Will Suzan DelBene's Potential Felony Hand The New WA-01 Seat to Teabagger John Koster?
While Blue America-endorsed progressive Darcy Burner is busy building a grassroots-funded campaign with over 9,000 donors, empty suit New Dem Suzan DelBene and her rich husband are trying to buy the seat, putting over $1.9 million of their own money into the race, dwarfing Burner and the three other Democrats in the race by a 4 to 1 margin. But if the Republican-controlled House Ethics committee has anything to say about it, a DelBene victory in the primary would almost certainly hand the seat over to extreme right-wing Republican John Koster. In 2011, DelBene refused to file the financial disclosure form that all candidates are required to file. Refusing to file the form is a federal felony punishable by up to $50,000 and five years in prison. While no one has filed a complaint against DelBene yet, Republicans will almost certainly go after DelBene in the general election for a seat that many consider to be one of the top Republican pick-up opportunities in the country. When voters are presented with a choice between a Tea Party Republican and a criminal, corporatist Democrat, no one will win.
The big question DelBene's failure to file her disclosure raises is what she might be hiding that would want her not to reveal her finances. Sound familiar? Everyone in America now knows that multimillionaire Mitt Romney is engulfed in a scandal because he didn't release his tax returns and refuses to disclose his assets and finances and DelBene is following that same path. That's not where the comparison to Romney ends, either. DelBene is a serial business failure in every way but one: she made lots of money for herself as she caused nothing but economic devastation around her. Also like Romney, DelBene is a favorite of the Inside-the-Beltway corrupt Establishment and she's gotten the backing of the New Dems and the DCCC has asked donors to keep out of the race, which effectively handed a big fund-raising advantage to DelBene, the only candidate in the race with enough money to self-finance. The comparisons between DelBene and Romney are enough that independent expenditures from Progress for Washington-- a SuperPAC funded by the mother of another Democrat in the race, Laura Ruderman-- repeatedly suggested that there was little difference between the two.
DelBene tries to position herself as a defender of the middle class and as a progressive, but that doesn't even pass a basic laugh test. Progressive groups have lined up to support Burner while the organizations that are supporting DelBene are doing so out of a fear of her massive bankroll and the party establishment's veiled warnings. DelBene lives the life of the quintessential 1-percenter and while she tries to claim that she was poor at one point and had to rely upon financial aid, she spent a lot of time skiing in Vail and attending prestigious private school Choate when her family was supposedly "struggling."
The important concern for November, however, is answering the question of whether or not DelBene is a felon who will be destroyed by the likely massive outside money that will flow into the district to flip the seat to the Republicans. It's hard to see how DelBene can explain away the failure to follow the law. Federal law requires that all candidates file a personal financial disclosure within 30 days of qualifying as a candidate. Qualifying is very specifically defined as having raised or spent $5,000 on campaign expenditures during a calendar year. DelBene passed the $5,000 level in two separate quarters in 2011 and has not, as of yet, filed a disclosure for that year.
DelBene might argue that she didn't file a disclosure in 2011 because that she wouldn't be required to do so because those funds were leftovers from her unsuccessful 2010 run for Congress. But that would make her spending totals for the year not make a lot of sense:
While you can see the argument that Q1 was the continuation of the 2010 campaign and even Q2, in Q3 the spending starts ramping up again and really ramps up in Q4. Why would it ramp up again in Q4 to pay off 2010 debts? She didn't file to run for 2012 until January and never filed the required 2011 disclosure. Campaigns that are ending have to file a termination report with the Federal Elections Commission and/or a Withdrawal form with the House Clerk's office. DelBene did neither.
So the question is why didn't she submit the disclosure? What is she hiding? How much money will Republicans spend to make this a story if DelBene is the nominee? And just how bad is John Koster, the Republican that will win the seat if DelBene is the nominee?
Koster was endorsed by Ron Paul and agreed with Campaign For Liberty 100% on their 2010 questionnaire, including paranoia over a 'NAFTA Superhighway' and policies pulling the U.S. out of the U.N. and strengthening the gold standard. Koster is a proponent of privatizing Social Security. He wants expanded offshore oil drilling. He rejects the science on human-made global warming. He rejects marriage equality and doesn't even seem to know that there is a federal Defense of Marriage Act. While DelBene certainly shouldn't be a Member of Congress, John Koster really shouldn't be a Member of Congress and supporting DelBene in the primary almost certainly guarantees that Koster will be moving from Washington state to Washington, D.C.
Here's where you can help Darcy Burner win this seat. The polls have tightened up drastically as DelBene has closed in on over a million dollars in self-funded TV advertising. She's running her race like a Republican; she's already joined the corrupt anti-family New Dems and there's no reason to believe that a district like WA-01 should have to chose between two brands of conservatism in November.