Criminal charges have been filed against a member of Service Employees International Union, Local 775 NW for submitting allegedly forged signatures in support of Initiative 1098, the high-earners income tax measure.
Criminal charges filed against SEIU member for submitting bogus I-1098 signatures
According to papers filed with the King County Superior Court, Claudia McKinney has been charged with signing an initiative petition with other than her true name, a Class C felony punishable by up to five years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.
McKinney was paid by her union for time she spent away from her job gathering signatures as well as for meals and mileage, according to an affidavit by a Washington State Patrol detective that accompanied the charging papers.
Dan Donohoe, a spokesman for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, said that McKinney is being charged with one all-encompassing criminal count rather than for each allegedly bogus signature. According to the WSP affidavit, detectives interviewed 19 individuals who purportedly signed one of McKinney’s signature sheets but who said they in fact did not, which could support 19 separate charges.
The front and back of a representative sample of the signature sheets submitted by McKinney can be seen here and here.
Class C felonies are not ranked under sentencing guidelines, which means that McKinney, if convicted, is looking at anywhere from zero to up to a year of jail time, said Donohoe.
McKinney is scheduled to be arraigned at the King County Courthouse on September 29, and a criminal trial could follow within two months, said Donohoe, who added that it is possible that a trial could be concluded by the end of the year.
Donohoe said that, while McKinney has not as yet been arrested, the prosecutor’s office is taking the matter seriously. If she fails to show up for her arraignment, a bench warrant for her arrest will be issued and she will be pursued, Donohoe said.