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Tag: Shawn Bunney


Former Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney agrees to pay fine for mail piece

The state’s campaign watchdog decided Bunney’s election-year mailing crossed the line separating a taxpayer-funded newsletter and a campaign ad.

Fifteen months after coming up short in the 2010 campaign for state House, Bunney has agreed to pay an $850 fine, plus another $850 that will be suspended if no more violations  turn up. The Public Disclosure Commission approved the settlement today on a 3-0 vote.

The Republican former councilman from Lake Tapps followed county rules that restrict mailings after July 31 — a deadline the council changed to May 31 after the flap over Bunney’s mailer. But the PDC says he

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Pierce Council clamps down on election season newsletters

A flap over a county-funded newsletter turned into new legislation Tuesday as the Pierce County Council moved to tighten the rules on newsletters, brochures and other mass mailings during election season.

It’s now against the Ethics Code for an elected county official who’s running for office to use public money for such mailings between May 31 and Nov. 30 in an election year. The new rules also apply to e-mail.

But there are some exceptions.

The county auditor, for example, can mail out voter’s pamphlets and ballots. Ditto for the assessor-treasurer and tax statements.

The County Council unanimously approved the rules in an amendment to the Ethics Code on Tuesday afternoon, acting in part because of a controversy generated by a June newsletter mailed by Councilman Shawn Bunney, who is running for the Legislature. Here’s an image of the newsletter in question.

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Campaign mailer or official newsletter? Investigators will decide

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.

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Dahlquist: Lower pay for council members

File this under advice unlikely to be taken: A candidate is calling on her opponent to cut his own pay.

The Pierce County Council raised the county executive’s salary in 2006, which triggered a corresponding 21 percent jump in council members’ pay starting in their next terms.

Cathy Dahlquist, running for a vacant state House seat, criticized opponent and fellow Republican Shawn Bunney for voting for the pay increase. Bunney said it was a different time, when the economy was better. Today Dahlquist retorted in a news release: Why not reverse the pay increase once the recession hit?

Cathy Dahlquist, Enumclaw School Board member and State House candidate in the 31st District, called on her Republican primary opponent, Shawn Bunney, to reverse his vote to raise his own salary.

Dahlquist said in a press release last week that Bunney should not have voted to increase his own pay by 21%. According to public records, Bunney’s salary was more than $112,000 last year, not including benefits.

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Political Smell Test: Dahlquist says Bunney pushed biggest tax increase

Cathy Dahlquist is making the 2007 roads-and-transit Proposition 1 an issue in her campaign for the Legislature.

Her opponent and fellow Republican, Shawn Bunney, backed the $18 billion transportation ballot measure. It would have raised sales taxes and car tab fees in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties to pay for highways and rail, but voters defeated it.

In a news release, she says:

Dahlquist noted that her opponent, Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney, was a driving force behind the largest tax increase proposal in County history, the RTID tax package of 2007.

“Pierce County voters in the 31st District opposed Bunney’s proposal for a $16.9 billion tax increase by a margin of 61%,” said Dahlquist. “People are tired of politicians losing sight of our priorities and just raising our taxes.”

Yes, Proposition 1 was described at the time as the largest proposed tax increase in state (and therefore county) history. The complicated part is that less than half of it, a still-huge $6.9 billion for roads, came from the RTID (Regional Transportation Investment District), whose board was chaired by Bunney.

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South Prairie mayor in running for open House seat

The mayor of South Prairie has filed paperwork to become a candidate for the open 31st District House seat.

Republican Rep. Dan Roach is leaving the seat to run for Pierce County Council. At least two Republicans are seeking to replace him, County Councilman Shawn Bunney – who would switch jobs with Roach if both win – and Cathy Dahlquist, an Enumclaw School Board member.

A Democrat has finally joined the field, according to state Public Disclosure Commission filings. South Prairie Mayor Peggy Levesque has led the town, one of Pierce County’s smallest, since 2006.

Before becoming mayor, Levesque was

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Shawn Bunney announces bid for state Legislature

Shawn Bunney

Pierce County Councilman Shawn Bunney, R-Lake Tapps, has announced he will run for the state House of Representatives in the 31st District.

Bunney, who cannot seek re-election to the council because of term limits, will seek the seat currently held by state Rep. Dan Roach, R-Lake Tapps. Although he has not made an announcement, Roach is expected to seek Bunney’s seat on the County Council.

In a brief interview, Bunney said he wants to rein in state spending and make Washington more business friendly.

You can read the press release announcing his candidacy below.

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