PDC News
June 26, 2014Volume 14 Issue No 5

Amit Ranade, Chair
Grant Degginger, Vice Chair
Kathy Turner, Member
Katrina Asay, Member

Commission Officers

The Public Disclosure Commission members elected Grant Degginger to chair the Commission, effective July 1.  Commissioner Degginger has been a member of the PDC since July 2012 and has been serving as vice-chair for the last year.  Commissioner Katrina Asay succeeds him as vice-chair.


Enforcement

PDC staff presented and the Commission accepted a stipulation of facts, violations and penalty, which resolved enforcement involving Yes on I-522 Committee.  The Yes on I-522 Committee admitted to receiving and failing to timely disclose multiple in-kind contributions from Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, and PCC Natural Markets.  The in-kind contributions totaling $117,708 were ultimately disclosed, but not until after the 2013 general election when I-522 was on the ballot.  Yes on I-522 Committee will pay a $4,000 penalty.

The Commission also accepted a stipulation entered into by Jennifer Walther and PDC staff.  Walther, an employee of Spokane School Dist. 81, was charged with using public facilities to support the campaign of a 2011 school director candidate.  Walther agreed to a $500 penalty ($300 suspended with terms).


Rule Making

Inflationary adjustments were made to lobbying expenditure thresholds by amending existing rules and adopting new WAC 390-20-150 (Changes in dollar amendments).  The inflationary adjustments will take effect December 1, 2014.

PDC Interpretations related to requests for reporting modifications pertaining to the personal financial affairs statement (F-1) were converted to rule through the amendment of WAC 390-28-100.  The amendment will take effect 31 days after filing with the Code Reviser.

The Commission also began the process of making inflationary adjustments to the dollar thresholds and code values used in the F-1. 


F-1 Review

A work session was held in connection with the Commission’s review of online access to F-1 reports and potential changes to the F-1 reporting requirements.  Representatives from the Washington State Patrol, Office of the Attorney General, and Enterprise Services’ Risk Management office shared their expertise on the respective topics of personal safety in the Internet age, identity theft, and network security.  Additional comments were offered by legislative professional staff and representatives from the District & Municipal Court Judges Association, Washington Association of Sewer & Water Districts, Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts, Washington Fire Commissioners Association, and Washington Association of County Officials.

The review is still underway and the discussion will continue at a future commission meeting.


Filer Requests

The Commission granted new Personal Financial Statement (F-1) reporting modifications that exempt:

·         Kaj Ahlburg, Candidate, Clallam County Charter Review Commissioner, Skamania County, from disclosing reportable business customers forFritz Denninger GmbH & Co.  Mr. Ahlburg is a 17.5% owner of this German limited liability company that owns real estate in Berlin, Germany.  Mr. Ahlburg’s request explained that the company does not do business in Clallam County and would not frustrate the purposes of the disclosure law.  Furthermore, he is a minority owner, has no management role, and does not have access to the company’s annual financial reports.

·         Wendy Davis, Candidate, Jefferson County Sheriff, from disclosing a residential address or other information that would identify the location of a residence that she owns.  Ms. Davis disclosed all other reportable information for the property, including creditor information, mortgage amount, and payment terms.  Her request explained that her spouse, from whom she is legally separated, resides at the residence.  He is currently a law enforcement officer and disclosure of the address would compromise his personal safety.

·          William Fleck, Candidate, Clallam County Charter Review Commissioner, from disclosing reportable business customers of Green Crow Corp. and Green Crow Timber.  Mr. Fleck is a member of the board of directors for both entities and has no ownership interest.  Mr. Fleck’s request explained that the entities are timber companies operating in a highly competitive industry and disclosure of business customers would create a competitive disadvantage for the companies.  Furthermore, he believes there may be confidentiality agreements that would bar disclosure of at least some of the companies’ business customers.

·         Jamie Pedersen, Senator, 43rd Legislative District, from disclosing reportable business and governmental customers, other than state agencies, of McKinstry Company, LLC, and McKinstry Essention, for whom he is Vice President and General Counsel.  Senator Pedersen’s request explained that the McKinstry Co. LLC operates in Washington and Oregon, specializing in commercial construction.  He has a 1% ownership interest.  Senator Pedersen has a 2% ownership interest in McKinstry Essention, LLC, an engingeering and consulting company operating in 17 states that specializes in energy saving and performance.  Senator Pedersen’s request asserted that both commercial construction and energy saving performance are highly competitive fields and disclosure of business and all government customers would create a competitive disadvantage for the companies.

·         Lora Petso, Commissioner, Olympiic View Water District 1, from disclosing her mortgage holder’s name and names of financial institutions where she and her spouse have accounts.  The modification was granted for the report covering calendar year 2013 and reports filed for calendar years 1997 to 2012.  Ms. Petso’s request explained that she has been the victim of identity fraud.  Furthermore, she believes that disclosure of this information would likely aid further fraud attempts, since has learned from a creditor monitoring service that there have been attempts to sell her email address and previous online account passwords.

·         Kevin Ranker, Senator, 40th Legislative District, from disclosing two reportable business customers for Coast Consulting.  Senator Ranker and his spouse own Coast Consulting, a communications and organizational strategy consultant.  Senator Ranker’s request explained that the company has entered into a non-disclosure agreement with the customers.  Furthermore, he believes disclosure may create a competitive disadvantage for the company.

The Commission granted renewals, with no change to Personal Financial Statement (F-1) reporting modifications to:

·         Laura Inveen, Judge, King County Superior Court and

·         Christine Schaller, Judge, Thurston County Superior Court.


Francois Forgette’s reporting modification, exempting him from disclosing reportable business customers of the law firm Rettig, Osborne, Forgette, LLP was also renewed.  The renewal does not include an exemption for Tridec because Mr. Forgette is no longer a board member for the entity.


The Commission meeting materials can be found at www.pdc.wa.gov under Commission Meetings. For additional information concerning these issues contact Lori Anderson, Communications & Training Officer, at (360) 664-2737, toll free 1-877-601-2828 or e-mail at landerson@pdc.wa.gov.


The next regular meeting of the Public Disclosure Commission is tentatively scheduled for July 24, 2014.