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Campaign mailer or official newsletter? Investigators will decide

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on July 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm with 11 Comments »
July 30, 2010 4:32 pm

Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney’s constituents have received a piece of mail touting Bunney’s accomplishments, coming during campaign season but paid for with county money.

The mailer, with a large picture of a woman “stretching your county tax dollar,” looks different from Bunney’s past newsletters, but Bunney said it has the same purpose: keeping the people he represents updated on what he’s doing.

Bunney is running for an open state House seat in the 31st Legislative District that straddles eastern Pierce and King counties. He faces a primary election Aug. 17 against fellow Republican Cathy Dahlquist and Democrat Peggy Levesque. Ballots are going out to voters now.

Two complaints about the mailer have been filed with the Public Disclosure Commission, and Dahlquist is seizing on the piece, asking Bunney to reimburse the county.

The details of how it was produced could be important in whether the PDC pursues the complaints, but county staff said no one was available this week to answer questions about the mailer.

Bunney said he doesn’t know how much the mailer cost, other than it was cheaper than his mailers in previous years. He isn’t saying how it was produced or how those cost savings were achieved, only that it involved bidding and invoices and “went through the appropriate processes.”

It’s illegal to use public facilities to help a campaign, but anything that’s part of the normal and regular conduct of a public agency is fair game. To figure out whether something is normal and regular, the PDC looks at whether it fits with patterns over time, agency spokeswoman Lori Anderson said.

In a statement, Dahlquist calls it a “campaign mailer” that has “taxpayers picking up the bill to help him with his political career.”

This kind of behavior hurts our conservative cause. Our ideas of smaller, more efficient government are lost on the public when career politicians with the Republican label use their position to empower themselves.

Bunney said it’s Dahlquist who’s scoring political points. He’s seen it before, he said:

The week of ballots dropping, somebody’s going to make some allegation. I think that this is completely within the rules, and more importatly, I think it is very important to communicate with the constituents about how you are managing their important tax dollars.

He said there’s nothing wrong with making his mailings more attractive, rather than “an old-school newsletter that nobody reads because it just looks plain.”

Leave a comment Comments → 11
  1. headedsouth says:

    I wonder who all bid on the job and what relationship they have with Bunney. TNT please filet this one open deep. Sounds like politics as usual. I am sad though, I would expect this from a guy like Calvin Goings.

  2. So it begs the question:

    Why would the politicians who make the laws, enact laws that make it more difficult for them to campaign?

    If you really knew how the money in campaigns is collected and spent…it’s sick, sick, sick!

    I’m sure all focus will be off Mr. Bunney once the other “official” correspondence from your incumbents starts hitting the mailbox this season.

    It should be illegal to mail an “official” newsletter from your public office less than 270 days prior to any election for that office. But until we get sensible reforms from our elected officials, it will be business as usual…

    Let the games begin…

  3. Wow. What a slimy piece of crap Bunney is.

  4. summit98446 says:

    This is the same “Funny Bunney” who doubled-up on boat loads of dirty developer dollars for his run for County Executive. Technically legal, but unethical & certainly lowering the bar for other politicians with weak constitutions.
    Unless he shows some character by refunding taxpayer money, he doesn’t deserve to be rewarded with this next musical chair.

  5. summit98446 says:

    Doesn’t look like this fits within the pattern of his old newsletters.
    Appears Bunney is Pierce County’s own Charlie Rangel.

  6. Big Bunney is a big spender, tried to force the largest tax increase in state history on us, the RTID pork barrel. He votes for the Ladenburg Links. He has endorsed Rick Talbert (D) in the next over county council district. And he’s switching seats with the Roachs. Please elect somebody new, somebody not with the machine.

  7. JeffTacoma says:

    This doesn’t even pass the giggle test.

  8. S_Emerson says:

    I’ve seen Bunney do some pretty low-down things over the past 8 years. Perhaps one of the more notable was when he voted favorably on the biggest and longest contract Pierce County has ever entered into with the private, for-profit corporation- a corporation whose financial controller was simultaneously serving as Mr. Bunney’s campaign treasurer during his run for County Executive in 2008. Mr. Bunney should have recused himself from voting on this contract, but not until I raised this issue with the TNT would he even admit the incestuos relationship—and even then, all he did was say that they were personal friends, but that he didn’t let that influence his vote. I say B.S.

    Click here to see the documents.

  9. ldozy1234 says:

    As I stated in another article discussing the same issue
    LMAO.. Wasn’t it Bunney and another council member who filed a complaint against ( then) Council member Goings claiming he did this and then later Bunney and another Council members did the same thing around election time with their “news letters” for another election?
    Same game… got away with spending County funds for free campaign PR then, apparently will again here.

    Sometimes too, I think some do this deliberately along with a couple of other “hooks” just to get free PR via the paper.

  10. jiminycricket says:

    Just another career politician who will do anything to keep getting re-elected and once in office, will work only to push his own self-serving agenda! Get a life, Bunney!

  11. pjbalaska says:

    Looks like a Republican; acts like a Republican.

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