2001 Annual Report

Mission

The Public Disclosure Commission was created and empowered by an Initiative of the People to provide timely and meaningful public access to information about the financing of political campaigns, lobbyist expenditures, and the financial affairs of public officials and candidates, and to ensure compliance with contribution limits and other campaign finance restrictions.

Agency Goals and Objectives

  1. All filers will submit required reports in a complete, timely, and accurate fashion and otherwise be in compliance with the law (e.g. contribution limits and other restrictions).

    • Filers will be encouraged to file their reports electronically.
    • All requests for the PDC to conduct candidate and treasurer workshops will be accommodated.
    • Filers will have access to forms, manuals, and other instructional materials over the Internet. Requests for materials by those without access to the Internet will be processed on the same day as the request is received.
    • A member of the staff will always be available during business hours to respond to callers asking filing questions.
    • The Commission will promulgate, in accordance with Executive Order 97-02, any necessary rules, policies, and interpretations to provide guidance under the Law, and will provide timely responses to written requests for advice.
    • The Commission will perform a sufficient number of audits to provide a statistically valid finding regarding the degree of compliance with the law.
    • The Commission will hold enforcement hearings and, where appropriate, penalize filers who have not, after receiving reminder notices, filed the required reports.
    • The Commission will seek to recover through the judicial process the payment of penalties from those who fail to pay the assessments levied against them.

  2. The public will have timely and convenient access to filed reports and the ability to access data in ways that are most useful and best suit their individual needs.

    • Filed reports will be safely stored and efficiently organized.
    • Images or copies of filed reports, frequently requested material, and other items of interest will be available on the Internet, on computers in the PDC''s lobby, and by mail, fax and email.
    • The time between receipt of a filing and scanning of the report into the imaging system will be in accordance with the access goals established by RCW 42.17.461.
    • The time between physical receipt of a filing and its availability on the Internet will be in accordance with the access goals established in RCW 42.17.461.
    • The time between receipt of a filing and entry of selected information into the database will be reduced.
    • The amount of information entered into the database from filed reports will increase.
    • The number of reports from which data is entered into the database will increase.
    • The web site query system will be continually modified to satisfy user needs.
    • PDC staff will continually conduct quality assurance checks to verify the accuracy of data entered into the database.
    • Filers will be encouraged to file their reports electronically.

  3. The Public Disclosure Commission will provide technological improvements to filers to facilitate record keeping and reporting and, ultimately, to promote compliance with the law.

    • The Commission will develop user-friendly, platform independent Internet-based electronic filing programs for lobbyists, lobbyist employers, campaign filers and persons required to file personal financial affairs reports.
    • PDC will recruit and consult with filer focus groups during the development of the various filer reporting programs in order to address the specific needs of users.
    • PDC will publish detailed written instructions on how to use the electronic filing program.
    • t least one PDC information technology specialist experienced in the operation of the reporting programs will always be available during business hours to assist electronic filers.
    • PDC will conduct electronic filing training sessions upon request and will also schedule frequent training sessions that correspond with: the start of legislative sessions, the February deadline for lobbying employer reports, the time frame for filing declarations of candidacy, the April 15 due date for the annual personal financial affairs statement, and other times that meet the needs of filers.

General Information


  • Statutory Reference Code
    Revised Code of Washington 42.17
    established 1973

  • Organization
    The five Commissioners are appointed for five-year terms by the Governor with Senate consent. The Commission hires the executive director, sets agency policy and adjudicates enforcement matters.
The Commissioners who served during FY 2001 were:

    Ronda Cahill (March 1997-December 2001)
    Susan Brady (May 1997-December 2003)
    Christine Yorozu (August 1999-December 2002)
    Gerald Marsh (January 2000-December 2004)
    Richard Locke (July 2000-December 2000)
    Lois Clement (February 2001-December 2005)

  • Executive Director: Vicki L. Rippie (effective May 15, 2000)

  • Employees/Full Time Equivalents (FTEs)
    One FTE=2,088 paid hours of work per year by one or more individuals. 18 Classified
    4 Washington Management Service
    3.5 Exempt

