Election's over, but I-502 battle continues

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by JOHN LANGELER / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @jlangelerKING5

KING5.com

Posted on November 11, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Updated Sunday, Nov 11 at 3:23 PM

Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission is investigating a complaint against Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes, accusing him and his office of demonstrating “improper and potentially illegal campaigning for Initative 502 on City time, with City staff and resources.”

The complaint is the latest of three filed by Arthur West, the Olympia resident who is a member of No On I-502.  Emails obtained by West from the City Attorney’s office form the basis of his allegations.

“City officials on city time using city facilities coordinated campaign activities for Mr. Holmes and I-502. West continued, “I don’t think, if they had followed the law and followed the requirements that initiatives are supposed to follow, we would’ve had the same result (on Election Day).”

Emails West showed to KING 5 focus on scheduling Holmes’ participation in I-502 events.  Holmes was an outspoken supporter of the initiative, which legalizes recreational uses of marijuana under strict guidelines and was passed by Washington voters last week.

Another email from a City Attorney’s office volunteer references getting Seattle “elected officials onboard with legalization.”

Holmes denied the accusations Saturday, calling them “bogus.”  He said the emails were merely forwarded to his office staff to coordinate his schedule.

“No one in the office gets anything else (on the campaign),” Holmes said, “It’s just what was on my schedule.”

Holmes then referred to the group which filed the complaint, suggesting, “They have grow operations that do well under current fuzzy guidelines.  They’re using the media to get something they can’t get under the law.”

West acknowledged most of the emails deal with “scheduling”, but maintained his stance they are illegal.  He has two existing complaints with the PDC.  Holmes pointed out several earlier PDC complaints filed by I-502 opponents have already been dismissed.

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