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Group claims Gregoire covered up

By ERICA HALL

Staff writer

The Concerned Citizens of Auburn and Federal Way, a citizens group that opposed Peasley Canyon being tapped as a potential site for a transitional home for civilly committed, Level 3 sex offenders, is calling for an investigation into alleged misconduct by state Attorney General Christine Gregoire.

The group, represented by Auburn attorney Yvonne Kinoshita Ward, sent a letter Monday to Governor Gary Locke, asking him to investigate their allegations of malfeasance, mistakes and subsequent coverups which the group said Gregoire did for political gain or to avoid political embarrassment.

In a statement issued Monday evening, Locke said, “I am confident that a thorough investigation into the issues was conducted and I do not intend to press for additional inquiry.” Gregoire’s office did not return calls by press time.

Ward said she’s researched the alleged misconduct for some time, since the Auburn-Federal Way citizens group “got burned by her” when a deputy attorney general failed to respond to a lawsuit filed by North Bend residents. Gregoire then failed to correct the mistake, Ward said. Those failures essentially removed North Bend from a list of potential sites for housing for Level 3 sex offenders. A site in south Seattle eventully was chosen by the state.

According to Ward, Gregoire attempted to cover up the error and chose not to correct it in order to avoid adverse publicity. Ward added Gregoire was preparing to announce her candidacy for governor.

Since then, Ward said, she’s been “looking into what options citizens have” to hold the attorney general accountable — besides Gregoire investigating herself.

Under state law, the attorney general investigates alleged misconduct of other government agencies, but there isn’t a mechanism for investigating the attorney general.

There are only three ways for citizens to address allegations of misconduct by the attorney general: Seek a recall, ask the Legislature to hold hearings or bring impeachment proceedings, or ask the governor to conduct an independent probe.

Ward said the Auburn-Federal Way group would prefer the governor conduct the investigation. But if Locke declines, the letter sent to him Monday also serves as a formal request to the state House and Senate to hold hearings and begin impeachment proceedings, she said.

Gregoire, who’s running for governor as a Democrat, has said allegations of misconduct are partisan ploys. But Ward noted that she herself has a position in the Democratic Party.

In her letter to Locke, Ward said her group is a non-profit, non-partisan association that’s “not political or associated with any political party.”

According to the group, Gregoire’s misconduct stretches back to 1998 and includes accusations of tampering with evidence or documents, destroying or withholding records with knowledge they are sought by the public, complicity and rendering criminal assistance.

Staff writer Erica Hall: 925-5565, ehall@fedwaymirror.com

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