What in the world is taking Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes so long to decide whether or not he’ll charge a like-minded Progressive Seattle activist?
Last October, a detective with the Seattle Police Department recommended charging a former Seattle City Council candidate for violating the rules of the democracy voucher program during her unsuccessful campaign. Sheley Secrest, a Progressive activist, attorney and vice president of the local NAACP, allegedly put her own money into her campaign, then falsely claimed it was donated by voters so that she would qualify for up to $150,000 in vouchers.
Months later and Holmes still hasn’t pressed charges.
“We have not yet made a decision, and while I [can’t] give you a specific timeline we’re hoping to make a filing decision soon,” John Schochet, Deputy City Attorney, told me over email. “It’s a complex and novel case, and it’s important that we take the time to get it right.”
I’m not entirely sure it’s all that complex. The voucher program clearly prohibits what Secrest is alleged to have done. And it’s only novel because it’s the first time the program was in place, making this the first potential lawsuit. But being novel doesn’t make it complex.
The longer the city attorney waits to press charges, the easier it will be for the public to forget about this case. I won’t let that happen. This silly program forces me to give tax dollars to pay for political speech I disagree with. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let Holmes quietly move on from this, hoping the media doesn’t catch wind of what feels like an inevitable decision by Holmes to pass on prosecution, potentially with a lame excuse like, “well, it’s a new program so maybe she was confused.”
I hope that’s not what he does. I hope Holmes shows some leadership — and sends the message that if you’re going to try to play the system, funded by our tax dollars, for personal benefit, there are consequences.