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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

County Ethics Review Commission dismisses complaints against Auditor Greg Kimsey, prosecutor’s office

One complaint claimed county Auditor Greg Kimsey “misled the (Clark County) Council by stating that only two ballot errors were discovered during the recounts of 2022.”

By Shari Phiel, Columbian staff writer
Published: June 12, 2024, 5:22pm

Clark County’s Ethics Review Commission is at long last making progress on complaints waiting for review. The commission tackled four of the pending complaints — two during a June 7 meeting and two more during a June 11 meeting. All four complaints were unanimously dismissed.

Two of the complaints were filed by political activist Rob Anderson. The first was filed in November 2023 and claimed county Auditor Greg Kimsey “misled the (Clark County) Council by stating that only two ballot errors were discovered during the recounts of 2022.” Anderson said Kimsey also withheld information.

The second complaint from Anderson, which was filed in February, claimed the county prosecuting attorney’s office violated county policy in processing Anderson’s Restore Election Confidence initiative.

“This one feels like a close call and took a lot of time to parse out the timelines and what exactly happened,” Commissioner Adam Murray said in the meeting.

However, Murray said it did not appear the prosecuting attorney’s office acted improperly.

Anderson said he was disappointed by the outcome, and the process for reviewing and investigating ethics complaints isn’t structured to benefit citizens but rather the county.

“Looks like it’s going to be business as usual here in Clark County,’” he said.

The ethics commission on Tuesday also dismissed a complaint filed against Kimsey by attorney Angus Lee in December 2023. Lee said Kimsey violated the county’s code of ethics and appearance of fairness doctrine while investigating and later ruling on a 2022 challenge to Camas resident John Ley’s voter registration in the 18th Legislative District, where Ley also filed as a candidate. A Superior Court judge later ruled Ley was ineligible for candidacy. Ley is now facing felony voter fraud charges.

“I believe the auditor was doing his job,” Commissioner Darcy Rourk said during the meeting.

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Lee was unhappy with the outcome.

“The ethics commission’s decision to dismiss the complaint against Auditor Greg Kimsey is unacceptable and reflects a failure to enforce standards of ethical conduct essential for public trust,” Lee said in an email Wednesday. “The commission’s inaction in the face of clear evidence of ethical violations demonstrates a concerning disregard for the principles of accountability and transparency.”

Kimsey said there was never any merit to the allegations made by Anderson or Lee.

“Mr. Anderson accused me of misleading the council by stating only two ballot errors were discovered during the recounts of 2022. That’s not what I told the council,” Kimsey said.

As for Lee’s complaint, Kimsey said the commission was exactly right and that he was doing his job.

“The information I provided to a citizen who contacted me about how a voter registration challenge is conducted is information I would provide to anyone,” Kimsey said.

Kimsey said he was very appreciative of the work the three commission members have put into the review process.

However, Lee said the commission’s process was inadequate.

“They wasted months on procedural deliberations unrelated to any individual ethics complaint and then ultimately made a decision on this complaint without any substantial examination of the facts, without putting Mr. Kimsey under oath and without soliciting any testimony or legal briefings. This lack of diligence in their investigation process shows a troubling commitment more to appearances than to rigorous ethical oversight,” he said.

The other complaint reviewed by the commission was filed by Maureen McKenna in June 2023. In her complaint, McKenna said Planning Commission Chairman Karl Johnson violated the county’s code of ethics when he chastised McKenna for calling into the meeting to comment, rather than attending in person. The commission said Johnson’s comments were inappropriate but didn’t meet the threshold for a violation.

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