Thurston County Assessor Steven Drew put out a formal statement early today in response to a formal complaint that he illegally urged top staffers to donate to a county commissioner’s re-election campaign while in a government meeting Feb. 9 in his agency’s offices. He also is accused of asking a staffer to dig into a complaint involving county Auditor Kim Wyman’s office that could help his wife Kathleen Drew in her race against Wyman in the Washington secretary of state race.
Steven Drew’s statement acknowledges there is some truth to the first allegation involving a solicitation of support for Democratic Commissioner Sandra Romero, but not the second involving a report of misconduct in Wyman’s office. The allegations are under review by the state Public Disclosure Commission.
“The truth is that I am a fan of Sandra’s. I supported her in 2008 and am supporting her in 2012. In my view, she brings precisely the wealth of experience, the right core beliefs, exceptional vision and leadership needed in county government. Nonetheless it was a rookie blunder for me to have brought up support for her with my employees,” Drew wrote in the statement I received this morning.
Drew added in an email accompanying his statement that Romero had nothing to do with the solicitation, which some Olympian readers have been concluding without evidence in their online comments.
Romero told me over the weekend she was horrified by the complaint, because it is counter to how the county officials operate; she also said she had no knowledge of what Drew might have done. Republican Andrew Barkis is challenging Romero this fall.
The PDC, which regulates campaign finance and has jurisdiction over allegations of misuse of public resources in campaigns, is assigning a staffer to investigate the complaint. Use of public resources or facilities to campaign is illegal. County human resources director Diana Townsend filed the complaint Aug 30 and the PDC posted it online – here – on Friday. A resolution is not expected before the Nov. 6 election, PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson said.
Here is the full text of Drew’s statement:
Kathleen Drew is the Democratic Party’s nominee for secretary of state, and she faces Wyman on the Nov. 6 ballot.