In what turned out to be a victory for the liberal tactic of breaking campaign rules and then getting fined long after the damage is done, former Democrat rising star and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon was fined $4,200 by the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) yesterday. You may have missed it because the short story was buried next to the comics section by the Seattle Times.
Reardon is best (worst) remembered for resigning in disgrace in 2013 for multiple reasons, including an affair with a county employee during the working day. What go him in trouble with the PDC was his use of county resources to campaign and raise money, and his use of taxpayer-funded staff on county time and computers to harass officials seen as enemies.
So, finally, after a lengthy 3-and-a-half year investigation into Reardon’s corruption, the PDC brought civil charges against him for repeatedly violating campaign laws.
The PDC investigation found Reardon made “hundreds of calls and texts on his county cellphone and conducted 56 campaign-related meetings with his fundraiser Colby Underwood in the executive’s office.” Additionally, the investigation determined that Reardon “placed on his staff Kevin Hulten, an aide who spent substantial time engaged in a campaign to undermine the candidacy of Mike Hope.”
Hope narrowly lost to Reardon when the county executive was running for a third term in 2011. It was widely assumed in political circles that Reardon would then go on to run for Governor in 2012.
Instead, Reardon’s ethics (or lack thereof) got in the way.
This week, the PDC finally delivered its punishment for the wayward Democrat, who has since moved out of the state. The commission fined Reardon the maximum it can, but an unusually inadequate $4,200, for violating state campaign laws and illegally using the resources of his public office. The decision was unanimous.
Commission Chairwoman Katrina Asay told the Everett Herald, “I feel like this is one of the most egregious cases I’ve seen.” The Everett Herald reports:
Asay explained that she found the case egregious because Reardon is “somebody that should have known and could have easily taken precautions to be above reproach.”
Asay acknowledged she would have liked to have imposed a larger fine. But it was not within the panel’s power and it was time to put the case behind them, she said.
“It is not like he got off Scot-free. He is out of office. He is out of the area. He is out of our lives so to speak,” she said. “I don’t think we’re ever going to have to deal with Mr. Reardon again. And when I say ‘we,’ I mean the people of the state of Washington.”
We may not have to deal with Reardon again. But, as Shift has reported, there are plenty of other disgraced Democrats that have yet to follow Reardon in his disappearing act.