Monday, November 19, 2012

Washington: Federal Court uphold ruling that recalls are not covered by $800 campaign finance limit

A federal district court has ruled that recalls are different than regular elections for the purpose of the state's $800 campaign finance donation limit. Here's the press release from the Institute for Justice and here's a copy of the decision.

Here are some earlier details of the case, and some criticism from me. This case suggests part of the difficult of categorizing recalls, and once more, the fact that they are ignored when drafting campaign finance and election laws, which results in serious problems in application. My main criticism with the theory proposed by the Institute for Justice is that since there is no candidate running to claim the office of the recall official (Washington law results in an appointment of a replacement, not an election), there can be no corruption. I think this is too much of a rose-colored view of how the recall works even in a judicial recall/malfeasance standard state like Washington.

The recall was launched against Treasurer-Assessor Dale Washam. It did not get on the ballot (they needed more 65,000 signatures and just missed ). Washam recently finished fourth in a primary for his seat.

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