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Should AG McKenna Recuse Himself From Light-Rail Case?

By Erica C. Barnett September 23, 2009

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna, the state official charged with defending the state against a lawsuit attempting to prohibit light rail across the I-90 bridge, has received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the plaintiffs in that lawsuit, according to state campaign-finance records.

McKenna, a former King County Council member, was a reliable opponent of light rail when he served on the board of Sound Transit.

Last month, a group of similarly consistent  light-rail opponents sued the state to prevent the proposed Sound Transit light-rail line across I-90, charging that the proposal violates the state constitution because  it would pay for a transit line with gas-tax money, which is restricted to roads. (More information here). As attorney general, McKenna will have to defend the state against the charges.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include Eastside developer Kemper Freeman, plus light-rail opponents including former state senator senator and roads advocate Jim Horn, Yakima developer Al Deatley, Tim Eyman funder Michael Dunmire, SoDo business owner Steve Sivala, Mike Huckabee supporter Sarah Rinlaub, and the anti-light-rail Eastside Transportation Association, among others.

Altogether, the light-rail opponents contributed more than $13,000 to McKenna's successful 2008 reelection campaign.

McKenna has not yet returned a call for comment.
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