Gov. Jay Inslee is raising money to explore presidential run

The Seattle Times

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is taking steps toward a presidential bid, forming a federal political-action committee and soliciting money he could use to travel to early 2020 primary and caucus states, The Seattle Times and the public radio Northwest News Network have learned.

The committee, Vision PAC, was quietly registered in early October by Inslee’s campaign treasurer, Philip Lloyd. Its first and only reported donation so far is $5,000 from Blaine Tamaki, a longtime Yakima attorney and major Inslee political contributor who was appointed by the governor to the University of Washington Board of Regents last year. Over the past year, Inslee has boosted his national profile and traveled the country as chair of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA), furthering speculation about his 2020 ambitions. His DGA term ends this week, cutting off that travel budget.

Federal law allows potential presidential hopefuls to “test the waters,” raising money to pay for expenses including travel and polling, without formally registering as a candidate, said Adav Noti, a former Federal Election Commission attorney and senior director of trial litigation at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit that advocates for enforcement of campaign-finance laws.

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