Gop Senators Offer Deal On Donations
Senate Republicans said they will abandon their legal fight to raise campaign money during the legislative session if the state will let them return to donors cash illegally collected in the last session.
The offer Friday came nearly three weeks after a judge ruled that a citizen-passed ban on campaign fund raising during legislative sessions applies to money raising by the Legislature’s caucuses.
The 1992 law banned fund raising during the legislative session and 30 days before and after on grounds the activity invites corruption or the appearance of corruption. But there was some question as to whether it applied to the caucuses, and the Senate Republican Caucus contended it did not.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge Richard Strophy’s ruling was a big hit to the GOP caucus, which had defied a like ruling by the state Public Disclosure Commission in January. After the ruling, a lawyer for the GOP said the caucus likely would appeal Strophy’s decision.
But on Friday, the caucus offered to forego appeal in exchange for returning to contributors about $35,000 that was impounded by the court pending the outcome of the legal battle. The $35,000 was what was left of $70,000 raised by the caucus after the PDC in January told all four caucuses to raise no more money during the session.