  • Operating Budget FY 2001
    General Fund State $2,388,318
Item   Allotment   Expenditures   Disclosure   %   Enforcement   %   Administration   %
Salaries and Benefits* $1,321,496 $1,195,848 $813,177 68% $203,294 17% $167,419 14%
Personal Services Contracts $125,000 $62,300 $62,300 100%
Travel $13,819 $16,148 $6,459 40% $8,074 50% $1,615 10%
Equipment (over $5,000) $100,000 $168,906 $168,906 100%
Goods & Services Total $828,003 $944,638 $377,855 40% $387,302 41% $179,481 19%
 
TOTAL $2,388,318 $2,387,840 $1,428,697 60% $598,670 25% $348,515 15%

  • Office Address
    711 Capitol Way, Room 206
    PO Box 40908
    Olympia WA 98504-0908

    Contact Numbers: (877) 601-2828 (Toll free)
    (360) 753-1111
    (360) 753-1112
    Web site:
    Email:
      www.pdc.wa.gov

Major Accomplishments

Agency Request Legislation. In the 2000 general election, over $1 million was spent on independent expenditures. Over 73% of that money was not reported to PDC until very late in the campaign, either one week before the election or later. Information was not available to the public until a few days before the polls opened. Absentee voters had even less of an opportunity to learn who was spending significant money to influence key legislative races.

The PDC was successful in getting legislation passed that requires more frequent reporting of independent expenditures, and increases the threshold for the special reporting of last minute contributions from $500 to $1,000. (SB 6109) Those entities sponsoring independent expenditures of $1,000 or more within 21 days of an election are now required to file a special report within 24 hours of making that expenditure. The passage of this bill allows the public to be better informed when they cast their votes.

The agency requested additional legislation that did not pass. The first bill related to penalties for violating the disclosure law. It called for:
  • Increasing the maximum fine that courts could impose from $10,000 to $40,000;
  • Increasing the maximum fine that the Commission could impose from $1,000 for a single violation or $2,500 for multiple violations to $5,000 per violation with no upper limit;
  • Allowing the Commission to require local officials and employees who misuse public resources in campaigns to pay restitution and penalties with non-public funds;
  • Allowing the Commission to order that contributions exceeding limits be returned to contributors; and
  • Authorizing the Courts to enjoin persons who have not paid their PDC penalties from raising or spending funds to promote their campaign or political agenda.
Another bill, a house keeping measure, would have:
  • Amended the definitions of general election and primary election;
  • Repealed RCW 42.17.090(1)(g), requiring reporting of identities of petition signature gatherers, to be consistent with the recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in WIN v. Rippie that declared the requirement to be unconstitutional;
  • Repealed designating the Secretary of State''s Office as a place to file PDC forms;
  • Repealed I-134 transition language in RCW 42.17.700.
Information Technology. Some of the primary IT achievements include:

  • Hired an agency Webmaster to maintain agency Internet site;
  • Developed a query system for the campaign database;
  • Developed a new upload utility for electronic filers;
  • Provided one-on-one assistance to electronic filers;
  • Installed a new imaging system;
  • Migrated to a more robust database;
  • Redesigned internal applications;
  • Developed and implemented an on-line application where jurisdictions can report over the Internet who is holding office in their jurisdiction.
Policy Making Activity. During the past fiscal year, the Public Disclosure Commission formally amended fourteen disclosure rules, repealed two rules and adopted three emergency rules. The rules are identified below:
  • WAC 390-13-010 Optional Format for Requests for Lists of Individuals
  • WAC 390-14-026 Access Goals to Campaign and Lobbying Reports
  • WAC 390-16-011 Forms Registration Statement for Political Committees
  • WAC 390-16-012 Forms Registration Statement for Candidates
  • WAC 390-16-044 Statewide ballot issue signature gathering expenses (Repeal)
  • WAC 390-16-105 Abbreviated campaign reporting Eligibility
  • WAC 390-16-111 Abbreviated Campaign reporting Special fund raising events
  • WAC 390-16-115 Mini Campaign Reporting Conditions for granting use (Emergency)
  • WAC 390-16-125 Abbreviated Campaign Reporting Exceeding Limits (Emergency)
  • WAC 390-16-150 Mini campaign reporting (Repeal)
  • WAC 390-20-146 Reporting of Field Trips and Other Excursions
  • WAC 390-16-155 Mini Campaign Reporting Exceeding Limits (Emergency repeal)
  • WAC 390-16-226 Loans
  • WAC 390-18-010 Political Advertising. Identification of Sponsor
  • WAC 390-20-0101 Forms for Lobbyist Registration
  • WAC 390-24-010 Forms for Statement of Financial Affairs
  • WAC 390-24-020 Forms for Amending Statement of Financial Affairs
  • WAC 390-24-200 Descriptions of Real Property
  • WAC 390-24-203 Reporting of Field Trips and Other Excursions
During 2001, the PDC issued three advisory letters and adopted four formal interpretations of chapter 42.17 RCW.

