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Mon., Jan. 10, 2011, 1:37 p.m.

WA Lege Day 1: Motion to block Harper fails

OLYMPIA -- An initial effort to keep a Snohomish County senator-elect from being seated in the Senate failed Monday afternoon as a parliamentary procedure failed on a 23-18 vote.

Sen. Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup, tried to keep all newly-elected senators from being sworn in while the Senate considered a motion not to seat Nick Harper, who easily bested a Republican challenger in a Democratic leaning district. The real controversy goes back to the primary, when incumbent Sen. Jean Berkey was eased out of the Top Two system by a shadow campaign waged by Moxie Media.

The Public Disclosure Commission has recommended criminal prosecution against Moxie for gathering campaign funds and deliberately hiding their source. That's not enough, Kastama said: "They will pay a fine. It will be the cost of doing business...If not now when. When is bad enough."

But Sen. Tracey Eide said while Moxie's actions were "deplorable", Harper isn't responsible. "Being blamed for something that a thrid party is done is wrong...It is like blaming your child for something the neighbor kid did."

Kastama's motion failed, and Harper was sworn in at 1:35 p.m. Any further efforts to undo the election will bump up against the fact that he's duly elected and seated.




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Jim Camden
Jim Camden joined The Spokesman-Review in 1981. He is currently the political reporter and state government reporter in the newspaper's Olympia bureau office.

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