Puget Sound Energy Attempting to Buy Another Election

November 1st, 2018

OLYMPIA, WA—Once again, Puget Sound Energy, a fracked gas energy monopoly owned by foreign investment banks, drops a load of cash in an attempt to buy a local Public Utility District election.

With PSE’s $13,000.00 contribution, an illegally-registered PAC and an incorrectly-filed independent expenditure, “Up for Thurston,” which also includes contributions from self-styled “progressive” local Olympia residents, filed a last-minute expense for mailers sent out in support of our opponent, Linda Oosterman.

Additionally, this PAC is violating state law by only listing a “ministerial” treasurer (Jason Bennett, of Argo Strategies, a political consulting firm in Seattle), and no other committee members.

For months, Linda Oosterman has lied to voters and claimed she has no connection with Puget Sound Energy. However, after the second election in a row of PSE funding her campaign, it is now impossible to believe that there isn’t coordination. Local Olympia resident and legislative aide to Laurie Dolan, Danielle Westbrook, is listed both as a principal of Percival Consulting (Oosterman’s campaign management firm) and as one of the contributors for the PAC. This is illegal coordination, according to state law.

This comes just days after a coordinated smear campaign against progressive candidate Andrew Saturn, who has the sole endorsement of the Thurston County Democrats and the South Puget Sound Green Party, along with dozens of other organizations and subject matter experts. It is also after months of similar physical and verbal attacks from individuals across the county—many of whom donated to “Up for Thurston.”

It has become clear now that entrenched political forces claiming to have an interest in renewable power are actually deep in the pockets of fracking and fossil fuel giants and foreign investment banks. Going into the midterm election, Saturn for PUD remains dedicated to kids and the environment. This campaign has refused all contributions from corporations, PACs, lobbyists, and millionaires and billionaires. We owe favors to nobody but the voters.

Thurston County currently gets over 99% of its power from Puget Sound Energy. Andrew Saturn has stated that he wishes to begin the process of moving Thurston towards publicly-owned power generated with wind and solar and other renewables. If Thurston County is successful in switching to clean renewable public power, Puget Sound Energy stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Thurston County Public Utility District is a public utility owned by residents of Thurston County. It is responsible for operating 303 water systems in Thurston County, and often acts as a satellite management agency, helping about 10 other public and private water system owners in diagnosing and resolving issues and improving their own systems. With over 8,400 direct customers, and over 600 via outside systems, the PUD serves over 9,000 customers county-wide.

Andrew Saturn is a union tech worker, designer, engineer, and lifelong progressive activist running as a first-time candidate in a non-partisan county-wide race for Public Utility District Commissioner. Saturn believes regular working people deserve a seat at the table, not for-profit corporate monopolies and their lobbyists.

Please vote on November 6th for clean energy and responsible, honest campaigns.

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