Congressman Jay Inslee has transferred $155,000 from his old federal campaign account to the state Democratic Party in a move that effectively allows him to circumvent limitations on how he can use that cash, according to reports released Friday.
By simply sending the batch of money to the state Democratic Party, Inslee can help pay for get-out-the vote efforts that will benefit him. The state party has also been providing him hundreds of thousands of dollars in financial support in recent months.
Inslee spokesman Sterling Clifford said the money is not a quid-pro-quo to shift money to the Inslee campaign but is sent to the state party's federal efforts to encourage voting.
"There is a party-led get-out-the-vote effort that benefits candidates from the top of the federal ticket all the way down," Clifford said.
Inslee, who resigned from his job in Congress last month, still has $375,000 in his federal account.
Even with more than $700,000 in support from the Washington State Democrats, Inslee has only managed to build a small fundraising lead in his race for governor.
Meanwhile, Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna has largely been unable to fundraise for months because of rules prohibiting state politicians from raising cash while the Legislature is in session.
The state party can transfer a maximum of about $3 million to Inslee's campaign.
Lori Anderson, a spokeswoman for the state's Public Disclosure Commission, said the state party has an account segregated specifically for federal money.
"We don't have regulatory authority over that federal money," Anderson said. "And we don't have any authority over the political party's ability to accept it."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.