OLYMPIA -- King County will prosecute a state worker for signature fraud in a case involving at least 19 phony signatures on Initiative 1098, the income tax proposal.
Claudia McKinney, a member of Service Employees International Union who was paid by the union for the time she took off work to gather signatures, is being charged with forging other people's signatures on some of the petitions she turned in.
Elections workers doing random checks of petitions found several signatures that didn't match and others for people who weren't registered votes on petitions McKinney submitted. All the petitions she turned in were then pulled from the piles, and about 300 of the 349 signatures she submitted were questioned. A Washington State Patrol investigation contacted 19 of the people who said the signatures on the petitions weren't theirs.
An attorney for SEIU told the patrol that McKinney was not paid by the signature but was among union members who were paid out of a union fund for the time they took off work to gather signatures. McKinney declined to talk to patrol investigators and referred them to her attorney.
McKinney, who lives in Burien, is being charged in King County with signature fraud, a Class C felony with a maximum penalities of five years in prison and $10,000 fine.