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Thurston County judge in acid attack testifies for disclosure exemption

by caprecord

Thurston County Judge Brett Buckley told lawmakers Thursday what can happen when the wrong person gets your home address.

In 2012, he was at home when someone knocked at the door and threw sulfuric acid in his face. The acid sent Buckley to Harborview Medical Center, injured his dogs, and ate through the concrete in front of his home

The man accused of attacking Buckley, Michael E. Martin, faces assault charges and awaits trial. Martin had previously come before Buckley in court.

To protect his family, Buckley decided to move from his home of 27 years, and no longer receives mail at his new home.

“I have taken every step I can take. I’ve had my children tell me that they no longer felt safe coming home,” Buckley told lawmakers on Thursday. “I do believe that my safety would be significantly degraded if I had to disclose my address.”

He testified before the Senate Government Operations and Security Committee in favor of House Bill 1397, which makes changes and updates to the public financial disclosure laws for elected and appointed officials.

Elected and appointed officials and their immediate families must disclose their financial affairs, including property and investments, annually to the Public Disclosure Commission, according to state law.

Updates include raising the dollar thresholds for reporting assets. The changes include allowing prosecuting attorneys, judges and sheriffs and their families to list their city and county instead of a home address.

Public Disclosure Commission executive director Andrea McNamara Doyle said that the most common request for exempting information is from prosecuting attorneys, judges and sheriffs and their families who want to shield their home addresses out of concern for safety. The PDC requested the bill.

Committee chair Sen. Pam Roach, R-Auburn, asked whether it was reasonable for elected officials to expect privacy.

“You can Google anybody’s name,” Roach said. “You can go to county property tax records and get names, and so forth. It’s almost a moot point here. You can find anybody anytime.”

However, she pointed out that law enforcement officials are not the only ones who face threats. Roach said someone issued a death threat to a lawmaker last week, and the Newhouse building, where Senators have offices, have been on lockdown several times this session.

“It happens to legislators, too,” she said.