DeBolt house not on asset list Democrats file PDC complaint

Rep. Richard DeBolt didn't list his house when filling out state-required accountings of his assets over his 10-year tenure in the Legislature.

The House Republican leader said the omission was an inadvertent error, but his Democratic challenger says the veteran politician should have known better.

DeBolt and his family bought their current home in Chehalis in 2002. They paid $260,000, according to Lewis County records.

That's $18,000 less than the previous owner paid in 1996. The previous owner was Bart J. Hyita, who worked for the company that was a predecessor to TransAlta - DeBolt's employer - until 1999. TransAlta is an energy company.

"I don't understand this one," DeBolt said. "We just bought the house. It was on the market for three years. We put a low-ball offer in, and we got it."

DeBolt said he has never met Hyita. He sent information on the house to the commission on Thursday, he added.

Thurston County Democratic Party Chairman John Cusick had filed a complaint against DeBolt with the Public Disclosure Commission over the reports.

"The first thing we noticed is there was no home listed," Cusick said. "So it looked incomplete, and then we looked at the home and looked at these interesting values and wondered if it should be investigated. We asked the PDC, and they said the only way it would be investigated is if we filed a complaint. So we filed a complaint."

DeBolt accused the Democrats of dodging issues in favor of mud-slinging.

"That seems like a minute, hard-to-dig-out detail," DeBolt said. "It's campaign season and I take it in stride. From what I've heard from people, they're kind of mad that it's so negative."

DeBolt's challenger, Lacey Democrat Mike Rechner, said it was a fair question to ask.

"The PDC is there so people can decide whether or not there's a conflict of interest," Rechner said. "How can the public do that if he doesn't fill out the forms?"

The men are racing for a House seat in the 20th District, which includes all of Lewis County and southern Thurston County.

Adam Wilson covers state workers and politics for The Olympian. He can be reached at 360-753-1688 or awilson@theolympian.com.