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Smell Test: Matt Richardson mailer falsely calls candidate a veteran

Post by Jordan Schrader / The News Tribune on Oct. 13, 2010 at 5:50 pm with 27 Comments »
October 14, 2010 11:56 am

District 31 state Senate candidate Matt Richardson‘s website and a mail piece he planned to send out to 48,000 homes today refer to the state Senate candidate as a veteran.

He is not.

WHAT THE CAMPAIGN SAYS: Both Richardson’s campaign website and  mailer feature prominently an endorsement statement from Ron Weigelt, a Democrat who was defeated in the primary election when voters advanced Republicans Richardson and Sen. Pam Roach to the general election. Weigelt’s statement, in full:

Matt is a conservative Republican, but it is not about political party. It is about who can best represent us in Olympia. While his opponents sling mud at him and his family, I have personally verified the truth and his record of service before making this endorsement. As a fellow Veteran and former City Council member, I see in Matt Richardson the drive and sincerity we need in the Senate. We do not need business as usual, we do not need 24 years of the incumbent hurting our district. Matt is clearly the best choice in this contest. – Ron Weigelt, Senate Candidate

WHAT WEIGELT SAYS: When I asked Weigelt about this today, he said he thought Richardson was in the Navy Reserve. Weigelt then sent an e-mail to Richardson asking him to remove the material from his website. He said: “You should have corrected me when I referred to you as a ‘fellow veteran’.  I believe you have intentionally tried to give the perception that you are in the Navy when you are not.  Not telling me you are not a veteran was deceptive and clearly a lie by omission.  I also never endorsed you.”

THE FACTS: Richardson, a Sumner city councilman, has worked as a military contractor. He says that as an employee of Central Texas College, a community college that contracts with the Navy to place instructors on board vessels, he has done one assignment: a three-month stint in 2006 on the Stennis teaching subjects like sociology, government and philosophy.

WHAT RICHARDSON SAYS: He has told me and others repeatedly he is not a veteran or a member of the military.

When he first announced his candidacy, his campaign literature referred to his military ties this way: “He also holds a DoD security clearance as an Adjunct Professor of Government & Philosophy for the US Navy’s NCPACE program based in Bremerton.  He was last assigned to the USS Stennis (CVN 74).”

Based on that, a Political Buzz post in June referred to him as a veteran. But he e-mailed us to clarify: “You are repeating that I am a Navy veteran, and I am not.”

When Richardson describes the Navy experience publicly, he often says he has Navy security clearance, he takes orders from a Navy officer, and he is paid at the pay grade of lieutenant commander. When asked, he acknowledges he’s not a lieutenant commander or any other kind of officer.

Today, Richardson distanced himself from the Weigelt statement on his own website and mailer. “Whether he thinks or not that I’m an actual member of the military, I never pretended that I was an actual member of the military,” he said.

So why include an inaccurate statement on his mailer and website?

Richardson answered that several ways. At first he said he talked to Weigelt about the confusion, and Weigelt insisted Richardson’s service makes him a veteran: “He said, ‘Well if you worked in the Navy and you have orders for the Navy,’ and he said, ‘It’s OK if I use that term, right?'”

Richardson backed off a few minutes later, saying they didn’t actually discuss the finer points of whether he was a veteran: “He never asked. I just assumed he knew. … He goes, ‘So what do you do for the Navy,’ and I told him, and he said, ‘Oh, that’s really cool.'”

Although he’s not a “literal” veteran, Richardson said, others might consider his time on a military vessel to be military service, he said. “I’ve been termed as what you might call a “small-v veteran,” he said.

BOTTOM LINE: Richardson isn’t a veteran.

AND ONE MORE THING: There’s a side issue here of whether Weigelt really endorsed Richardson. It’s not insignificant, considering it’s the only endorsement touted on Richardson’s website. Weigelt did give Richardson a statement praising him, and Richardson showed me an e-mail he sent to Weigelt at the time calling the statement an endorsement.

But Weigelt, who’s now running a write-in campaign for House, told me last month he had considered supporting Richardson in the Senate race, but decided to urge his supporters to write in another candidate. He’s now supporting write-in candidate Brian L. Gunn, he said.

