A state agency has dropped its investigation into Michael King, who pleaded guilty this month to stealing from the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee while serving as its executive director.
Members of the Public Disclosure Commission voted Thursday to not fine King for allegedly violating state public disclosure laws, leaving King to be punished in criminal court.
King pleaded guilty to eight counts of theft in King County Superior Court Oct. 3. In charging documents, prosecutors alleged he stole between $250,000 and $300,000 from the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee between March 2011 and January 2013, concealing the thefts by reporting them as “reimbursements for polling or personal expenses.”
Court documents state King said he “took this money because he had a drinking and gambling problem.”
Prosecutors are asking that King serve two years in prison and pay $250,000 in restitution, according to a PDC report. King has a criminal sentencing hearing scheduled for Nov. 22.
Grant Degginger, a PDC board member, said he’s “not sure anything more can come” from ordering King to pay additional civil fines.
“We know that Mr. King is likely to spend time incarcerated,” Degginger said. “Is there any reason to believe he has the resources to pay an additional penalty or fine?”
A PDC complaint filed in February accused King of “concealing the true nature of committee expenditures” and “converting committee funds to his personal use,” as well as filing inaccurate campaign spending reports.
Had the PDC moved forward with its investigation, it could have sought civil penalties against King up to a maximum of $10,000.
PDC chair Amit Ranade questioned Thursday whether the PDC should have let prosecutors handle the King investigation in the first place. According to a PDC report, officials with the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee notified prosecutors of King’s embezzlement about the same time they informed the PDC.
“I’m not sure this was a good use of our limited resources or enforcement resources, given where the criminal matter seems to be going,” Ranade told PDC staff members. “We can spend your time in other places.”
Melissa Santos: 360-357-0209