The advisory letters related to:
  • The effect of RCW 42.17.710 on the fund raising activities (during the session freeze period) of a Bona Fide Political Party whose chairman is a sitting legislator;
  • The effect of RCW 42.17.710 on a political committee that intended to encourage a sitting legislator to run for local office;
  • The application of RCW 42.17.640, subsequent to the Supreme Court decision in Washington State Republican Party v. Washington State Public Disclosure Commission et al., to a Bona Fide Political Party requesting permission to transfer funds from its exempt account to its non-exempt account.
The interpretations related to:
  • Use of Robes and Court Rooms in Campaign Literature by District and Municipal Court Judges;
  • Use of Soft Moneyfor Issue Advocacy;
  • Guidelines for Local Government Agencies, Including School Districts, in Election Campaigns;
  • Participation in Fund Raising Events by State Officials During Legislative Freeze Period.
The Commission withdrew two Interpretations because they were obsolete:
  • Slate Cards and Other Candidate Listings (98-01);
  • The Eight-Day Period for Inspection of Campaign Books (99-01).
Filer Assistance and Training. The Commission provides instructional manuals, brochures and notices to candidates and political committees to help them comply with the law. This material is also available on the PDC website 24 hours seven days a week. In addition, staff provides individual one-on-one advice and compliance help to filers who call the office. During July through October, 2000, compliance staff spent approximately 60% of their time assisting customers by answering electronic mail and telephone inquiries. The installation of a toll free telephone number now offers a cost-free option to consumers.

Training and education will continue to be a critical part of the agency''s effort to promote timely and accurate disclosure. During FY 2001, Commission staff conducted 60 training workshops across the state, including 17 candidate and political committee workshops and 20 software training sessions.

Disclosure. Providing timely and convenient access to filed reports and the ability to access data in ways that are most useful is a key agency goal. During FY 2001, the PDC received 70,536 reports from candidates, elected and appointed officials, lobbyists, lobbyist employers and political committees. These filings translated into 140,509 pages that were processed and scanned into the document imaging system. Once scanned into the system, reports are available both on the Commission''s intranet and its web site. Reports filed electronically are immediately available on the Internet. The chart below demonstrates that images of reports were readily available for public scrutiny.

Average Number of Days from Receipt to Posting on Web Site

Reports filed
on paper
Reports filed
electronically
Campaign reports (July-December 2000)
State Executive 2.0 1.8
State Legislative 2.8 2.2
Local/Judicial 4.0 1.6
Political Committees 4.3 2.1
 
Lobbyist/Employer Reports (January-June 2001) 0.9 N/A*
 

*Electronic filing software is not yet available for lobbyists and lobbyist employers.

The Commission''s primary aim since its inception is the prompt response to requests for information from the agency''s many clients. During FY 2001, the agency replied to 2,366 requests for copies of reports or other documents.

Compliance. Staff spent 799 hours reviewing filings and conducting desk and field audits. The result of this activity showed that most filers were in substantial compliance with the disclosure laws.

Enforcement. The Commission has the authority to conduct investigations of complaints filed against elected officials, candidates for public office, political party organizations, political committees, lobbyists, and other filers. A report of investigation is prepared by Compliance/Enforcement staff for the majority of complaints filed with the PDC. Based on the evidence, the case is either scheduled for enforcement or a dismissal letter is sent to the complainant. The Commission holds two types of enforcement hearings, a brief or adjudicative enforcement hearing or full Commission enforcement hearing.

The brief or adjudicative enforcement hearing is scheduled for less serious matters with only one commissioner serving as the hearing officer. If a brief enforcement hearing results in the finding of a violation, a civil penalty up to $500 may be assessed for the violation(s). A full Commission enforcement hearing is held for filers who appear to be substantially out of compliance with the disclosure law. This is a formal public hearing where evidence may be presented and testimony taken. If a violation is found, the Commission may impose a civil penalty up to $1,000 for a single violation or $2,500 for multiple violations or the Commission may find an apparent violation(s) and refer the matter to the Office of the Attorney General.

