Michael King, the former executive director of the state Senate Democratic Campaign Committee who was charged with embezzling at least $250,000 in campaign donations to fuel his alcohol and gambling problems, pleaded guilty Thursday to four counts of first-degree theft and four counts of second-degree theft.
King showed up in King County Superior Court for what was supposed to be his arraignment on eight counts of theft. In an unusual move, he pleaded guilty. The state will recommend he serve two years in prison and pay $250,000 in restitution.
Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 22.
According to charges filed last month, King faked polling results and other expenses and wrote himself checks from the Democrats’ campaign account between 2011 and early 2013.
The thefts came to light in February, after the SDCC’s then-treasurer, Jason Bennett, noticed the suspicious expenses submitted by King. He informed the co-chairs of the committee, who hired a private law firm to investigate, and notified police.
King acknowledged the thefts during an interview with prosecutors. “I did these things and I have to accept consequences and I do,” he said, according to the charging papers.
Bank records examined by police revealed deposits to King’s personal accounts corresponding with “reimbursements” from the SDCC, and “many dozens” of withdrawals at Goldie’s Shoreline Casino in Shoreline, the Tulalip Casino in Marysville and the Silver Dollar Casino in SeaTac.