The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Kate Mathews



Mr. Marzeles, your readers might be be interested to know that you are the citizen who requested an investigation of Lori Hoctor. You had every right to do so, and your request is being treated with the same respect and professional detachment as the others.

Your readers also might consider what they would have thought had Ms. Hoctor taken a position on any of the allegations she has referred to the Attorney General’s Office. One side or the other would have cried “foul.” Ms. Hoctor did not wait for Sheriff McComas to request an investigation of your personal complaint. She wrote directly to Attorney General Ferguson, requesting a formal “Attorney General Opinion.” (As you may be aware, only the Sheriff can request an investigation from the Washington State Patrol.)

Your request into my campaign involvement ties directly to the inquiry into campaign activities by KCSO employees on behalf of Bob Songer. Your readers may not be aware of the “conflict of laws” that led to Ms. Hoctor’s referral in that case. Two separate Washington statutes related to civil service employee campaign participation directly contradict one another. RCW 41.06.205 allows all “employees of the state or any political subdivision thereof” to participate in elections as candidates, contributors, and campaign workers. RCW 41.14.190 specifically prohibits such activity by civil service employees in the Sheriff’s office. There is no “case law” resolving the conflict. Ms. Hoctor properly recused herself and referred the matter to the Attorney General’s office. It would have been inappropriate for her to have taken this upon herself.

Your request that my participation in Ms. Hoctor’s campaign likewise be investigated highlights the general confusion and ill-will rampant in this election. No state law prohibits campaign activities of public employees who are not employed in the Sheriff’s office. Nevertheless, Ms. Hoctor referred your complaint to the Attorney General, as you demanded. Meanwhile, I will continue to openly and actively use my personal time on Ms. Hoctor’s behalf. She understands the law, understands her job, and is willing to take a bit of heat when doing the right thing. So am I.


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