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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opinion

And another thing …

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Do as I say, not as I do. It’s been nearly 30 years since Washington state adopted financial disclosure requirements for elected officials. Three decades to get it right.

Washington was a pioneer in the open-government movement to make candidates’ general sources of personal income public, and to require them to reveal who was bankrolling their campaigns. Such laws gave voters the ability to make informed.

Jolene Unsoeld, leader in the sunshine movement and later a congresswoman, produced the earliest tabulation of financial influences in state politics under a title that summed things up succinctly: “Who Gave, Who Got, and How Much.”

Now, in 2005, compliance with public disclosure laws by would-be public officials remains so spotty that the state Public Disclosure Commission routinely has to hand out fines to nonreporting candidates. In fact, the agency now lists $50,000 in overdue fines statewide. Perhaps people who want to help shape public policy ought first to show they can follow it.

Homeless Aryans. Occasionally, we pause to note another significant event in the death rattle of the Aryan Nations in the Inland Northwest.

The sale of late founder Richard Butler’s final home in an auction Wednesday morning was such an event. The Hayden house at 10137 N. Sunview Lane was Butler’s final refuge after he was forced into bankruptcy and lost his 20-acre compound on the rimrock above Hayden Lake as a result of a $6.3 million civil judgment against his supremacist organization and himself. Although his organization was crippled afterward, Butler was still able to make a nuisance of himself from the new abode purchased by a sympathizer who is now running from the law.

Despite his reduced sphere of influence, Butler continued propagandizing, holding church services and offering room and board to two or three young disciples. From his Hayden area home, he gained national attention again by planning annual conferences and parades in Kootenai County. The nondescript home also gave him legal residence to unsuccessfully run for mayor of Hayden at the head of a three-racist ticket.

Butler’s death, of course, scattered the Aryans to the wind. The sale of his home is an anticlimactic reminder of what was.

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