Something fishy? Having trouble sorting out the facts from the spin in political speeches, TV ads and mailers? Our political team is ready to fact-check this season’s campaign. Send your questions to Political Smell Test. For an archive of previous Smell Tests, click here.

Leave a comment Comments → 27
  1. When he was seen at events in a Navy officer’s uniform, he wasn’t trying to deceive anyone? Should be a sentence, not the senate.

  2. “Oh, I teach Sociology to Sailors, so that makes me a Veteran”?????
    He belongs in Jail where he can teach convicts.

  3. Proconsul8 says:

    As an elected official in Sumner and a frequent worker on other Republican campaigns, one would think that Matt could have crafted his message and campaign a whole lot more defendable. Not that Pam Roach’s friends have done her many favors this season. Go with Roach’s proven record in her position. We don’t need more dissimulation from Sumner.

  4. JohnnyModerate says:

    Wow…just wow. From what I have read, all of which has included a number of unanswered questions, and outright deception here, Matt is in no position to represent any of us.

    How does a three month stint 4 years ago make you adjunct professor?

    How does a three month stint give you a “little v”? As a veteran, and son of a man who has worked for the DoD for 30 years, I have never heard that term.

    Speaking of past employment, why are we sitll waiting for a straight answer from his past school district employers?

    Sorry, I cannot vote for someone I cannot trust.

  5. Similar false claims have never hindered some from being on local councils. Suggest Matt relocate next door to Zip Code 98371.

  6. CityOfFlags says:

    Procounsul8 says, “Go with Roach’s proven record.” She has a voting record the Taliban would love. She is a typical republican- 50 years behind the times.

  7. Daisydog says:

    Following is a response I got after I sent him an email from his web site…

    I serve the navy as a professor, under orders, deployed with the fleet for months at a time (without ever coming home), and my orders come straight from CINCPAC on Navy letter head. My navy ID is DoD Navy issue and so are my high level clearances. We are a unique group in the navy and demeaning me over my service in this capacity is uncalled for. If Ron wants to refer to me as a vet (in whatever honorary way he means it) he’s entitled to do that. He’s knows what my service is, and it’s been on my website for months in pictures. My orders will be online as well.
    Please refrain from false allegations, I never said I was a veteran and Ron has known the nature of my service all along.
    Matt Richardson

    A professor? He does not have a PhD! (Me thinks he was really just “adjunct faculty”.

    How are my comments “false allegations”?

    So he had a Navy ID. “Contractor” instead of “active duty”.

    Put your orders online. I have 4 combat tours to the Middle East as an Army Medic. There is a little bit of difference between a combat medic and a civilian contractor….

    Bad mojo here people…..

  8. OldLefty says:

    Knowing that Roach is a Conservative and seeing that Richardson describes himself as a Conservative, this is a case of a district where “top two” produced “bad and worse”.

    NIce work, 31.

  9. sumnercitizen says:

    Aren’t the statements of support on his fllyer (the ones from his wife, daughter, fellow teacher, and community member) the same statements and pictures that he used on his flyer during his mayoral campaign? Seems odd he couldn’t get any of these supporters in his life to write an updated statement….one for this current campaign? Seems odd to me. He is also using the same family pictures from years ago. Could it be that none of them wish to pose with him for a new one??

  10. mhrichardson says:

    For the record, many people in the last few years have loosly termed me as a veteran because I am paid at ltcmdr pay, receive orders from US Navy’s Cincpac HQ. I have picutres during our deployment, letter of commendation, and the US Navy uniformed services badge to prove it. I am a professor hired by the navy and carry a very high security clearance to allow for deployment on any ship and any US Naval base or military installation anywhere in the world. Many people have said this is like the reserves, and while this is close, it’s also not exactly accurate. We are a very unique group of professors hired to teach college courses aboard naval vessels at sea, and under deployment circumstances. That’s it. Proof of my service in pictures and documents both in print and on-line over the last 5 years, speaks for itself. Ron knew this, had asked about it, clarified it, and did the research (as he said in his endorsement). If Ron associates with me as a veteran due to my past and ongoing service to the navy in this capacity, I am honored.

