Doug Ericksen’s Tax Lien

By On

My information on Doug Ericksen’s tax lien was going to be posted after the voting was over as I did not want to join the race to the bottom of this election season. But during my guest appearance on Dillon Honcoops' KGMI radio show this morning, Honcoop brought on Randy Pebble, who dragged the rhetoric of the program into the gutter.

I’ve been on Honcoops' program many times over the years - but in the past, the on-air discussions have been informative for listeners - not advancing a political candidate or issue. Today, Pebble called KGMI while the show was in progress and was allowed on. He offered no disclaimer and did not disclose his affiliation as as an extreme right political operative. The website he supposedly writes for - shiftwa.org - is one of those anonymous places with no accountability - just the sort we should all detest and ignore, whether of left or right politics. As soon as he came on he started smearing Democrats and Seth Fleetwood in particular.

I refuse to let a bully hit someone else and do nothing. So, on air, I mentioned Doug Ericksen’s tax lien, information I have been holding the entire election season. I revealed that while Ericksen has spent the campaign smearing Seth Fleetwood for having had a tax lien, Ericksen himself faces a tax lien of tens of thousands of dollars.

After a commercial, Ericksen phoned in to say I was lying, he had no tax lien. Honcoops then asked me to comment. When I exposed the facts, Ericksen admitted I was right but explained he was just participating in a tax shelter program that is available to anyone, a part of our county's agriculture preservation program. Well - the truth is, Fleetwood’s tax arrangement from many years ago was just as legal and also available to anyone. Fleetwood was never behind on his taxes nor in violation of any tax laws - as is also true for Ericksen. But Ericksen twisted the facts about Fleetwood’s tax program and used it to smear Fleetwood. All the while, Ericksen is participating in an equilivent program.

Ericksen claimed his program protected his land forever from development. That is simply not true. Ericksen can opt out of that program and sell his land for development any time he wants. Once he does, he will be required to pay his tax lien. Currently, it's at $29,350.07 - taxes you and I pay to make up. I will write more about this tax lien of Ericksen’s after the election - as I had planned.

From the beginning, Ericksen's campaign against Fleetwood was little more than lies, smears and the twisting of facts. After this election, I will follow Ericksen more closely and inform voters about him before his next political campaign. With so little political news, we citizens - we voters - have a very hard time bringing our own personal analysis to campaign claims and accusations.

Randy Pebble’s attacks of Fleetwood motivated me to expose the deceit behind his smears. With most ballots already cast, I doubt this will impact the election in any manner. Doug Ericksen - as I said on the program - will easily beat Seth Fleetwood and be returned to the Washington State Senate. That's unfortunate for us, because Fleetwood is a fine fellow, a good representative of we the people, and a man of honor who will retain that integrity after this election.

Finally, my disclaimer. I am an Independent - a non partisan voter - and have been all my life. Well, while in college, I was a charter member of the Young Americans for Freedom - a rather right wing group. But I contributed to Bill Clinton’s campaign in 1992 - after which the Democratic Party automatically made me a member. It took me over 10 years to get off their party rolls and as a consequence I have not contributed money to a Democratic candidate since 1992.

Update - Wed, Nov 5 - 1am: The podcast of the program is now posted. You can listen for yourself. The first half hour is a calm discussion by Riley, Dillon and myself about the election - with no campaigning. At minute 37 it heats up; at 40 Randy Pebble gets into smears; at 42 I respond; and at 51 Doug Ericksen responds. Doug first denies he has a tax lien, and then has to admit he does have one.

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About John Servais

Citizen Journalist and Editor • Fairhaven, Washington USA • Member since Feb 26, 2008

John started Northwest Citizen in 1995 to inform fellow citizens of serious local political issues that the Bellingham Herald was ignoring. With the help of donors from the beginning, he has [...]

Comments by Readers

John Servais

Nov 04, 2014

That did not take long.  Over at SaveWhatcom.org - another of the anonymous far right websites - they will tell you that I did not tell the truth this morning.  They are vague - and avoid mentioning the tax lien.  They call it a Hail Mary pass - and ignore the context of my replying to the smear by Randy Pebble who came on the air in mid program. 