In addition to investigations, the Commission has the authority to conduct audits of reports filed by elected officials, candidates for public office, political party organizations, political committees, lobbyists, and other filers. Audits may be conducted randomly, for cause depending on the circumstances, or as part of an investigation.

Below is a table indicating the number and types of complaints filed:

Complaints/Enforcement Hearings/Investigations

FY 2001
 
Complaints Filed by Public 69
PDC Generated Complaints* 620
Total Complaints 689
 
Complaints Filed Against Candidates 57
Complaints Filed by Public against Candidates 29
Complaints With Minor or No Action 47
 
*PDC generated primarily non-filing of annual Personal Financial Affairs Statement (F1/F1A);
Candidate Registration Statement (C1) or F1/F1A; or lobbyist employer reports (L-3).
Enforcement hearings held 116 (1)
Investigations opened 689
Investigations closed (including enforcement hearings) 336
 
(1) An additional 29 reviews of brief enforcement hearing results and reconsiderations of final
orders were heard and acted on by the full Commission.

Below is a summary of the enforcement hearings held during FY 2001.

July-December 2000 Enforcement Actions

Ohlsen & Lineberry & Ridgeway--Case #00-866: A complaint was filed alleging that a firefighter from Tumwater (Ohlsen) and a policeman (Lineberry) used public facilities to oppose Initiative 695 when they participated in political advertising to oppose the initiative, while in uniform, and with public equipment. Christine Ohlsen was found to have violated RCW 42.17.130. It was found that Ohlsen requested and received the permission of the Chief of the Tumwater Fire Department (Ridgeway) to use her coat and helmet in connection with filming a campaign advertisement opposing Initiative 695. No evidence was found that Ohlsen knowingly violated RCW 42.17.130. No penalty was assessed against Ohlsen. Ridgeway was found to have violated RCW 42.17.130. Ridgeway was assessed a civil penalty of $1,250. $1,000 was suspended based on the following conditions: (1) Ridgeway will comply with all requirements of chapter 42.17 RCW for a period of two calendar years; (2) the City of Tumwater will provide training to City management personnel regarding the provisions of RCW 42.17.130 within 90 days; (3) Commission staff will either approve the training agenda or participate in the training; and (4) Ridgeway will pay the non-suspended portion of the penalty with non-public funds within 60 days. No charges were brought against Greg Lineberry

Everett School District--Case #00-874: A complaint was filed against the Everett School District alleging that school district personnel failed to maintain for public inspection documents and books of account concerning payroll deductions. The complaint alleged that the District had failed to maintain a copy of each employee''s request, the amounts and dates funds were actually withheld, and the amounts and dates funds were transferred to a political committee. The Commission accepted a Stipulation of Facts agreed to by the Everett School District and PDC Enforcement Staff. The Commission found the Everett School District in violation of RCW 42.17.640(4) for failing to maintain open for public inspection employeespayroll deduction authorization forms for contributions to a political committee and assessed a civil penalty of $1,000 with $500 suspended on the condition the District provides immediate access to records of employeespayroll deduction authorization forms for contributions to political committees, and the respondent commits no further violations of RCW 42.17.

Kent School District--Case #00-877: A complaint was filed against the Kent School District alleging that school district personnel failed to maintain for public inspection documents and books of account concerning payroll deductions. The complaint alleged that the District had failed to maintain a copy of each employee''s request, the amounts and dates funds were actually withheld, and the amounts and dates funds were transferred to a political committee. The Commission accepted a Stipulation of Facts agreed to by the Kent School District and PDC Enforcement Staff. The Commission found no evidence of a violation and dismissed the charges against the Kent School District.

Castle Rock School District--Case #00-879: A complaint was filed against the Castle Rock School District alleging that school district officials failed to maintain for public inspection documents and books of account concerning payroll deductions. The complaint alleged that the District had failed to maintain a copy of each employee''s request, the amounts and dates funds were actually withheld, and the amounts and dates funds were transferred to a political committee. The Commission accepted a Stipulation of Facts and Violations agreed to by the Castle Rock School District and PDC Enforcement Staff. The Commission found the Castle Rock School District in violation of RCW 42.17.680(3) for failing to obtain written authorization prior to withholding a portion of employeeswages for contributions to a political committee and RCW 42.17.680(4) for failing to maintain open for public inspection employees payroll deduction authorization forms for contributions to a political committee. The Commission assessed a civil penalty of $2,500 with $1,500 suspended on the condition the District provides immediate accessto records of employeespayroll deduction authorization forms for contributions to political committees, and the respondent commits no further violations of RCW 42.17.

