Plaintiffs donate to judges’ campaigns


By Mary C. Tillotson |

Washington’s first charter school opened this fall, welcoming students who come from difficult backgrounds — families touched by violence, drug abuse, homelessness. The school, First Place, has been running as a nonprofit for years, helping families get on their feet. Since the state’s voters passed a charter school law in 2012, First Place was able to open as a charter school, freeing up some money for additional services.

Plaintiffs in a school-choice lawsuit have donated some of the justices’ campaigns.

A limited number of charter schools are slated to open in the state over the next few years. The state’s teachers’ union, Washington Education Association, and a handful of others have sued the state, hoping to overturn the law, close the schools and prevent new ones from opening. Hearings in the supreme court began last week.

That same WEA and its Political Action Committee have donated thousands of dollars to justices seeking re-election, according to Liv Finne, director of the Center for Education at the Washington Policy Institute. Four justices received the maximum contributions this year and three received the maximum in 2012 from the WEA. Finne has the detailed report.

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