An attorney for Republican state legislative leaders Wednesday called on the Washington Public Disclosure Commission to suspend its director over a letter she sent regarding a contested state Senate race.
OLYMPIA — An attorney for Republican state legislative leaders Wednesday called on the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) to temporarily suspend its director over a letter she sent regarding a contested state Senate race.
Republican leaders last week called for the resignation of executive director Evelyn Fielding Lopez after she wrote in a letter to a Democratic Senate candidate that Republican accusations in ads against him were “not correct.”
The letter by Lopez came in response to a request by Tim Probst, a Democratic candidate in the heavily contested 17th District in Vancouver.
Republicans slammed that move, saying it wasn’t appropriate for the PDC to make a determination on whether political ads are truthful. Lopez, in turn rejected their demand by countering that she didn’t think it was appropriate for a political party to try to control the PDC.
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On Wednesday, attorney Mark Lamb appeared on behalf of Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler and House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen in the public-comments portion of a PDC meeting.
Lamb compared Lopez to an umpire who took the side of one team during a play. He called for the commissioners to suspend her while the state Executive Ethics Board reviews whether action should be taken against Lopez. Kristiansen and Schoesler filed a complaint with the board this week.
“I think it’s critical that people in both parties, people that the commissioners may agree with, and people that the commissioners may disagree with, have confidence in the fairness and impartiality of this agency,” Lamb said.
After he spoke, commission chairwoman Anne Levinson said commission members couldn’t act on Lamb’s request because the subject wasn’t on the meeting’s agenda.
Commissioner Jack Johnson said that while the commission must make sure its employees do their jobs appropriately, “that does not mean, however, that every disputed call is a reason for removing an umpire.”