Now if SaveWhatcom - or the supposed writer of the article, Lorraine Newman - cares to state exactly what lie I told, then that would be the right thing to do.  Or, if the sentence was wrongly worded, then print a correction.  If SaveWhatcom thinks they are the truth tellers while Riley and I are the liars, then show it. 

Lorraine?  You can email me your reply and I’ll post it here - if it states my supposed lie and tells what you say is the truth, or if it is an apology for a false accusation.  Your turn Lorraine.  We already know you read NWCitizen. 

.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

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John Lesow

Nov 04, 2014

I just posted on SaveWhatcom.org.  There is no mention of a tax lien.  Just some over-the-top allegations of conspiracy theories and lies.  When the allegations of Seth’s tax “problems” first surfaced on a Republican campaign mailer, I figured there must be some context.  Too bad it took this long to get the straight story.

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Barbara Perry

Nov 06, 2014

Ericksen’s attack adds and lies were so many on KISM that I have not listened to that radio station since before the election.

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John Lesow

Nov 07, 2014

Barbara,  the simple truth about Seth Fleetwood’s taxes is stated in John Servais’ post,  “Fleetwood was never behind on his taxes nor in violation of any tax laws”.

The Washington State Republican Party twisted this into damning allegations on their early campaign mailings.  For example:  “IRS debt.  Seth Fleetwood (D)owed thousands of dollars in back taxes to the IRS.”  I have known Seth for 20 years.  He is the last person that would engage in any deception or unlawful behavior.  But “IRS debt” and “back taxes” are powerful words to the average voter.  More powerful than the subsequent charges of “Seattle interests”, “Higher taxes” and “lies about the environment”.

Interestingly, another campaign mailer characterizes Seth as Pinnochio and uses the word “lies” four separate times.  “Lies about Taxes” is used in the heading of the piece, but nothing is mentioned about taxes in the text.

However, the initial seed of tax problems with the IRS had already been planted in previous mailings.  In negative campaign advertising, initial perception is everything. The Washington State Republican Party can take the blame—or the credit—for this fraudulent allegation against a Democratic candidate.  Their innuendo is completely false, but effective in delivering a message that a candidate is in trouble with the IRS.  Lately, there are few initials that are as negative to most citizens as “IRS” no matter what your politics.

Another political buzzword of the day is “transparency”.  How transparent is SaveWhatcom.org?  I posted a comment to their referenced “Hail Mary” article earlier this week. It has been blocked. Never seen by anyone other than myself.  And I don’t see any response on this blog from SaveWhatcom’s Lorraine Newman to John Servais open challenge to specify his “lies”.

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Terry Wechsler

Nov 09, 2014

I’m sorry, but please explain again how, as a supposed journalist, you withheld this information until the polls closed?

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John Servais

Nov 11, 2014

I withheld the information because Seth’s campaign managers followed Doug’s people to the bottom.  If Seth had advertised why we should elect him and what his values and programs were, then I would have exposed Doug Ericksen’s tax lien during the campaign.

Now, granted, Doug Ericksen started the smears, lies and mud slinging.  But as one local Democratic Party operative told a couple of us, when we complained about the negative Fleetwood campaign, “negative wins”. 

After Doug Ericksen started smearing Seth Fleetwood back in July with the lies about Seth’s taxes and rental home, I researched the Doug Ericksen tax lien in August and was ready to go with it anytime the Fleetwood campaign stopped being negative.  They never did.  And if two campaigns are in a race to the bottom with negative campaigning, well, they should realize that only one will win.  And I have no interest in joining a mud fight.

I’ve known Seth for many years and feel he would have preferred to speak of his values and vision for the voters of the 42nd district.  I think his advisors just pushed him into allowing that negative stuff. My exposing Doug Ericksen’s tax lien would have just smelled like more of the negative Fleetwood campaign.  For that reason, I withheld it.

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