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October 21, 2009 at 1:16 PM

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PDC will investigate campaign finance complaint against Hutchison

Posted by Richard Wagoner

This post comes from staff reporter Lynda V. Mapes.

The state Public Disclosure Commission confirmed today it is investigating complaints against the campaign of Susan Hutchison, a candidate for King County executive. In a debate last week, Hutchison incorrectly said the complaint was being dismissed by the agency.

Doug Ellis, assistant director of the agency, said investigators are looking into a complaint that Hutchison's campaign staff is using a Laurelhurst home for campaign work without disclosing it as a contribution. The complaint also alleges that use of the home violates limits on contributions in a single election, either in-kind or cash.

The complaint alleges she could be up to $20,000 over the contribution limit of $800 in a single election.

The agency also is asking the candidate to explain $19,282 in expenditures by the campaign last summer, Ellis said. Hutchison's campaign noted the expenditures, but did not provide adequate documentation as to how the money was spent, Ellis said. "We are trying to figure out what happened to that money."

No time frame was set on the investigation. Possible outcomes include requiring the candidate to re-pay the contributions, as well as fines.

The agency is also investigating a complaint against her opponent, Dow Constantine, which accuses his campaign of coordinating with an independent expenditure campaign effort against Hutchison. There is not supposed to be any connection between the two.

Neither complaint will be resolved before the election, Ellis said.

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Jim Brunner
Covers politics.

Keith Ervin
Covers the Eastside.

Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Covers local government.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Kyung Song
Covers politics and regional issues from Washington, D.C.

Lynn Thompson
Covers Seattle City Hall.

Bob Young
Covers King County and urban affairs.