Fellow lawmakers question Pam Roach's handling of finances, campaign rules

She denies problems and raises claims against the two state representatives, one a Republican and the other a Democrat, from her own district.
Sen. Pam Roach at a 2009 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a bridge.

Sen. Pam Roach at a 2009 ribbon-cutting ceremony for a bridge. Washington State Department of Transportation

State Sen. Pam Roach with her "tricked out" AR15 during a social event with other legislators

State Sen. Pam Roach with her "tricked out" AR15 during a social event with other legislators Photo: Bill Lucia

Rep. Chris Hurst

Rep. Chris Hurst

Rep. Cathy Dahlquist

Rep. Cathy Dahlquist

State Rep. Christopher Hurst says state Sen. Pam Roach should be investigated for possible improprieties in her legislative and campaign finances, and he says he will approach the appropriate authorities to get a probe or probes launched.

Hurst made the allegations late last week in a lengthy email sent to some of the area media. 

Roach says that charges wouldn’t hold up and questions Hurst’s motivation and timing in going to the media before filing any formal complaints. And she said Hurst has engaged in election-related activities of his own that are questionable under state law.

The charges and counter-charges underline the depth of divisions within the 31st District, which includes Auburn and Enumclaw, over the long-serving Roach. Hurst, a Democrat, is supporting Republican Rep. Cathy Dahlquist of Enumclaw, in her election campaign to unseat fellow Republican Roach from the 31st District Senate seat. Dahlquist and Hurst, who both are 31st District representatives, frequently work together across the aisle in the Washington House.

Hurst's email to the press came less than four weeks prior to the top-two Aug. 5 primary. Dahlquist and Roach are favored to win, setting up a faceoff between the two again in November.

Roach has served in the Washington Senate since 1990, making her the most senior senator in Olympia. She is known for her abrasiveness, which once led her to be banned from her own Republican caucus. Dahlquist has served in the House since 2010, deciding this year to challenge Roach. Both women are solid conservatives. Hurst is one of the more conservative House Democrats. A retired longtime police detective, Hurst is known as direct and willing to speak out. He faces Republican Phil Fortunato in November.

Hurst alleges that Roach charged the state for mileage driven for campaign purposes, neglected her work as a legislator to travel, and improperly conducted campaign business on a legislative cell phone that is reimbursed by the state. "It appears that Pam Roach is funding her campaigns with taxpayer dollars and has been doing so for many years,” Hurst wrote in his email.

He also questioned the level of expenses she has claimed for reimbursement by the state for official business as a legislator. Hurst said Roach has been reimbursed for $20,431 in expenses since 2011. His own reimbursements for the same period were $3,202, while Dahlquist's reimbursed expenses were $2,927, Hurst said.

In a Sunday phone interview, Hurst said a Republican consultant, Chad Minnick, stumbled across the fact that Roach's campaign cell phone number is the same as her legislative cell phone number. That prompted the consultant and Hurst to dig further on their own into Roach's expenses.

"We saw things that were staggering to the imagination," Hurst said about Roach's expenses.

Roach criticized Hurst for going to the press with his allegations before submitting them to the appropriate boards and agencies for investigation. "He has places to make those accusations,” she said.

Crosscut talked twice by phone with Roach on Sunday about Hurst's allegations — once for 45 minutes and once for five minutes.

"Chris is all about being a big blowfish. He's a frickin' blowfish," Roach said. She said that since Hurst has accused her of improprieties, she can accuse him of improprieties in return.

Roach said a potential King County judge candidate, John Torres, filed a police complaint against Hurst, alleging he made illegal threats of unveiling information about the dissolution of Torres' marriage unless he withdrew from the race. The Auburn police investigated the complaint. The police concluded no threats were made, and that Hurst was merely fulfilling an earlier request by Torres to give him a heads-up on any problems surfacing that could affect his candidacy, according to Auburn police records seen by Crosscut. Torres withdrew his candidacy on May 15, which was one week prior to his complaint with the police.


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Comments:

Posted Mon, Jul 14, 10:23 p.m. Inappropriate

Wow! Good dirt on sleazy Pam. The reimbursements for the phone and mailbox are definite violations if she used either for campaign purposes. And it's crazy that Hurst and Dahlquist are running a joint campaign! We need to hear more about this race for sure.

Mannix

Posted Tue, Jul 15, 8:20 a.m. Inappropriate

John,

Just how long have you lived around here? This is so old news; I swear that she has been pulling stuff like this since she emerged from her mother’s womb.

Since her name first appeared in print, stories like this have been floating around. Like her son being arrested and suddenly after two days all records of his arrest disappearing. Unfortunately, she represents my district. I am glad Crosscut allows pseudonyms in these comments, as she will probably try to hunt me down and attack me as she has done others who speak unfavorably towards her. She is a vindictive mean person. And, she is of the political criminal class.

Posted Tue, Jul 15, 9:24 a.m. Inappropriate

I sincerely hope Pam Roach is voted out of office. Not only is she doing illegal things, and costing taxpayers money, she is TERRIBLE for our kids! During the budget talks, she actually had the gall to say that we needed to forget about the kids who score in the lowest 10%, and focus on the kids that are "going to make it". Can you believe that? She also wrote an article in the newspaper about NOT supporting the levies for our schools. She doesn't want any levies or bonds to support our school district, when the State of Washington requires that local communities fund 20% of our schools, the government is supposed to fund 80%. There is no way our district can provide all of the amazing technology that they've done, and be able to keep up with other districts in our state that have a lot more money. Enumclaw School District has done an amazing job of keeping all of the art programs, keeping our class sizes lower by not having to let teachers go (they got rid of administrative staff, but no teachers), keeping the sports programs intact, when all of the other districts in our area made cuts to those programs. The focus for the Enumclaw School District has always been on the kids. The law says that the government's paramount duty is to fully fund K-12 education. We need legislators that willing and able to do what it takes to support our children's educations. Pam Roach is just SO wrong on so many levels, it is disturbing to me that she's been re-elected so many times. I truly hope people wake up and realize who and what she really is... and is definitely not good for our District.

BDGirl

Posted Tue, Jul 15, noon Inappropriate

Will The Roach finally get clipped? One has to doubt it. As others have observed, her finer porcine qualities have long been on display, and the discerning voters in South King County have never seemed to care. Will any of them read these latest charges? How many of them read anything? How many of them even know how to read? All the pointy-headed Seattle intellectuals may fume and fuss, but they love Pam in Ravensdale and Palmer Junction.

woofer

Posted Tue, Jul 15, 3:41 p.m. Inappropriate

Wow. This District has to be near the top of the rankings for total amount of crazy between all the elected state Representatives.

Posted Wed, Jul 16, 12:52 a.m. Inappropriate

She ought to switch parties and declare herself a "progressive." Seattle's peanut gallery would love her.

NotFan

Posted Sun, Jul 20, 10:02 a.m. Inappropriate

What? And compromise her ideological purity? Besides, we love her just the way she is.

woofer

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