Citizens for Brian Derdowski and Brian Derdowski--Case #00-261: A complaint was filed against Brian Derdowski and Citizens for Brian Derdowski alleging violations of RCW 42.17.080 and RCW 42.17.090 for failing to have the required books and records available for inspection during the eight days prior to the 1999 general election. The complaint alleged that the financial records supplied were deficient in content, and that some of his contribution and expenditure reports were not timely filed. It was further alleged that Brian Derdowski failed to file a Statement of Financial Affairs in 1999. The Commission accepted a proposed Stipulation of Facts and Violations and accepted the proposed total amount of penalty, but amended the terms of penalty payment. The changes were accepted by the Respondents. The Commission ordered that the Respondents violated RCW 42.17.080 and RCW 42.17.090. The Commission assessed a total civil penalty against both Respondents of $3,000 with $500 suspended on the condition the Respondents commit no further violations of RCW 42.17 during the next four years from the date of the Commission''s order. The Commission set a payment plan with final payment of the penalty due on or before September 15, 2001.

Friends of Deborah Senn Case #00-888: A complaint was filed by the Executive Director of the Public Disclosure Commission alleging that Friends of Deborah Senn used contributions received for her Insurance Commissioner campaign to assist her campaign for U.S. Senate in violation of RCW 42.17.125 and 42.17.790. The Commission accepted a proposed Stipulation of Facts, Violation and Penalty. The Commission ordered that the Respondent committed a single violation of RCW 42.17.790 and that the remaining charges against the Respondent are dismissed. The Commission assessed a total civil penalty of $10,000 against the Respondent.

Cooney, Sadie Charlene--Case #99-053: A complaint was received alleging that Sadie Charlene Cooney had used the public facilities of the of the Spokane County Assessor''s office for campaign activities. The complainant alleged that Ms. Cooney directed employees to work on political campaigns using public resources, created a hostile work environment, and discriminated against employees in violation of RCW 42.17.680. The Commission accepted a Stipulation of Facts and Violations and found actual violations of RCW 42.17.130 and 42.17.750. The parties agreed that the facts and violations stipulated to are evidence of agreed-to actual violations of RCW 42.17.130 and RCW 42.17.750, and that those stipulated matters are also appropriate for referral to the Attorney General''s Office.

Washington Education Association Case #01-002: A complaint was filed alleging that the Washington Education Association (WEA) and Washington School Districts violated RCW 42.17.680 and 42.17.760 by withholding dues and fees from employeeswages that are used by the WEA and the National Education Association (NEA) for contributions to political campaigns. The complaint also alleged that the WEA violated RCW 42.17.760 by using agency shop fees for political contributions and expenditures without the affirmative authorization of non-members. The complaint was filed with the Attorney General''s Office and all County Prosecuting Attorneys requesting that an action be commenced in the courts to address the apparent violations of RCW 42.17. The complaint said that if an action was not commenced in court the complainant would seek appropriate legal and equitable relief pursuant to RCW 42.17. RCW 42.17.400(4) provides a 45-day time period before a complainant may take steps to initiate a citizen''s action in superior court. The Commission accepted a Stipulation of Facts, Violations and Recommendations, found that the Respondent committed an apparent violation of RCW 42.17.760, stipulated to as actual violations, and referred the matter to the Attorney General''s Office. The court found that WEA intentionally violated the law and imposed a $400,000 fine.

Vancouver School District--Case #00-878: A complaint was filed against the Vancouver School District alleging that school district personnel failed to maintain for public inspection documents and books of account concerning payroll deductions. The complaint alleged that the District had failed to maintain a copy of each employee''s request, the amounts and dates funds were actually withheld, and the amounts and dates funds were transferred to a political committee. The Commission found the Vancouver School District to be in violation of RCW 42.17.680(4) and assessed a civil penalty of $1,000 with $500 suspended on the condition the Respondent commits no further violations of chapter 42.17.680.

