The state Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday it won’t pursue legal action against Sound Transit for the agency’s improper release of ORCA cardholders’ email addresses to the campaign promoting a ballot measure to expand regional light rail.
The state Attorney General’s Office said Wednesday it won’t pursue legal action against Sound Transit for the agency’s improper release of nearly 173,000 ORCA cardholders’ email addresses this year to the campaign promoting a ballot measure to expand regional light rail.
In a letter to Conner Edwards, a Tacoma political consultant who lodged a formal complaint against the transit authority, Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda A. Dalton wrote that Sound Transit’s release of restricted email information to the political campaign appeared to be a mistake made during the routine course of the agency’s response to a public-records request.
“No evidence was discovered to support an allegation that Sound Transit staff took action intended to promote or oppose Mass Transit Now or the Sound Transit 3 ballot measure,” Dalton wrote.
The $54 billion measure is on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Most Read Local Stories
- Wondering why society went off-kilter during the pandemic? It was all predicted in this book
- COVID hospitalizations down in Washington, but deaths are on the rise
- Video shows helicopter rescue of missing hiker in Olympic National Park
- He found an intact headstone buried in his Seattle backyard. You might, too
- 60,000 Seattle-area renters are behind on rent as eviction moratoriums near expiration
Dalton’s decision came after her own lengthy review, and after the state Public Disclosure Commission issued similar findings last month recommending the Attorney General’s Office take no action on the matter.
Under state law, Edwards can now opt to bring his own civil action against the transit agency on behalf of the state. Edwards, who is now reviewing the issue with an attorney, declined to comment Wednesday.
Sound Transit’s improper disclosure of the ORCA cardholders’ email addresses came to light after a concerned cardholder received a Mass Transit Now campaign email in August and contacted The Seattle Times. Under an ORCA privacy statement and an exemption to the state’s public-disclosure law, public-transit cardholders’ personal information is supposed to be kept private.
Sound Transit officials later acknowledged the improper release of the email addresses, and the agency emailed an apology to affected cardholders and asked the campaign to delete the emails from its files. A Mass Transit Now spokesman has said the campaign did so.
Sound Transit separately faces another PDC complaint filed by ST3 opponent John Niles this week that claims the agency’s recent public mailer explaining the ballot measure amounts to illegal assistance to the campaign because it doesn’t provide information about what happens should voters reject the measure.
Earlier this year, a Seattle Times inquiry led Sound Transit to revise an online survey after the PDC said one portion seemed to measure voter support for certain campaign themes.