  11. mhrichardson says:

    Hey Jonhnymoderate and the rest of you who have no idea of what you’re talking about….go to richardson4senate.com to see all my letters of recommedation, including schools, for the last 16 years. I have recommedations from the state house and senate on letterhead. Pam Roach has 5 sanctions on senate letterhead. That’s on my site too.
    OH, shoot, I guess that means you’ll see my commnding officer’s letter referring to me as “professor”, and my navy orders referring to me as “Professor Matthew Richardson”, etc.
    How many more documents and pictures do you need? I have more…

  12. ValleyTarts says:

    According to the official State voters pamphlet, Richardson is still in the Navy (2006 – Present). That is a far more serious lie than his own flyer.
    Here in Puyallup we had a similar one flat out lie in the voters pamphlet just two years ago, and he got elected.
    Secretary of State Sam Reed should go after these frauds with a vengence.

  13. mhrichardson are you also registered as SumnerVoter in another article?

    In a reply in that article to me you state “…have access to critical areas on the ship due to my type of rank-equivalent and security clearance, on and on…”
    Come on have you ever heard of need to know?
    If you were able to wander around the ship in civilian clothes without a military escort that would be a gross security violation. If you had tried that on any of the Air Force base flight lines I worked on you would have found yourself face down in the snow with a gun barrel on the back of your neck. About 8 months out of the year anyway for the snow….

    “…I am a professor hired by the navy…”
    In another newspaper article:
    “…He says that as an employee of Central Texas College , a community college that contracts with the Navy to place instructors on board vessels, he has done one assignment: a three-month stint in 2006 on the Stennis teaching subjects such as sociology, government and philosophy…”
    So what’s the truth?
    Were you hired by the Navy or Central Texas College?

    “…a very unique group…”
    Not that I can see. I worked with civilian contract workers overseas and in the states. I didn’t spend but a few minutes in Vietnam, but the civilian contract worker at a sister shop at Da Nang probably remembers to this day the rocket that blew out a wall in the shop. Some had spent years over there not just three months and go home.
    I am sure it is the same way now as it was many years ago. Civilian contract workers in all branches of the military both in the states and in war zones.

    At the nearby Air Force and Army bases the base decals for vehicles are divided by color into officer, enlisted, and civilian. Does the Navy do the same and if so what does/did your base decal indicate?

    “… receive orders from US Navy’s Cincpac HQ…”
    If you refused those orders were you subject to the UCMJ?

  14. Firewomanone says:


    You being caught at the pilots wifes house does nothing for your reputation either. Family man..yeah..right.

  15. sisterrock5 says:

    Well I see Matt is still wearing the Jacket that he was asked not to wear while campaigning. He is still telling lies, what a concept that he can’t seem to figure out how to tell the truth from day to day. Where is the small ‘ v ‘ coming from for Veteran. After asking a few Veterans they do not like that anyone thinks they can make that call as a on board teacher.

    Voting for Pam Roach is the answer this time. At least she does not lie and attacks issues at a level some of us would back away from but gets the job done. Thank you Pam.

  16. mhrichardson says:

    go to richardson4senate to see proof of everything…
    my orders on navy letterhead, pictures, letter of commendation, and I never said I was a veteran… and I do not have to be escorted anywhere while aboard. due to the fact you are all so ignorant about what we do, why don’t you just respect the fact I serve and can still can be deployed, or “be assigned to a ship for months on end under orders”…or whatever you want to call it. You’re Pathetic
    Roach’s false claim about me as a minor (30 years ago) is disgusting and the Courier Herald verified this when they wrote they “decided not to publish the specific allegations as Richardson was cleared of the charges”…”within three months.”
    blscourierherald.com on Sept 22 2010

  17. “…go to richardson4senate to see proof of everything…
    my orders on navy letterhead, pictures, letter of commendation, and I never said I was a veteran…”

    “…orders on navy letterhead…”
    You mean travel orders with your name AND Central Texas College and address.
    There are even some CONTRACT numbers there. So that proves you were a contract worker. Big deal. I don’t have any problem with that and I doubt anyone else has.

    I have pictures from 1967 taken from about 20,000 ft over Vietnam that look like it was a 10,000 hole golf course from all the bomb craters. They were taken with a new camera that I had just picked up on Okinawa. I also have pictures of Okinawa, Johnston Island, Philippines, Thailand, and on and on. So what!!!

