A lawsuit accusing Washington State Potato Commission Executive Director Chris Voigt of ethics violations has been settled "to the satisfaction of Mr Didier," said the attorney for the 4th. District Congressional candidate.

A month ago, Didier filed a lawsuit against Voigt, accusing him of utilizing Potato Commission resources to campaign for challenger Dan Newhouse in Grant County and around the state.   The suit earlier dismissed Newhouse himself from the suit, but today word was released the suit has been dropped completely.

The settlement, according to Didier's attorney, Stephen Pidgeon, is confidential.   However,  according to the Washington State Executive Ethics Board,   there was reasonable evidence that Voigt DID use his position as Executive Director to campaign for Newhouse AND Senator Patty Murray.

According to a report from the Board dated September 12th of this year:

 "There is evidence that Mr. Voigt used state resources to assist in the campaigns of United States Senator Patty Murray and Dan Newhouse for Congress by sending and receiving emails  from the state email system and using a state vehicle to transport political campaign signs in support of Dan Newhouse to a Newhouse supporter in violation of RCW 42.52.160, WAC 292-110-010 and RCW 42.52.180."    (RCW is revised code of Washington state).

Voigt had argued his job allowed certain leeway with use of Potato Commission (state) resources.   Howver, Didier's suit had argued that by utilizing these resources,  the implication was given that the Potato Commission officially endorsed Newhouse.   That could have been a significant factor, as the Commission is the non-partisan group that helps oversee the growth and marketing of one of Washington state's biggest crops.

Voigt is the Chairman of the Grant County Newhouse for Congress group.

The Revised Code of Washington says no state official, elected or appointed, can utilize their position in support of any political or legislative candidate, regardless of office.   It's a conflict of interest.

Jim Keogh, campaign manager for Newhouse, called the lawsuit and attempt "to score cheap political points."


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