City attorney set to receive campaign case

PORT ANGELES — An electioneering complaint against Clallam County Auditor Cathleen McKeown now is expected to make its way to the Port Angeles city attorney today.

“He will have it tomorrow morning,” Deputy Police Chief Terry Gallagher said Wednesday.

Gallagher initially had said the complaint would be forwarded on Monday but took more time as officers examined Clallam County employee Anne Doig’s statement.

Gallagher said the complaint would carry no more information than Doig’s account of McKeown’s actions on Election Night.

Doig says McKeown parked her truck — which bore campaign signs on its doors — within 300 feet of a ballot box at the Clallam County Courthouse on the evening of Sept. 19.

Electioneering denied

“There’s no question that the truck was there and had a sign,” Gallagher said.

“The question is: Does the city attorney believe the truck’s being there constituted a violation of the law?”

McKeown has admitted parking her truck in the turnout from East Fourth Street while she performed Election Night duties.

However, because her name wasn’t on the primary ballot, she says she was not electioneering.

McKeown will face Patty Rosand, the elections coordinator in McKeown’s own office, in the election that will end Nov. 7.

If City Attorney Bill Bloor decides against McKeown, police could issue a citation to her.

The electioneering law is a gross misdemeanor punishable by a maximum sentence of a year in jail, a maximum fine of $5,000, or both.

Case could go to Kitsap

Bloor, however, could decide McKeown may have broken other campaign laws and committed felonies.

If so, he would forward the case to county Prosecuting Attorney Deborah Kelly.

But because Kelly helped manage a McKeown re-election campaign, Kelly probably would disqualify herself from the case and forward it to the state attorney general.

Should the attorney general recommend the case be prosecuted, it likely would go to a Kitsap County court to eliminate any appearance of a conflict of interest, according to Mark Nichols, deputy prosecuting attorney for civil matters.

Doig, who works in the county assessor’s office, said she filed the complaint with police partly because McKeown had enforced the electioneering ban when county assessor’s office employees ran against each other in a special election in 2005.

Deputy Assessor Mike Hopf lost to Pam Rushton in that election, during which his and Rushton’s supporters were forbidden to display campaign signs in the courthouse parking lot.

Rushton is running unopposed in the fall election.

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