King County Sheriff’s Office to investigate Reardon’s office
EVERETT - The King County Sheriff’s Office will be investigating the slew of public records requests engineered by two employees in Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon’s office.
The Skagit County Prosecutor’s Office will review the detectives’ reports to determine if any laws were broken.
The two employees at the epicenter of the records requests, legislative analyst Kevin Hulten and legislative aide Jon Rudicil, were placed on administrative leave last week.
Reardon announced Feb. 21 he will resign May 31 in the wake of the scandals. He had declined to go on administrative leave since reports surfaced of his troubles a year and a half ago.
Hulten, meanwhile, is requesting whistle-blower protection to the County Council, the Herald reported last week. Hulten also is asking for an investigation of Snohomish County Prosecutor Mark Roe, the Herald reported. Roe was considering an investigation into Reardon’s administration shortly before Reardon’s resignation announcement.
The County Council is charged with selecting an interim county executive to fill the role until a special election in November 2014. The interim appointment would have to run for election to fill the position through the term’s end at the end of 2015.
The appointment decision has to happen within 60 days of Reardon’s last day.
Snohomish County Sheriff John Lovick is the first and only person to publicly announce he’s interested in the job as of late last week.
Lovick, 61, spent nine years as a state representative from Mill Creek before being elected sheriff. He has more than 31 years experience with the Washington State Patrol. He was elected sheriff in 2008 shortly after his tenure in the Legislature.
Since Reardon is a Democrat, the Snohomish County Democrats get to nominate three candidates to the County Council for consideration. If the council can’t decide, Gov. Jay Inslee will make the decision.
State Rep. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, and state Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, also have expressed interest in the position to the press.
Reardon’s administration was hit with a barrage of investigative reports by the Herald linking Hulten to the series of records requests made under a pseudonym that were used to create a number of online attack sites. Hulten has repeatedly denied he made the requests, although he appeared to admit doing so in a February television interview.
The requests were intended to find dirt on Reardon’s political opponents, including Reardon’s 2011 campaign opponent state Rep. Mike Hope, R-Lake Stevens. More than a dozen county officials were targeted in the requests, the Herald reported.
In his county address Feb. 21, Reardon formally requested an independent third-party investigation into himself and his staff on all recent allegations, and to investigate any other allegations that may surface.
Reardon also is being investigated by the Public Disclosure Commission, the state agency that oversees campaign spending.
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