Friday, February 28, 2014

Why are Benton, Roach and Rivers protecting Brad Owen?

Yesterday, a bill (SHB1298) was amended in Sen. Roach's Government Operations Committee (Co-Chaired by Sen. Benton) that has one purpose and one purpose only: to provide special protection for the Lieutenant Governor, Brad Owen and others who are embroiled in legal issues concerning the legislature and the Ethics Committee.

Brad is facing some serious legal challenges upcoming.

He's looking at answering some very embarrassing questions concerning how he';s been spending money and what this amendment does is actually enable Owen specifically and Benton generally to to use campaign funds to pay their legal fees and fines.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen: these people are going to use other people's money to pay their expenses on their bad behavior.  This allows them to use campaign funds to pay for lawyers, fees, and penalties.

If/when Brad Owens is popped for various violations, that means that he gets away with it since he won't have to pay anything out of pocket,.

If/when Benton's lawsuit against the Senate that I've been hearing about fails, then he won't have to pay any of the fees or costs associated with that: and that under this law, he can pay all costs associated with such an effort without going out of pocket.  It also allows the use of campaign funds to pay the income taxes on what, unarguably, amounts to income.

It's open season for those at risk because of their behavior if the Ethics Committee comes after them.

Here's the bill report of this idiocy:
Ethics Defense Trust Funds. A state officer may establish an ethics defense trust fund (trust fund) and name a trustee if the state officer is subject to an internal legislative investigatory proceeding or complaint alleging a violation of the Ethics Act relating to the state officer's official duties.

Trust Fund Organization and Use.  Only one trust fund may be maintained at any one time. The trust fund must be in a single exclusive account at a bank, mutual savings bank, savings and loan association, or credit union doing business in Washington. The maximum contribution by any person per year to a trust fund is the same as the campaign contribution limit per person per election cycle established by the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) for candidates for statewide executive office. All contributions must be deposited into the trust fund account within three working days after receipt. Account records must be kept for a minimum of two years.

The proceeds from the trust fund may not be utilized for personal uses.  However, state officers are allowed to accept contributions to the trust fund. The proceeds of the trust funds may be used to:
defray legal expenses and pay monetary penalties incurred by the state officer as a result of a complaint filed or issued for an Ethics Act violation;  
defray costs reasonably incurred in administering the trust fund, including but not limited to costs incident to the solicitation of funds;
discharge any tax liabilities incurred as a result of the creation, operation, or administration of the trust fund; and
defray or discharge legal expenses, penalties, costs, or liabilities incurred before the trust fund was established if the legal expenses, penalties, costs, or liabilities are related to the complaint proceedings for which the trust fund was established.
Trustee Regulations and Responsibilities.  The trustee may not be a member of the family of or an employee of the state officer. The trustee is responsible for the following:
the receipt and deposit of contributions to the trust fund;
the authorization of expenditures and disbursements from the trust fund; and
the performance of other tasks incident to the administration of the trust fund.
Trust Fund Termination.  A trust fund established may be terminated by the state officer who established the trust fund or the terms of the trust agreement. A trust agreement may provide that a trust fund is terminated not later than six months following the completion of any authorized payments. Following termination of a trust fund, the trustee may not accept contributions to or make expenditures from the trust fund. Not later than 30 days after a trust fund is terminated, the trustee must return any monies remaining in the trust fund to contributors on a pro rata basis.

Reporting Requirements.  The trust fund agreement, contributions, expenditures, and other transfers of monies to or from the trust fund must be reported to the PDC once per month, within ten days after the completion of the month, for all transactions occurring in that month. Failure to report as required is a violation of the Fair Campaign Practices Act. Reports filed with the PDC are subject to public disclosure.
What were they thinking?  Who are these people to get a pass from all of this?  How dare they attach this to a sunshine law that has nothing to do with covering elected official's asses?

So much for the honor of conservative Republican senators.
NEW SECTION.
Sec. 2. (1)(a) A state officer as defined in RCW

4 42.52.010 may establish an ethics defense trust fund and name a trustee

5 if the state officer is subject to a complaint for an ethics violation

6 filed or issued under this chapter relating to the state officer's

7 official duties.

8 (b) For the purposes of this section and sections 3 through 5 of

9 this act, "official duties" include, but are not limited to, all

10 activities prescribed in the state Constitution and state statutes,

11 legislatively funded or mandated authority and responsibilities, job

12 description, or any tasks related to carrying out the activities of the

13 state officer's position that are intended to protect, promote,

14 educate, or serve the citizens of the state of Washington.

15 (2)(a) The proceeds of the trust fund may be used to:

16 (i) Defray legal expenses and pay monetary penalties incurred by

17 the state officer as a result of a complaint filed or issued for an

18 ethics violation under this chapter or an internal legislative

19 investigatory proceeding;


20 (ii) Defray costs reasonably incurred in administering the trust

21 fund, including but not limited to costs incident to the solicitation

22 of funds; and

23 (iii) Discharge any tax liabilities incurred as a result of the

24 creation, operation, or administration of the trust fund.


25 (b)The proceeds of a trust fund may also be used to defray or

26 discharge legal expenses, penalties, costs, or liabilities incurred

27 before the trust fund was established if the legal expenses, penalties,

28 costs, or liabilities are related to the complaint proceedings for

29 which the trust fund was established.


30 (3) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, the state

31 officer may not use proceeds from the trust fund for any personal use.

32 (4) A state officer may not establish or maintain more than one

33 ethics defense trust fund at any one time.

34 (5) Chapter 11.98 RCW does not apply to a trust fund established

35 under this chapter.

Official Print - 5 1298-S AMS GOV S4810.1

1 comment:

Lew Waters said...

I am seriously wondering if any single elected official in this state has an ounce of honor in them.