Previous posts on this topic:

S-R Reports on WSBA initial ruling on Swinton bar complaint

BREAKING – Bar Investigator finds “insufficient evidence” that S-R attorney violated state ethics rules

Attorney Duane Swinton of the law firm of Witherspoon & Kelley represents the Cowles Co and acts as counsel for the Spokesman-Review which it owns. Mr. Swinton in the past found himself representing competing interests of the Cowles Co that were at odds with each other. The Washington News Council in their review of the S-R’s coverage of RPS found that there was a probable conflict of interest with the S-R and Mr. Swinton because of his representation of other Cowles Co interests. The WNC recommended that the S-R sever it’s relationship with Mr. Swinton.

Refreshingly S-R Editor Steve Smith recently has retained outside counsel to handle a RPS related public document request from the City of Spokane regarding documents forwarded to Mayor Mary Verner from Attorney O. Yale Lewis. S-R Reporter Jonathan Brunt filed a public document request with the City for these documents as have I too. The release of these documents is potentially being blocked by the City Attorney’s Office.

Tim Connor an award winning investigative journalist of Camas Magazine filed a conflict of interest complaint with the Washington State Bar Association against Mr. Swinton. The WSBA’s initial finding was that there was, “insufficient evidence that attorney violated state ethics rules,” while there may have been a journalistic conflict (See previous reports). In it’s ruling the WSBA held there was no conflict since Mr. Swinton was only representing one client – the Cowles Co.

Tim Connor has now filed an appeal of this ruling with the WSBA. I sent this breaking message to the FOF Yahoogroups email group from Tim Connor:

For those of you who are interested, I’m attaching the appeal (pdf file) that will go out tomorrow to the Washington State Bar Association regarding my ethics complaint against Duane Swinton. My main beef, as you’ll see, is that Randy Bietel, the WSBA investigator, just simply ignored the facts I presented that conflicted with his conclusion.

This request to review and reverse his finding will go to a WSBA review committee for consideration.

warm regards, Tim Connor

As I mentioned I had difficulty in posting his PDF file. Tim has since sent me an updated version that includes a paragraph that was left out in the original:

WSBA Swinton appeal by Tim Connor

This is a great piece of work by Conner. I concur that the Cowles Co and Mr. Swinton can’t have it both ways. They can’t ride the fence. My opinion is that Stacey Cowles knew all along what was going on as well as did Mr. Swinton. They’ve just since been CYA’g in different venues. They can’t seem to keep their stories straight. This is typical of crooks when they are lying. Connors has nailed Stacey Cowels and Duane Swinton in their vacillating back and forth on the fence.

In my opinion from my reading of the Camas Magazine documents and reporting there is a clear pattern and practice in actions by the Cowles Co and their operatives. These incidents need to be viewed collectively as a whole and not as isolated incidents. A number of individuals have acted in concert in the furtherance of an ongoing criminal conspiracy (Operating Hypothesis):

I believe based on my training, education, and investigative experience there is an ongoing criminal conspiracy in Spokane where a group of individuals at different times have acted individually and or in concert to commit criminal acts with the knowledge and approval of this group headed by the Cowles Co. The Cowles Co, its surrogates, have systemically co-opted and or corrupted governmental officials both elected and appointed including the sitting US Attorney for the Eastern District of WA. The normal political and governmental controls have failed because of being so thoroughly co-opted and/or corrupted by this incestuous, insidious, and malignant ongoing criminal enterprise . . .

. . . [the] S-R is nothing more than an instrumentality of the Cowles Co’s ongoing criminal enterprise to cover it’s criminal activity. This is done by it’s active self-censorship of stories and censorship of comments in S-R blogs. This information is highly detrimental to the owners that would otherwise inform the public. The public once alerted, educated and informed would hold their elected/appointed officials accountable for their criminal acts who have been systemically co-opted/corrupted by this ongoing criminal conspiracy.

Ron the Cop