Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Publicly Funded Campaigns

Christine Gregoire, like most Democrats, favors public funding of political compaigns. In fact, she so favors public campaign funding that she's decided to start funding her own re-election campaign with your money.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, who is expected to run for a second term next year, soon will embark on a six-city "listening tour," a reprise to her statewide series of community town halls last year.

The tour will cost an estimated $120,000. The state GOP chairman said it sounds like campaigning on the public dime, but the governor's aides said it's a legitimate and important way to keep in touch.

The Democratic governor, who won her office by just 133 votes, has made it a practice to travel widely outside Olympia. Her probable GOP challenger, Dino Rossi, also has been traveling the state for his foundation's Idea Bank.

Rossi, who criticized Gregoire for using public dollars to finance her listening tour, on Tuesday announced his resignation from the Forward Washington Foundation. The Public Disclosure Commission is investigating Democrats' complaint that the foundation amounts to a campaign organization and should be reporting contributions and expenses.

When Dino Rossi travels the state on his "Forward Washington Campaign," he is followed and filmed by Gregoire stooges to support her complaint that he is engaging is some sort of illegal political speech.

Those of us who can recall the 2000 election remember Hillary Clinton's "listening tour." It was a phoney attempt to publicize and humanize her, while allowing her to keep her shrill voice off the air. But, I'll say this about Hillary, other than Secret Service protection, the taxpayer wasn't asked to pay for it.

Update: David Postman smells a skunk named Gregoire.

Incumbent Gov. Christine Gregoire has nearly $3 million in her re-election account but says she's not a candidate. She won't announce, she says, because that would politicize her work with the 2008 Legislature.

Doesn't the $3 million politicize it? What about the recent fundraising pitch that says "The Republican party's opposition to children's health care is shameful and represents the fundamental difference in values that our next election will be fought over"? Is there a Republican member of the Legislature who will be more willing to work with Gregoire next year because she has not spoken the words, "I am a candidate for re-election"? (Never mind of course that her fundraising letter talks about "my campaign for re-election." Those letters don't go to Republicans, so they'll never know.)

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