Washington state is notoriously bereft of juicy political scandals. But the 2010 election did produce at least one--though the folks in D.C. would probably probably laugh at it.
Either way, that scandal has finally come to an end it seems.
Moxie Media, the Seattle-based political-consulting firm run by Lisa MacLean and Henry Underhill, has settled a lawsuit by Attorney General Rob McKenna, which sued the PAC for violating the state's disclosure laws by setting up a pair of faux conservative PACs that funded ads against former Democratic state Senator Jean Berkey.
Moxie had been paid by a group of union members and lawyers to help Democrat Nick Harper defeat Berkey in the primary. And to help do so, Moxie created the entities Conservative PAC and Cut Taxes PAC, which sent mailers and called phones in support of a third-party dark-horse candidate Rod Rieger.
By promoting Rieger, Moxie was able to help make sure that only Harper and Rieger would win in the state's Top Two primary system.
After Berkey was defeated in the primary, she vowed to determine who was behind the attack ads, but doing so was tricky because, essentially, Moxie had made sure it would be tricky.
By creating several layers of PACs through which funding for the ads flowed, Moxie was able to obscure the source of the money, in much the same way that conservative PACs have been doing regularly since the Citizens United case was decided by the Supreme Court.
Indeed, Washington state Democrats sent out a response today to the settlement that invoked the some of the major conservative villains to come out of the Citizens case.
"We look forward to Rob McKenna taking just as strong a stance against the Koch Brothers and Americans for Prosperity Washington."
Under the settlement Lisa MacLean and Henry Underhill will have to pay $290,000 in fines, unless the agree not to do the same thing again, at which point they'll pay $140,000.