Voters of San Juan County need to be aware of, and wary of, TrustIslanders!, a local political action committee trying to buy our April 23 elections for County Council with the support of wealthy donors. It’s the first time a local PAC has been formed to influence our county elections. If it’s successful, it will set a terrible precedent for our community. PACs are organizations formed to circumvent the intent of campaign finance laws.
They may be legal, but are they democratic and ethical? To answer that question, one needs look no further than to the PACs in last year’s national elections formed by the likes of Karl Rove. According to the fundraising request posted by the chairwoman of the San Juan County Republican Party on its website on March 9, TrustIslanders! is raising up to $25,000 for countywide mailings and advertisements endorsing its candidates for the April 23 election to the new County Council. This partisan political campaign is deceptively clever, centered on the words “trust” and “fear”. We are told to trust whomever TrustIslanders! supports and to fear everyone else. It uses fear tactics to pit friend against friend, neighbor against neighbor! These are not our community values.
Most of the founders and supporters of TrustIslanders! are supporters of the SJC County Republican Party and the Common Sense Alliance. The latter is not permitted by law to endorse candidates itself. TrustIslanders! is a clever way for its supporters to circumvent this prohibition.Donors to the campaigns for county council in our April 23 election cannot give more than $900 to any one candidate. However, Royce Meyerott and Browne’s Home Center have already donated $2,000 each to TrustIslanders!, according to the state Public Disclosure Commission website. Fourteen other wealthy donors have given $500 each. TrustIslanders! claims to be non-partisan because it has a few supporters who claim to be Democrats. However, almost all PACs by definition are partisan. Why else would it be raising $25,000 to influence our upcoming elections?
Beware of people and organizations who say “just trust me”. And be sure to vote on April 23.
San Juan Island