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Eye On Olympia

Governor chafes at criticism of political dinner at governor’s mansion…

During a routine news conference with Gov. Chris Gregoire on Monday, reporters brought up the subject of a now-moot ethics complaint brought by blogger, attorney and frequent political candidate Richard Pope.

Pope objected to Gregoire's recent auctioning off -- at a political fundraiser -- of a dinner with her and First Gentleman Mike Gregoire at the governor's mansion. Two supporters of 8th Congressional District candidate Darcy Burner, who, like Gregoire, is a Democrat, bid $3,500 each.

Pope cried foul, saying the governor's mansion is a public facility, not a place for partisan political fundraising. As the story picked up steam, the two winning bidders offered to hold the dinner elsewhere. Gregoire agreed.

But when questioned about it on Monday, an increasingly angry Gregoire said that she considered the matter a private dinner, not a fundraising event: It's "fundamentally wrong" to expect governors to live under such tight restrictions, she said.

Click here to listen. (All these clips take a few seconds to download; please be patient.)

As reporters pressed the issue, she said that living in the mansion -- with its guards and public profile -- isn't easy. "Come live there for a week," she said twice.

Click here to listen.

And then, when asked to differentiate this from the Clinton Administration's scandal over allowing big-ticket donors to stay overnight in the White House's Lincoln Bedroom, Gregoire said she knew virtually nothing about the flap.

Click here to listen. (1 MB download)

Audio credit: TVW, the state's public-affairs network.

Short takes and breaking news from the Washington Legislature and the state capital.