Dale Washam Recall Effort Gets a New Boost, But Drive Is Still Short by 32,000 Signatures

News Tribune
Robin Ferris.
As of today, Robin Ferris and her team have collected 47,883 signatures in four and a half months to recall Pierce County assessor/treasurer Dale Washam. That's roughly 2,600 signatures gathered weekly. But Ferris et al. have only six weeks left to collect 32,117 more to put the recall petition on the ballot. At the current average, the drive will fall 15,000 short--unless, say, the Committee to Recall Dale Washam should get a last-minute fund-raising boost. That's just what happened last week.

A preliminary injunction was issued by the U.S. District Court to temporarily nullify state law and lift the $800 cap on individual contributions, giving Ferris' group the opportunity to raise more contributions from large donors. Similarly, the Pierce County Ethics Commission lifted the $100 cap on county employees, allowing them to each give more.

"I'm just really excited," Farris told the News Tribune afterward. "It gives me a lot more hope that we're going to be successful."

On its website, the committee says it is accepting both donations and loans, and has seen an uptick of late in signatures and money. Still, it could be a mad dash to the August 30 deadline for the November ballot to dis-elect "the gadfly in charge," as the TNT calls him.

Washam is accused of gross mismanagement and unlawful retaliation against his staff. He's run up more than $100,000 in legal bills, faces more than $4.5 million in damages from lawsuits, and since taking office in 2004 has spawned five investigations of his office. He doesn't think much of the recall, even though he once saw it as a fine democratic tool--between 1994 and 2005, he tried and failed five times to recall opponents who had defeated him in elections.

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