AG's office investigating campaign finance allegations against judicial candidate

Did a deputy prosecutor running for a Superior Court seat in Snohomish County break campaign finance laws?

EVERETT, Wash. -- An investigation into alleged campaign finance violations by a candidate for Snohomish County Superior Court Judge has been forwarded to the Attorney General's office by the Public Disclosure Commission.

Complaints filed against Cindy Larsen, currently a deputy prosecutor, allege she improperly benefited from taking part in a campaign mailer put out over the summer supporting Proposition 1, a public safety measure rejected by Snohomish County voters.

"It was a last minute thing," said Larsen, "There wasn't much thought into it.  I was endorsing that ballot measure and I don't think it was a contribution."

An investigation by the PDC determined Larsen's prominent appearance in the mailers, which cost more than $50,000, constituted a campaign contribution that she did not report.

The Proposition 1 campaign, called A Safer Snohomish County, was led by the same manager as Larsen's campaign.

Larsen told investigators she took part in the photo shoot at the last minute, replacing someone who could not attend.  Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary, who also used the same campaign manager as Larsen, and Prosecutor Mark Roe were there as well.

"This is much ado about nothing," said Larsen's attorney Greg Wong, "We feel the Public Disclosure Commission should dismiss these charges and we feel she will be vindicated."

Three complaints were filed, two through the PDC and one with the AG's office directly.  That complaint is the chief reason the Attorney General has the case now, because it requires a decision within 45 days.

"It's clear they acted with each other to circumvent campaign finance laws," said Robert Schiffner, a Moses Lake attorney who filed the complaint with the Attorney General.

An earlier complaint was filed by Beth Lucas, wife of sitting Superior Court Judge Eric Lucas, who has endorsed Larsen.

Copyright 2016 KING


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