King County Superior Court Judge Paris Kallas today ruled that Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi will have to give a deposition -- before Election Day -- in a lawsuit alleging illegal fundraising by a builders' group.
"The request is granted," Kallas wrote. "Early discovery allows the parties to confirm -- or dispel -- the allegations before the election." Assuring fair campaigning, she said, outweighs the burden of giving the deposition in the middle of the frenzied final days of a campaign.
In a separate ruling rejecting Rossi's motion to quash the subpoena, Kallas wrote "It is precisely because Mr. Rossi seeks public office that he must bear the burden of the contemplated deposition."
The deposition comes at the request of Seattle attorney Knoll Lowney, who's been trying to make the case that the Building Industry Association of Washington "conducted an illegal fundraising campaign" to build a campaign war chest to support Rossi's run. Lowney suggests that Rossi and the builders were wrongly coordinating their plans months before Rossi was an officially declared candidate.
Here's what Rossi's campaign spokeswoman, Jill Strait, said this afternoon in an e-mail:
“Whenever Christine Gregoire gets into political trouble, she sends her friends to court to try to win what she is losing with voters. Now her major donors and partisan operatives are using the legal system to generate headlines and keep Dino off the campaign trail during the last week of this campaign. All this to answer the same basic question that Dino answered under oath with the PDC (Public Disclosure Commission) in 2007, namely, when ‘when did he become a candidate?’ His deposition was taken last year on this subject by the PDC which found that he became a candidate in October 2007. But then, Gregoire and her friends already knew that. They don’t care. They have accomplished their mission.
“Now it appears Dino will have to cancel campaign appearances to answer the same basic questions again. He will of course comply with the Judge’s order.”