I wrote two weeks ago about transparency killer Ron Sim, the King County WA bureaucrat nominated to the no. 2 spot at HUD by supposed transparency savior Barack Obama. Those in his backyard who know him best know the lengths Sims has gone to in order to obstruct public disclosure and stop taxpayers from finding out the truth about his office’s shady dealings.
As I mentioned in the column, blogger Stefan Sharkansky sued Sims over his refusal to release public records related to voter fraud during the 2004 contested gubernatorial election. Today, Sharkansky reports, Sims and King Count settled for $225,000, one of the largest settlements for public records violations in state history.
The lawsuit stemmed from my December 2004 request for a list of all voters who voted in the November 2004 election. The county did not satisfy my request in full until January 2007.
The documents that they eventually provided to me revealed that county election officials unlawfully counted hundreds of ineligible ballots in the 2004 election: a multiple of Christine Gregoire’s 133-vote “margin of victory” over Dino Rossi in the contested gubernatorial race. Documentation of these illegal votes was withheld from discovery in the election contest trial and not released to me until months after the trial. Consequently, the trial was conducted in ignorance of these potentially outcome-changing illegal votes.
Additional documents that were released last month in discovery for my case confirmed that county officials both knew more about the illegal vote counting than they had previously acknowledged, and also knowingly withheld responsive documents from me during 2005 and 2006.
The exceptionally large (for records cases) settlement, which King County offered before trial, clearly recognizes the county’s culpability in this matter.
Sims expects smooth sailing during his nomination hearing.
Want a bitter laugh? Re-read Obama’s first executive order ensuring transparency in government:
My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.