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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

PDC Director Takes GOP Concerns 'Seriously,' But Won’t Resign

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

The director of Washington’s campaign finance watchdog, Evelyn Fielding Lopez, said if she had a do-over she wouldn’t weigh-in on the accuracy of political campaign ads in a hotly contested state Senate race.

The race is in Vancouver’s 17th legislative district. The outcome could determine which party controls the Washington Senate come January. After Democrat Tim Probst ran afoul of the Public Disclosure Commission, Republicans pounced.

In response to the ads, Probst asked the PDC for a clarification of its finding against him for failure to file a financial disclosure form. PDC Director Lopez wrote him a letter that concluded: “I have reviewed the political advertisements that contain these accusations and they are not correct.”

Lopez, a former assistant state attorney general, has been PDC director since last September.

“In retrospect, [I] probably should have kept away from saying anything about whether the ads were correct or incorrect,” Lopez said.

Probst is now using Lopez’s letter in campaign mailers defending his record. And Republicans are crying foul with the state party chair and House and Senate Republican leaders calling on Lopez to resign. Something she says she won’t do.

“I take their comments very seriously and I take their concerns very seriously,m” Lopez said. “But, no, I am not going to resign.”

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."