He has slowly started to fade from public consciousness, but every once in awhile we are reminded that former Democrat rising star and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon resigned in disgrace in 2013. Here’s a short list of the charges that finally chased from office:
- Reardon conducted a 6-year affair with a county employee, often holding long phone conversations during office hours and leaving work early to rendezvous with her. His mistress even accompanied him on an official out-of-state trip where Reardon purchased a hotel “intimacy kit”on a county credit card.
- He used county resources to campaign and raise money, including sitting in his county office during business hours with his campaign fundraiser “dialing for dollars” on his county-paid phone for more than 50 hours. Reardon claimed that the extreme amount of time spent in his county office with fundraising consultant Colby Underwood was regarding a potential methane-to-electricity alternative energy project Underwood represented. Phone records provedthat Reardon simply made this up.
- Reardon used paid staff on county time and computersto harass officials seen as enemies of Reardon and dig up dirt on his 2011 opponent, GOP State Rep. Mike Hope. One aide, Kevin Hulten, set up shell companies, various online identities and e-mail accounts for political purposes. While on taxpayer-paid time, Hulten filed public records requests, conducted opposition research, and made disparaging online comments against anyone who was seen as not sufficiently under the thumb of Reardon.
In December 2015, after a lengthy 3-and-a-half year investigation into Reardon’s corruption, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) brought civil charges against him for repeatedly violating campaign laws. Reardon’s lawyer is now arguing that these charges should be dismissed because the “allegations are too thin and ‘statutorily defective.’”
The assistant state attorney general representing the PDC insists that, since Reardon’s defense relies on his own self-serving claims, the motion to dismiss is “off base” and that the case against Reardon should move forward to a hearing.
The PDC is scheduled to consider the dismissal motion brought by Reardon’s attorney on Thursday.
According to the assistant AG, Reardon stands to face a $10,000 fine “based on revisions in the law enacted in 2012” as opposed to $1,700 for a single violation and a maximum $4,200 for multiple violations. The argument is that commissioners are able to retroactively seek the higher penalty.
Though the punishment has never been applied, Reardon could also face a fine of $10,000 for each violation based on a provision in state law. A PDC spokesperson hinted that commissioners might discuss how to interpret their penalty authority when they consider the case on Thursday.
And, even though it will force us to give attention again to a sleazy Democrat that we had hoped had faded from public view, we’ll keep you updated on the latest information.