After being recorded holding a fundraiser with bank lobbyists when he was supposed to be attending the critical June State Investment Board Meeting (SIB), State Treasurer Duane Davidson has struggled to explain what he has been doing instead of attending the SIB and the other boards and commissions that are in charge of economic development, protecting pensions, affordable housing, and safeguarding families’ college investments. Davidson refuses to make public the full details of his official calendar – which would help answer these questions – until the year 2022.
Davidson has only attended 3 of the last 20 State Investment Board meetings, attending both meetings held at Alderbrook Resort & Spa during that time. Davidson’s predecessor, State Treasurer Jim McInitire, chaired the State Investment Board and personally attended nearly every SIB meeting. Davidson’s decision to schedule his campaign fundraiser with bank lobbyists, while the SIB was meeting to respond to a $6 billion loss to pension funds, is at least the second time Davidson skipped an SIB meeting for a political fundraiser. The first (11/15/18) was a Thurston County Republican luncheon he attended at the same time as an Olympia SIB meeting.
Davidson promotes on his website that he sits on the SIB and several other important state boards and commissions that “influence finances, college access, and affordability” in Washington. But Davidson has missed half of these important board and commission meetings since taking office. In recent years, Davidson’s attendance has plummeted. Since the start of 2020, as our economic crisis has exploded, Davidson has skipped two-thirds of these meetings. Sometimes, he has nothing else at all on his calendar.
Since the end of 2018, Davidson has missed all meetings of the Guaranteed Education Tuition (GET) Washington 529 Committee, which protects families’ college investment savings. He missed at least one meeting (5/15/19) because he had a call with a Republican organization at the same time instead.
During our economic crisis, Davidson has skipped all Economic Development Finance Authority meetings, which provides small business financial assistance. Throughout his State Treasurer term, Davidson has only attended 3 of these 26 meetings. He has missed at least one meeting (12/7/17) to speak to a Republican club at the same time instead. He skipped another (4/26/19) for a “Barber Appointment.”
Davidson explained to a Republican organization [Video: 1:30] last month that he started sending staff to cover his meetings “because I was spending more time on things like [the] Housing Finance Board.” But since the end of 2017, Davidson only attended 3 of 30 of these Housing Finance Commission meetings. He has skipped Housing Finance Commission meetings that fund affordable housing and senior continuous care to do the following at the same time instead:
- “State Fair” (8/23/18),
- A Republican luncheon (11/15/18),
- “Boat Transfer” (01/24/19),
- A Republican organization meeting (2/28/19),
- “Drive time” to Walla Walla for Republican “Lincoln day” fundraising speech (06/28/18), and
- Sometimes there was nothing else on his calendar at all (10/25/18 & 10/24/19).
Even when Davidson’s schedule has him going to Suncadia Resort for a two-night (05/22/17) Housing Finance Commission meeting, he was absent from the actual meeting, which left the meeting one member short of a quorum, requiring the meeting to be cancelled, and causing bond financing to be deferred for the Tukwila Village Senior Living facility.
Davidson even missed meetings of the Economic Revenue Forecast Council, skipping the adoption of a budget outlook (06/11/19) to “Travel to Ephrata” and speak that night at a Grant County Republican Party event that Davidson promoted on the Treasurer’s official website. He had Jason Richter from his office cover for him at that critical meeting and for the majority of the 79 meetings Davidson skipped during his term.
The full details of Davidson’s activities when he was not at these meetings are unknown. A June Public Records Act request for Davidson’s current and complete calendar has so far resulted in Davidson’s office creating an excel document that lists appointments, instead of providing Davidson’s full official calendar. Nearly three months after the initial PRA request, Davidson has turned over his full calendar only for the month of June 2020, which described several calendared June political events on his official calendar hidden from his earlier provided appointment listing, including the (06/18/20) “Treasurer Talk” bank-lobbyist fundraiser that Davidson held at the time he was skipping the June SIB meeting.
When pressed for Davidson’s complete official calendar of his first term, his office said Davidson’s full calendar from January to June 2020 won’t be available until November, and the rest of Davidson’s complete official calendar would be available no earlier than 2022 for a cost of $150.
State Representative and candidate for Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti – who was the first legislator to voluntarily release his full legislative calendar and successfully led the legislative effort to apply the Public Records Act to the legislature in 2017 – responded, “I expect the incumbent to return the maximum donation he took from the bank lobby at his inappropriate fundraiser and immediately make the details of his full calendar public. Turning over an official calendar shouldn’t take two days, let alone two years. It raises red flags that the incumbent is hiding the details of other political activities he was doing instead of serving Washingtonians’ financial interests. If the incumbent doesn’t want to do his job as Treasurer during this economic crisis, he should step aside.”
State Representative Mike Pellicciotti (D-Federal Way) beat Republican Treasurer Duane Davidson by 6.5 points in a head-to-head primary election. Pellicciotti has more individual contributions than any state treasurer campaign in known history.
Learn more at ElectMikeP.com
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