President Obama's choice for the government's No. 2 housing job is embroiled in the largest fine in U.S. history for "blatant violations" of open records laws after the Washington State Supreme Court chastised his office for withholding documents detailing taxpayer costs for a new professional football stadium in Seattle…The documents that Ronald Sims' office was found to have kept from the public when he served as King County executive included information about cheaper alternatives to the $430 million Seattle Seahawks stadium…Washington's highest court ruled in January that the withheld documents would have allowed voters in a referendum to challenge "the veracity" of King County's request for $300 million in public bonds for the project. The justices found the actions of Mr. Sims' office to be so "egregious" that they scrapped a lower court's order of a $123,780 fine - the largest ever assessed in a public records case - and recommended that the penalty be increased to as much as $825,000…Mr. Obama nominated Mr. Sims as the top deputy at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) just three weeks after the court's ruling….EXCLUSIVE: Records violations ensnare housing nominee,
Jerry Seper, Washington Times, 4/7/2009
Whatever else you might say, the Washington Times is far more a people’s newspaper in Washington than the Post. This story by Jerry Seper, if released during a Republican Administration, would have caused a firestorm scandal that would almost certainly bring down the nominee and would add ten points to the White House’s negatives. Not for this group of Chicago’s best! No, the most ethical administration in history plunges ahead, after a harsh and very expensive judgment against the nominee for behavior in his previous position in Washington State. What’s the rule at the White House? Pick somebody you met at a Saul Alinsky memorial party in 2003? Take a message from George Soros? Sims’ name should be withdrawn or the White House’s phrase “ethical administration” will become a reminiscent of the words “I did not have sex with that woman” or “I am not a crook.”
The story is an ugly one, and superbly detailed and backgrounded by Seper. Go read it and try not to scream.