The state Public Disclosure Commission has decided not to take action on a complaint filed against Jay Inslee by Susan Hutchison, chair of the Washington State Republican Party. The complaint alleged that our green governor violated state lobbying laws with emails that amounted to personal grassroots lobbying, using campaign funds.
By every indication, Inslee did violate lobbying laws. Or, at the very least, crossed a line. Throughout the 2015 legislative session, Inslee sent emails to supporters on issues and bills in front of state lawmakers. The emails asked recipients to “support specific initiatives backed by Inslee and to add their names to petitions.”
Inslee’s representatives told PDC investigators that “names and emails of respondents were entered into campaign databases but no petitions were ever created or sent to lawmakers.” Inslee’s lawyer claimed that the campaign “did not use the responses to present a petition or similar message to state legislators.”
Essentially, Inslee’s lawyer admitted that our green governor lied to his supporters. The Washington Republican Party put it this way,
“With Inslee facing charges of unethical behavior, his lawyer’s response has been to admit that Inslee lied to his own supporters in the many emails he sent them during the legislative session.”
Whether or not the “petitions” were ever sent to lawmakers, the fact remains that Inslee used sketchy—and deceptive tactics—to promote his policy agenda. As one regional field director for the state GOP who testified before the PDC pointed out, “either the emails constituted lobbying or the governor’s campaign ‘systematically sent deceptive emails to supporters’ because of references to petitions that were never sent.”