Case in point: Gubernatorial candidate Christine Gregoire's campaign today issued this summary of a recent Spokesman story:
"He (Gregoire opponent Dino Rossi) defended himself against questions about his dealings with lobbyists by saying that the partnership was checked out with the Ethics Board. However, the Ethics Board has no record of issuing any such opinion. (Spokesman Review, 10/21/04)."
Wow. Sounds damning. And we'd love to take credit for a nice scoop like that. But although the above is technically true, here's what the story really said. (We added the italics here):
"The ethics board's Mike O'Connell on Wednesday said he could find no record of such a ruling, but that oral advice on such issues is fairly common. In general, he said, there's no conflict of interest unless a lawmakers lobby, sell their votes, or benefit from legislation more than someone else in the same industry.
`If the senator had a business relationship with a lobbyist, that wouldn't, per se, present an ethical problem,' O'Connell said.
Rossi's campaign sent out a press release of their own yesterday.
"Stop lying, Christine," it read.