It seems that Dino Rossi was a co-conspirator with the BIAW in illegal fundraising. "The evidence released today shows that Mr. Rossi was not just a beneficiary of these illegal activities, but was a knowing and active participant. "
This isn't one of those 'oh oops' misinterpretations of the law, this is a major scandal. Not only do Rossi and the BIAW have plenty of malice, they've also got malice of forethought.
STATEMENT OF KNOLL LOWNEY, SMITH & LOWNEY PLLC
Documents being released today show that Dino Rossi was directly involved in the illegal fundraising campaign conducted by the Building Industry Association of Washington (“BIAW”)1 that is currently being prosecuted by Attorney General Rob McKenna through a lawsuit filed September 19th.
The critical documents are official minutes ofthe Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish County (“MBA”). MBA released these documents during formal discovery in an unrelated federal lawsuit, and placed its tracking numbers on the bottom of the documents to indicate that MBA released them.
The enforcement of serious violations of our campaign finance laws is a non-partisan issue. The bi-partisan Public Disclosure Commission was unanimous in finding that participants in this fundraising campaign committed “multiple apparent violations” of campaign finance laws. The violations were serious enough to cause a Republican Attorney General to file a lawsuit to prosecute them.
The Chair of the State Public Disclosure Commission found that the participants in this illegal activity reached a “meeting of the minds” and demonstrating an “egregious lack of judgment.”
The evidence released today shows that Mr. Rossi was not just a beneficiary of these illegal activities, but was a knowing and active participant. The Attorney General’s lawsuit found that the illegal fundraising campaign involved BIAW senior officers soliciting contributions from 15 local building groups. According to the Attorney General’s lawsuit, this fundraising was illegal because BIAW was not registered as a political committee and the proceeds of the fundraising were concealed for over a year. AG Complaint ¶¶ 3.9,4.3.
The MBA was one of the groups solicited for a donation. On April 30, 2007, BIAW President Daimon Doyle attended the MBA’s Board meeting to solicit a donation to BIAW’s campaign fund, which was considered a “Fund for Rossi,” according to Sam Anderson, the MBA Executive Director. Based upon a formula, MBA was targeted for a donation of over $570,000! The Board decided to table the request until the next meeting three weeks later, expressing concern that most MBA members were democrats and may not appreciate the donation and also about other pressing MBA expenses including building repairs.
When MBA leadership met next on May 21, 2007 at a “Chair Officers Meeting,” the discussion turned to BIAW’s pending request for campaign funds. While discussing the request, all three of the MBA’s top officers reported that they had received calls from Dino Rossi. The one call for which additional detail is provided clearly confirms that Rossi called to support a MBA contribution to the BIAW’s governor’s race war chest. The minutes leave no question that Dino Rossi spoke to this officer about whether and when MBA would give to the BIAW’s governor campaign fund. The officers receiving calls from Rossi were then-MBA President Doug Barnes, First Vice President Joe Schwab, and Second Vice President John Day.
It is clear that Dino Rossi was aware of and participating in the fundraising campaign at issue in the Attorney General’s suit. Rossi knew that a solicitation request was pending before the MBA board during that three week period; he made calls to each of the three top officers during this period; and he talked by phone to at least one of the officers and specifically discussed the pending fundraising solicitation. The officers clearly understood that Rossi was calling about the solicitation, since they reported the calls while discussing the solicitation, and John Day communicated to Rossi the Board’s position on the solicitation.
There are many questions that these documents do not answer—questions that should be asked of Rossi, Doyle and others in BIAW and the local builder groups. For example, these participants should disclose the precise assistance that Rossi provided to BIAW’s fundraising campaign including every communication between Rossi and Doyle, other BIAW officers, and the local builders groups during the period in question. The other 14 building groups should make public their documents and meeting minutes from this period so the public and Attorney General can understand Rossi’s full involvement.
The documents released today are not under any protective order and involve violations of law currently being prosecuted by the State Attorney General. As such, we believe their disclosure is appropriate if not ethically required. We are in the process of searching our files for other documents that are relevant to the pending Attorney General lawsuit.
1The term “BIAW” is used herein to refer to BIAW and/or its subsidiary BIAW Member Services Corp., which is consistent with these organizations’ use of the term.
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More at: Buildergate Scandal: Rossi caught soliciting illegal BIAW funds! & Buildergate - Dino and the BIAW - Too close for comfort? & Buildergate: the smoking gun