot water, depending on how the state’s Public Disclosure Commission interprets these state laws.
Because you see, for the governor, the legislative session ends when he signs, vetoes, or does not sign all the bills the Legislature has passed and sent to him.
Yet, Inslee began raising money (using false and desperate appeals) as soon as legislators wrapped up the session, but before he signed all the bills on his desk and before decided against signing charter schools bill.
This isn’t the first time Inslee has seemingly operated within the letter of the campaign finance law, while violating the spirit of the law. Back in 2013, while he was governor-elect but not yet sworn in, and after the legislature was already in session, Inslee was still raising money when other state officials were forbidden to do so.
It’s understandable that Inslee is worried. After all, he is not a popular governor.
According to an Elway poll taken in January, Inslee’s job performance ratings have been declining “since his first anniversary in office.” A majority of voters believe Inslee is doing a “poor” or “only fair” job. Since last July, Inslee dropped from 41 percent to 33 percent in the positive marks.
Washingtonians look at Inslee and do not see a leader, perhaps because he has demonstrated that leadership is not his strong suit. He proves that he is not a leader at every opportunity, which does nothing to fix his public image. Rather, Inslee chooses to dance around election laws and, ironically, only reinforces his weak image.