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Times: A kinder, gentler BIAW?

Andrew Garber’s piece in today’s Seattle Times, a look at the new-look Building Industry Association of Washington, is worth a read.

The builders’ group’s finances have taken a major hit in the wake of the housing collapse, and it may not be able to bankroll Republican candidates on the scale it has in past elections when it played counterweight to organized labor.

Former GOP state chairman Chris Vance says: “What it means is the Republicans have no allies with any real money.”

That seems like good news for Jay Inslee and bad news for Rob McKenna – except that

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High-profile leader leaving powerful builders’ group

The Building Industry Association of Washington just confirmed in a news release that executive vice president Tom McCabe is leaving after 21 years fighting state regulations and high-profile political campaigns.

Here is the release, which comes amid rumors and background statements by sources close to BIAW that McCabe was negotiating a $1.25 million buy-out. BIAW spokesmen and McCabe did not return a telephone call asking for comment today.

Association president Matthew Clarkston of Camas also did not return a call today.

McCabe had led efforts to grow the BIAW from a 2,000-member trade group in 1990 to more than

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BIAW to pay $242,000 fine in campaign finance case

An arm of the Building Industry Association of Washington agreed today to pay $242,000 in immediate penalties to settle a lawsuit over its one-year delay in reporting money raised to aid Dino Rossi’s 2008 campaign for governor.

The state Attorney General’s Office announced the settlement. The settlement says BIAW’s total fine is $584,000 – with $342,000 suspended – if the builders’ Member Services Corporation can avoid campaign-finance problems through 2016.

The MSC had asked local homeowner groups to set aside a portion of “retro” industrial insurance rebates in 2007 to assist BIAW’s political activities such as helping Rossi against Gov.

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Updated: BIAW trial starts; allegation it “skimmed” interest

A long-simmering legal challenge to the Building Industry Association of Washington got under way in Thurston County today in a civil trial that could answer whether builders ever “skimmed” interest from a trust.

The money in question belongs to contractors enrolled in an industrial insurance rebate program managed by BIAW, whose lawyers deny the allegations of skimming and say the charges are politically motivated.

In opening statements, Andrew Friedman of the plaintiffs’ legal team said, “This case is about fixing some seriously flawed trust practices.” He said the trust was mismanaged and needs to be managed separately from BIAW.


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