Morning Fizz

The Conspiratorial Possibility

By Morning Fizz September 13, 2010

1. Sue Bird's 18-footer off a Lauren Jackson screen with 2.6 seconds left gave the Storm a 79-77 win in game 1 of the WNBA finals against the Atlanta Dream at Key Arena last night.

2. Late last Friday afternoon, political consultant Lisa MacLean of Moxie Media responded to the ethics complaint that state Sen. Jean Berkey (D-38, Everett) filed against Moxie in late August.

Berkey's complaint was based on a story PubliCola broke last month: Moxie had coordinated mailers attacking Berkey during the primary from both the left and right, doing independent expenditure ads on behalf of Berkey's progressive opponent Nick Harper and Berkey's Republican rival Rod Rieger. That's not technically a problem (and in fact, it's clever as hell), but the ethically questionable part (and the crux of Berkey's complaint) was this: The campaign disclosure reports didn't say who paid for the Rieger ads other than naming two innocuous committees—Cut Taxes PAC and Conservative PAC.

The theory was that labor unions, which had openly backed lefty Harper and gone after Berkey herself, had also paid for the Rieger mailers. This raised the conspiratorial possibility that the same unions that had pressured Berkey to vote for raising taxes during the legislative session (which she did) were simultaneously funding ads that attacked her for it. Again, nothing illegal there, but whoa, not a great way to make friends in Olympia. This conspiracy, the theory goes, is probably why no known political group stepped up during the election to take credit for funding the ad, just MacLean, the consultant.

On Friday, MacLean said the Public Disclosure Commission filings on the mysterious expenditures have been amended to show that Cut Taxes PAC and Conservative PAC had received pledges for funding from 2nd Defense PAC, but have never been paid. In turn, Moxie Media has paid for the ads, reporting a $9,000 spend for the Rieger ads.

2nd Defense PAC is a progressive political committee that is funded by a government employee union, the Washington State Labor Council, a firefighter union, and a committee called Forward PAC.

Fizz's sources tell us that Forward PAC, which contributed $7,500 to 2nd Defense PAC on August 3 (about a week before Cut Taxes PAC and Conservative PAC appeared on the PDC) is the committee that made the pledge. Forward PAC is funded by a long long list of progressive unions and groups including the Service Employees Union, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and Fuse.

In reporting this story, both WSLC and SEIU have unequivocally denied funding the ads.

3. KING 5's new Robert Mak feature, Ad Watch, calls U.S. Sen. Patty Murray's ad accusing her Republican opponent Dino Rossi of "keeping loopholes for corporations that send jobs overseas" a "stretch."

Here's Mak's take.

4. 538 blogger Nate Silver has done his House race predictions: He's got U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (D-2, NW Washington) beating John Koster 51-47 (with a 73.8 percent probability); U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert (R-8, Eastside Seattle suburbs and S. King County) beating Suzan DelBene 55-43 (with a 93.5 percent probability); and GOP candidate Jaime Herrera beating Democratic candidate Denny Heck 51-46 (with a 72.3 percent probability).

Overall, Silver gives the Republicans a 2-in-3 chance of taking the House with a 225.3 to 209.7 seat margin.
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