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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."

Republican Leaders Want Public Disclosure Commission Director Suspended

Austin Jenkins
Northwest News Network
Republican attorney Mark Lamb asks the PDC to reassign the duties of Executive Director Evelyn Fielding Lopez, right, after she called Republican campaign finance accusations against a Democratic candidate for state Senate 'not correct.'

First they called for her resignation. Now the Republican leaders of the Washington House and Senate are calling for the suspension of the director of the state’s campaign finance watchdog.

At issue is a letter Washington Public Disclosure Commission Executive Director Evelyn Fielding Lopez wrote last month to the Democratic candidate in a hotly contested southwest Washington state Senate race. In the letter Lopez concluded that Republican attacks on the candidate regarding his troubles with the PDC were “not correct.”

Republicans say this crossed a line. A lawyer for Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler and House Minority Leader Dan Kristiansen appeared before the PDC.

“This is not a political matter, this is a matter of fairness,” attorney Mark Lamb said.

He went on to ask the four members of the Commission to reassign Lopez's duties. They don’t want Lopez back in place until after the election and after a Republican ethics complaint against her is resolved. PDC chair Anne Levinson agreed the letter could have been more narrowly drafted, but said “there’s absolutely nothing that warrants” suspending Lopez.

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."