KTTH OPINION

Rantz: Democrat Manka Dhingra says she’s a prosecutor in Attorney General campaign, but King County says otherwise

Jul 9, 2024, 5:49 PM | Updated: Jul 10, 2024, 8:35 am

Photo: State Senator Manka Dhingra, a Democrat from Redmond, keeps lying about a prosecutor's job t...

State Senator Manka Dhingra, a Democrat from Redmond, keeps lying about a prosecutor's job to bolster her fledgling Attorney General campaign. (Photo courtesy of the TVW's Voters' Guide)

(Photo courtesy of the TVW's Voters' Guide)

State Sen. Manka Dhingra, D-Redmond, has been claiming to hold a job as a King County prosecutor for years. But it’s apparently not true. Still, she’s using that claim to bolster her struggling campaign for Attorney General as she tries to convince voters that, despite her vocal advocacy for soft-on-crime legislation, she should be trusted with the state’s top legal job.

Dhingra is a former senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (KCPAO). She left her full-time position in 2017 to run for office. Since then, she was briefly rehired in 2019 and again, in a part-time capacity, for three months in 2021.

Though she left the position in 2021, Dhingra continued to claim that she holds that position in campaign materials and the official Video Voters’ Guide. But the KCPAO is pushing back against the state senator.

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After Undivided host Brandi Kruse first reported this story, the KCPAO intervened privately, asking Dhingra to stop describing herself as employed with their office. But Dhingra continues to dig in, insisting she’s on a leave of absence from a part-time job.

The KCPAO Human Resources director emailed Dhingra on June 20. She said the office learned “through a news reporter that you are stating you are a current senior deputy prosecuting attorney with the KCPAO rather than a former senior deputy. Will you please correct this in your campaign materials?” She then provided Dhingra with her official employment dates.

Dhingra responded brusquely several hours later: “Leesa told me I was on a leave of absence and that she considers me a current employee.”

Dhingra was referencing King County prosecutor Leesa Manion. But there was a problem with Dhingra’s claim.

“I spoke to Leesa, and she does not recall having this conversation,” the HR director replied the following morning.

Photo: The KCPAO Human Resources director emailed Dhingra on June 20.

The KCPAO Human Resources director emailed Dhingra on June 20. (Photo courtesy of Jason Rantz)

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Manka Dhingra gets dinged again by KCPAO for claims about her job

Hours later, the HR director sent another email to further clarify that Dhingra was misrepresenting her employment.

“By way of further follow-up, our HR and payroll records do not reflect that you have been on leave at any time since your resignation email dated October 1, 2021. We understand you may have had a conversation with Dan Satterberg while he was still the Prosecutor which led you to believe that you were on leave after your resignation, but Leesa does not recollect being part of such a conversation, or having such a conversation with you after she was elected,” the HR Director stated.

The email concluded unambiguously: “Please know that our office does not currently consider you to be on leave.”

Even after the email, in a statement to KOMO News, Dhingra claimed she’s on a leave of absence (presumably in a part-time capacity). She could not explain why the HR Director says otherwise.

“You’ll have to ask her about that,” Dhingra said.

“I have been a senior deputy prosecuting attorney with King County since 2000,” she continued.

Photo: Hours later, the HR Director sent another email to further clarify that Dhingra was misrepresenting her employment.

Hours later, the HR Director sent another email to further clarify that Dhingra was misrepresenting her employment. (Photo courtesy of Jason Rantz)

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Lying about lying?

Dhingra told KOMO News that she doesn’t say she’s currently employed with the KCPAO in her campaign materials.

“I’m always very clear that I am on a leave of absence, and I have consistently said that,” Dhingra claimed.

Except her statement in the Video Voters’ Guide shows otherwise.

“I am Manka Dhingra, deputy majority leader of the Washington state senate, Deputy Prosecuting Attorney with King County, and I’m running to be your next Attorney General,” she said in the present tense.

When introduced with the title during a recent debate, she nodded her head approvingly. Dhingra’s campaign website even claimed she has been in that position since 2000, only recently editing the document to add, “currently on a leave of absence.” The bio on her state senate website says she’s held the position since 2020.

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Manka Dhingra claims proof that doesn’t quite exist

To back her claim to the KCPAO, Dhingra forwarded an email from former King County prosecutor Satterberg when she concluded her part-time work in 2021. She told the HR Director and Manion that, “Dan always informed me that I was on a leave of absence.” But the email she provided does not say such a thing, though it does indicate she expected to be back.

“Today is my last day at PAO (for 2021),” Dhingra stated in the email.

Satterberg replied, “The offer remains in place for 2022, of course.”

This indicates an offer to return to part-time work, presumably when the legislative session ends. But it does not indicate a leave of absence for a part-time job and it’s unclear how Dhingra could perceive it to be. In an email to “The Jason Rantz Show” on KTTH, Dhingra did not explain what the “offer” was. She did, however, stand by the claim she’s on a leave of absence.

“I have been honored to have excellent relationships and trust with KCPAO and Dan Satterberg, Leesa Mannion, Mark Larson, Criminal Division Chief (ret.), Dan Clark, Criminal Division Chief who value my skill set and provide me the flexibility to return to work as my legislative and campaign schedule allows,” Dhingra explained.

Job title used to bolster campaign

The position that the KCPAO says she doesn’t hold is being used by Dhingra to promote her Attorney General campaign against former U.S. Attorney Nick Brown, a Democrat, and Pasco Mayor and Attorney Pete Serrano, a Republican.

Dhingra is an anti-police radical. She has been a strong supporter and defender of soft-on-crime legislation that has led to a historic rise in crime across the state of Washington. For example, Dhingra was a leading voice in shepherding a police pursuit ban in the Senate in 2021. She subsequently tried to kill attempts to reform it once it was shown to be responsible for a rise in suspects failing to pull over when ordered to by officers. In defending the bill, Dhingra knowingly cited debunked data that was so egregious that a member of her own party called it out. Consequently, voters overwhelmingly supported an initiative drive to repeal the bill, forcing Democrats to retreat on their position.

Strategically, Dhingra’s campaign hopes to distance the attorney general candidate from her far-left positions as more voters cite crime as a major concern this election cycle.

Listen to “The Jason Rantz Show” on weekday afternoons from 3-7 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow Jason on X, formerly known as TwitterInstagram, and Facebook.

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