It’s an impasse worthy of Joseph Heller. The author of the comic novel Catch-22 provided us with the perfect term for a specific type of trap. In Heller’s story, you could only get out of the army if you were crazy — but if you asked to get out, that was proof of your sanity. Catch-22!
In Washington State, citizens may recall an elected official, but the recall effort must do two things: Prove to a court that the effort is not frivolous and abide by the state’s campaign finance laws.
Trouble is, for the court hearing you need an attorney. If your effort — like the current effort to recall controversial Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer Dale Washam — is popular enough to get pro bono work from a major law firm, too bad.
Bad? Well, the campaign finance regulation applies to attorneys, too — and, according to some bureaucrats, the campaign finance limit of $800 per person limits not merely citizen contributors, but volunteering lawyers as well. They may not contribute more than $800 worth of labor to the client!
So, a recall is technically possible. But practically, it is not.
Another typical pro-incumbency effect of campaign finance regulation.
In this case, the Institute for Justice has come to the rescue. They’ve sued: Farris et al. v. Seabrook et al. IJ has made it a mission to defend Americans thwarted by misguided campaign finance regulation.
Someone has to fight our Catch-22’s.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.