Anybody home at state Rep. Goodman's campaign HQ?
October 8, 2008 · Updated 4:05 PM
Is state Rep. Roger Goodman deliberately trying to throw his re-election effort? Judged by a review of his campaign website and brochure, you have to ask the question given the ethical concerns they raise.
In my last column, I broke the story that Goodman, a first term legislator, apparently had violated ethical rules to which all members of the Legislature are subject. By using press releases issued during the legislative session and generated by legislative staff (including staff contact information) with public resources, Goodman ran afoul of clear ethical guidelines.
A complaint filed by yours truly is pending before the Legislative Ethics Board.
Whether it was the complaint or my last column, all of a sudden the offending press releases quickly disappeared from Goodman’s website.
But now we’re talking bigger fish – fish for which there can be costly monetary penalty for taking.
It’s against state law to use publicly owned assets or on-duty public employees to further a campaign for election of a person to an office. This includes public buildings, vehicles, or public employees such as police officers, fire fighters, and teachers.
Looking at Goodman’s website and clicking on the Legislation tab (where citizens interested in learning about his Olympia track record would go first), you will find several photographs of him that look to be clear violations of state campaign laws.
Pictures of Goodman inside a police car, a police communications center, standing beside what looks to be a Kirkland police car with what clearly is a Kirkland police officer are, if they’re what they lead us to believe they are, clearly improper and unlawful.
Additionally, there is a picture of Goodman reading to some kids. What can be wrong with reading to kids? Nothing per se, unless the picture was taken inside a public school, in which case it then becomes the improper use of a public facility for campaign purposes.
Finally, there’s a picture of him in what looks to be a computer training center and captioned with an explanation of his work on behalf of Lake Washington Technical College. Connecting the dots, this one also looks suspect.
The casual observer – or the partisan Democrat – might snort at seeming “technical” violations of campaign laws. In 2002, Rep. Geoff Simpson, D-Covington learned to his chagrin that the State Public Disclosure Commission didn’t share that opinion.
And the PDC didn’t share it to the tune of a $2,000 fine against Simpson for using a bunch of on-duty firefighters and publicly owned equipment (which is on-duty 24/7) in a photo shoot during his 2000 campaign.
Rep. Goodman, who is an attorney with considerable experience in the public sector, ought to know better. Or does he really care? I see lots of signs out for his Republican opponent, former Rep. Toby Nixon, and for his 45th District Democrat seat mate, Rep. Larry Springer. But there aren’t many for him. What’s the deal with that?
One theory – heard from several sources – has it that Goodman isn’t that enamored with serving in the Legislature since an issue near and dear to his heart, legalizing drug use, went nowhere fast in the last session. It seems that House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-43rd District, who wants a veto-proof Democrat majority in Olympia more than he wants anything, won’t let the drug issue put on a uniform let alone play on the team or get to first base.
But still, campaign ethics rules aren’t exactly rocket science. And Goodman, again the experienced lawyer with several degrees from prestigious universities and many years of experience working in the public sector, has to be charged with the knowledge of them. This level of campaign sloppiness is inexplicable unless you look at as a going-through-the-motions exercise that’s indifferent about the ultimate result.
Is anybody home over there at Goodman campaign headquarters?