    So what is it?
    On the first page of your web site now it says “Read Matt’s recommendation”.
    Now it is commendation as it is also on that little trick of putting a picture of the you and the recently deceased Capt. Johanson above a carefully chosen excerpt from the letter. Now that is really a Pathetic attempt at making it look like an endorsement.

    Oh, sorry Pathetic is your line…
    I’ll put my 20 years of military service up against your pathetic 90 days as a Navy contract worker any day.

  18. Daisydog says:

    HAHA! He shows his SSN on his travel orders! I have never seen a political candidate ever respond to blog comments. Simply amazing!

  19. sisterrock5 says:

    Look, he can take stuff out of contex as well. The article in the herald said they “decided not to publish the specific allegations” because they were to graffic. This reference was from the article about the Democarts that decided to endorse Pam Roach. Guess checking on all of this makes sense.

    The documents seen online all have court documentation, City of Sumner Police forms with statements that look pretty official to most people. Bet Pam doesn’t have any of this stuff in her record. She is getting the job done that should count for something. Have a flyer that has this web site on it: http://www.truthonmatt.org. These documents do not look fake.

  20. teacherclifford says:


    Why not put the “letter” from the Federal Way School District ordering you to stay off school property and not to contact and threaten students or parents anymore. That was in 2006.

    Just in these comments threads you state “why don’t you just respect the fact I serve and can still can be deployed”. YOU HAVE NEVER SERVED. You raped your cousins, assaulted your daughter, threaten people on a regular basis, and are a pathological liar. You are not “deployed” you volunteer to work on a naval ship. There is nothing about you that deserves respect. Resign or Recall.

  21. Daisydog says:


  22. zeekdazombie says:

    Leave it to matt to make Pam Roach the sane looking. Thanks for posting here richardson and confirming what I thought of you. Playing semantics with wording does you no good. Child molester, stay away from kids.

  23. sumnercitizen says:

    Wow…you have guys have said it all. Good to see people are finally seeing Mr. Richardson for what he is. Matt, you said you have more documents…why don’t you show some recommendations and/or endorsements from 2010?Doesn’t seem like that should be a problem since you are running for office in 2010. Lets see statements from you family, etc. that are from this election cycle (not the mayoral campaign last year before a lot of this came out). All your letters of recommendations are from years ago, or have since been recanted. The one from Capt. Johansen is what you have front and center on your website; probably because he can’t recant his recommendation since he has recently passed away.

  24. Daisydog says:

    It’s over, isn’t it? I expect a withdrawl (that’s a retreat for us veterans!) from the campaign to happen by friday…..

  25. He would be crazy now to advance to the rear. Not everyone is on the internet or reads the paper. I swear that guy can fall in a cesspool and come out smelling like a rose.

  26. averagevoter says:

    OMG – I love the respectful, sincere tone Matt uses to reply to those who don’t agree with him . . . NOT. He sounds like a whiny baby (with a hint of condescending meanness) trying to get people to see things his way. He says “Roach’s false claims against me” . . . It wasn’t Pam Roach that made those accusations – it was the mother of those two little girls!!
    I found the site http://www.truthonmatt.org VERY informative! It simply lists links to all of the actual court documents that Matt has been involved in (and man are there A LOT).
    Also, why are the local papers not reporting on these things? TNT is doing a great job – where are the Enumclaw and Puyallup papers in all this?

  27. Daisydog says:

    Let see, He’s not a veteran, He’s not a teacher, He hugged one of his kids with his fist, He got nailed for driving 75 in a 35, He got canned from 2, probably 3 teaching jobs, he has anger management issues with his neighbors (involving baseball bats, dogs, and verbal threats), he is no stranger to restraining orders, he posted his Social Security Number on his web site (what a goof!). he pleaded guilty to a sexual misdemeanor (he molested his own cousins when he was a teenager- The proof is out there is you know where to look — http://electmattrichardson.com, he got caught trying to arrange a hook up with a “lady friend” , matt richardson is the only candidate in State History to be forced by the Courts to remove the lies he wrote for the voters’ pamphlet statement.

    Give me any reason, anyone should vote for this lug nut…..

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