Former state Sen. Cheryl Pflug's (R-Maple Valley) appointment to the Growth Management Hearings Board on May 21, the last day to withdraw her candidacy for reelection to the 5th District Senate seat and subsequent endorsement of Issaquah Democrat Mark Mullet, sparked a firestorm of criticism by the state GOP.
The move also lately has convinced Democratic Rep. candidate David Spring (D-North Bend) to (Snoqualmie) for the seat, and laying a lengthy missive that he says supports his claim that Pflug was bribed and that Mullet was involved.
Adding to the melee, Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), said he plans to introduce legislation to this year to prevent a governor from appointing a sitting legislator to a board position so close to the filing date, and requested public records from the Growth Management Hearings Board related to Pflug's appointment. Erickson circulated the documents he received this week via email, they are attached here as PDFs. (Note, the emails discuss specifically Pflug's application, but do not include any discussions of other candidates' qualifications).
At the center of Erickson's claims of foul play are questions of whether Pflug, who was finishing her law studies at the time she applied for the job, was even qualified to fill the position, not having taken the bar exam yet and not having served as a local elected official (such as on a city council or school board). The documents also indicate that Pflug applied for the job after the deadline.
King5 reporter Robert Mak reported that a spokeswoman for Gov. Chris Gregoire noted that for each region of the Growth Management Hearings Board that one member hold a JD and one member have been a local elected official. In the case of the central region, which Pflug was appointed to, the other member, Margaret Pageler, is both a lawyer and former Seattle City Council member, and according to the documents Erickson received, Pflug is arranging to take unpaid leave this winter to take the bar exam. Gregoire was required to select a Republican to fill the position.
For her part, Pflug told Patch recently that she had filed for reelection when she had heard no word on the possible appointment, and had told the committee that she needed to know by May 21st as that was the last day to withdraw. When she got the call on Monday, May 21 at noon, Pflug said, she felt okay about withdrawing, since there was another Republican candidate who had filed, but the GOP cried foul at the time, suggesting that had he known Pflug was not going to run, 5th District Rep. Jay Rodne, who is unopposed in his bid for reelection for Pos. 1, likely would have run for the seat.
Pflug also notes, in one of the documents circulated this week, and sent to Patch by David Spring, that she was one of three sitting legislators vying for the seat, though the other applicants' names are redacted in the documents.