Listen to an audio podcast of this interview here:
Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna believes it’s important for the public to have access to information when it’s asked for.
McKenna, who stopped by COUV.COM on June 16, said that type of transparency is a key component of his campaign.
That was a welcome statement to David Madore and forensic accountant Tiffany Couch, who asked McKenna about the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail project* and what role the attorney general could play in making the project more transparent.
McKenna said the CRC is the type of project where transparency is important, but he said much of that responsibility falls to elected officials who are willing to ask the tough questions.
Although not an elected official, Couch said she has been asking questions but has found few answers. One of her key questions revolves around a CRC financial statement that so far does not exist, she said.
McKenna said it’s a logical inquiry that could possibly be addressed with the state auditor’s office.
As far as the AG’s involvement goes with CRC questions, McKenna said his office is happy to review and applicable laws, but added that those questions need to come from elected officials or state agencies.
McKenna said citizens should press their representatives to ask these questions and help make the project more transparent. He said it could be a situation that goes back to the legislature with a question of why the CRC is not required under the law to have certain financial documents or comply with an audit.
Aside from government transparency, McKenna said his campaign for governor will also focus on job creation and education reform.
* The well-documented cost to taxpayers, if the CRC stays on budget, is $10 billion. This was established by the Cortright Report (PDF) which used data from an independent review panel hired by the governors of Washington and Oregon. (View the panel’s final report.)
See our continuing coverage of the Columbia River Crossing Light Rail project.
Do you have information to share on the CRC? To respond anonymously call 260-816-1426. To allow your comments to be used on COUV.COM call 260-816-1429.