Washington Lt. Gov. Brad Owen has agreed to a $15,000 ethics fine. The settlement announced Friday stemmed from the five-term Democrat’s use of state resources to operate a non-profit with his wife.
The ethics investigation concluded that Owen used his office and staff to help run Strategies for Youth, a non-profit that went around to schools performing concerts with an anti-bullying message.
On occasion, Owen’s staff helped schedule and set-up these concerts. Owen also hired one of the musicians as his administrative assistant. When Strategies for Youth dissolved in 2011, Owen’s wife Linda inherited the non-profit’s assets.
“There is certainly an aggravating factor present here which is that Lt. Governor Owen is an elected official,” said Chad Standifer, a lawyer with the Executive Ethics Board. “But there is also a mitigating factor present which is that the Lt. Governor Owen’s goal was a positive one, to educate kids through these programs.”
In a statement, Lt. Gov. Owen said he agreed to the settlement to “put an end to a frustrating process.” He vowed to “continue with vigor” his efforts on behalf of Washington children.
One-third of the fine will be suspended if Owen has no further ethics violations over the next two years.