Controversy with Yakima city council campaign after pamphlet distribution to voters


YAKIMA, Wash. -- With the primary election coming up and ballots due August 1, candidates have been more visible than ever reaching out to voters.

However, one man running for Yakima city council has come under fire for possibly having a hand in sending out a pamphlet critical of the candidates.

Keith Effler is among six people seeking the District 4 seat and some said he has broken the law in the process.

RELATED: Know Your Candidates: Yakima City Council, District 4 (part 1)

Registered voters in District 4 received a pamphlet - The Rain Shadow Report, which claimed to be a non-partisan look at candidates for the city council position.

But a closer look revealed ties to Effler, who told Action News that friends holding various positions put it together for distribution.

“My slogan is 'No one is above the law' and I believe that wholeheartedly,” said Effler. “And if I ever did something illegal I would expect to pay those consequences.”

Now, a conflict of interest potentially breaking the law. It’s a felony to use voter mailing lists for delivery and advertisement on behalf of a candidate or party.

Most candidates Action News spoke with declined to comment on the issues but one called it 'slanderous.'

Effler said it was an honest mistake and said he plans to give an official statement after speaking with his attorney.

Action News asked if he would drop out of the race, but he said it would be an insult to his supporters.

If Effler or his friends did in fact break the law a report could go to the state Attorney General. And voters could file a class-action lawsuit ordering payment of $5 to every household who received the pamphlet as a 'nuisance fee' of having to throw it away.

The other candidates Action News spoke with said what happened was inexcusable and damaging.

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