Isn't It Weird That

Isn't It Weird That...

Pot investments, PDC enforcements, and strange bedfellows.

By Erica C. Barnett January 28, 2013

1. Isn't it weird that ... David Hiller, external affairs director for Mayor Mike McGinn, is appearing at a panel on marijuana legalization not on behalf of the mayor's office, but as a potential investor (in the words of mayoral spokesman Aaron Pickus, as a "private person/entrepreneur") in a marijuana growing and distribution operation? As Pickus notes, "marijuana is legal now"; Washington state voters passed an initiative, I-502, legalizing recreational marijuana use in November.

The group that's hosting the event, the National Cannabis Industry Association, was not aware that Hiller was appearing on his own behalf.

Hiller, who will appear alongside McGinn and his legal council, Carl Marquardt, did not return multiple calls and emails for comment. The group that's hosting the event, the National Cannabis Industry Association, was not aware that Hiller was appearing on his own behalf. The panel is tonight at the Washington Athletic Club, 1325 Sixth Ave., at 7pm. 

Update: Although McGinn's office initially confirmed that Hiller was appearing on the panel as a "private person/entrepreneur" (rather than a representative of the mayor's office, which the invitation to tonight's event implied) they now attribute the fact that Hiller was listed as a panelist in the first to a 'miscommunication' between the mayor's office and the Cannabis Trade Association, the group that is putting on tonight's event. McGinn's office now says Hiller will not be on the panel, and Hiller's name has been removed from the list of participants on the group's web site.

 2. Isn't it weird that ... It took Conrad Lee, the anti-light-rail Bellevue city council member (and current Bellevue mayor—council members pick the mayor from the council), nearly a year in one instance, and nearly two years in another to file campaign finance reports for his PAC, New Americans for Accountable Government? 

Lee's group, which raised and spent money on behalf of four Eastside Republican candidates in 2010, failed to disclose a $7,816 expenditure on campaign mailers, and other campaign expenditures and debts totaling $4,842, to the state Public Disclosure Commission. The group's initial spending report, which was supposed to be filed within 24 hours, was 344 days late; its post-election spending report, which it was supposed to file in December 2010, didn't show up until October 2012—644 days late. 

PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson says Lee's group only filed after the PDC had initiated an enforcement action against it; she says it's unusual for a political committee to fail to file an expenditure report for as long as Lee's group did. Lee received a fine of $300; only one of the candidates his group supported, Steve Litzow (R-41), won election. 

Lee has run into trouble with election law before. In 2009, he sent a fundraising pitch to city employees' government accounts, asking them to contribute money, attend fundraisers, and endorse him for reelection.

3. Isn't it weird that ... Republicans' biggest priority this session is fully funding education when nearly two-thirds of the state's budget for K-12 education goes to teacher salaries?

The teachers' union, the Washington Education Association, is a major contributor to Democrats—meaning the Republicans are pushing to fund their own opposition. 

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