January-June 2001 Enforcement Actions

Kitsap County Republican Party Case #00-887: A complaint alleged that Kitsap County Republican Party failed to properly report its contributions and expenditures in violation of RCW 42.17.080 and .090. The Commission accepted a Stipulation of Facts, Violations and Penalty between PDC staff and the Respondent stating that the Respondent committed multiple violations of RCW 42.17.060, 42.17.065, 42.17.080, and 42.17.090. The Commission assessed a civil penalty of $2,500 with $1,500 suspended on the condition the Respondent commit no further violations of RCW 42.17 for a period of four years from the date of the order.

Concerned Citizens for Better Government (CCBG) and Joseph Coomer, Treasurer, CCBG--Case #00-241: A complaint was filed against Concerned Citizens for Better Government (CCBG) and Joseph Coomer, Treasurer, CCBG, alleging that CCBG had violation RCW 42.17.080 and 42.17.090 by distributing political advertising without properly reporting or filing the required campaign disclosure reports as required for a political committee opposing a ballot proposition. The Commission found that the Respondent committed multiple apparent violations and referred the matter to the Attorney General''s Office.

Issaquah School District (Janet Barry, Superintendent)--Case #99-075: A complaint was filed against officials of the Issaquah School District for allegedly violating RCW 42.17.130 by using, or authorizing the use of public facilities to support the District''s construction bond ballot proposition which was on the ballot April 27, 1999. The complaint alleged that school district officials promoted the ballot proposition by producing information opposing multi-trackingand that school district officials did not make a balanced and objective presentation of the facts with regard to multi-tracking, thus promoting the ballot measure. The parties stipulated that the Amended Notice of Administrative Charges issued on April 17, 2001 contained accurate statements of fact. The parties further stipulated that based upon the facts contained within the Amended Notice of Administrative Charges, the Commission would likely find multiple violations of RCW 42.17.130. The parties jointly recommended a proposed penalty of $3,500. The Commission accepted the Stipulated Facts, Violations and Penalty and ordered that the Respondent had committed multiple violations of RCW 42.17.130. The Commission assessed a total civil penalty of $3,500. The Commission suspended $1,000 of the penalty based on the condition that the Respondent commit no further violations of RCW 42.17 for four years from the date the order is entered..

King County, King County Department of Transportation, King County Transit and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 (ATU Local 587)Case #01-203: A complaint was filed against King County, King County Department of Transportation, King County Transit, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587, alleging they had violated RCW 42.17.680 by withholding a special assessment from the paychecks of King County employees to fight Initiative 745 without first obtaining the required written authorizations. The Commission accepted the partiesStipulation of Facts. The Commission found apparent multiple violations by the King County entities of RCW 42.17, in particular RCW 42.17.680 as implemented by WAC 390-17-100, but that the maximum penalty that can be assessed by the Commission is inadequate in light of the allegations and the stipulated evidence presented to the Commission at the hearing. Therefore, the Commission referred the case to the Attorney General''s Office. The Commission also found that Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 did not violate RCW 42.17.680 as alleged because the union is not the employer in this case and is not responsible for the disbursement of funds in payment of wages or salaries to King County workers.

Mukilteo School District--Case#00-884: A complaint was filed against officials of the Mukilteo School District alleging violations of RCW 42.17.130 for using or authorizing the use of public facilities to support the bond and levy election scheduled for May 16, 2000. It was alleged that officials of the District published a Mid-Year Report, a letter from the President of the School Board, and other informational material that promoted passage of the May 16, 2000 bond and levy. The Commission accepted a Stipulation of Facts, Violations and Penalty. The Respondent was found to have committed multiple violations of RCW 42.17.130 by using or authorizing the use of the facilities of the Mukilteo School District to support passage of the District''s March 14, 2000 and May 16, 2000 bond and levy ballot propositions. In accepting the Stipulation of Facts, Violations and Penalty, the Commission assessed a civil penalty of $7,000 with $2,000 suspended on the condition the Respondent commits no further violations of RCW 42.17 for a period of four years and pays the remaining penalty with non-public funds.

King and Pierce County Officials Case #00-873: A complaint was filed alleging that officials of King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties improperly used public facilities to indirectly lobby the Legislature by sending out a flyer inviting people to Olympia to lobby for money for transit service lost by the passage of Initiative 695. The Commission accepted a Stipulation of Facts, Violation and Penalty and ordered that King County and King County Department of Transportation committed a single violation of RCW 42.17.190 by using King County resources to produce and mail 20,337 flyers promoting a public rally to support transportation funding by the Legislature and Governor. In accepting the Stipulation of Facts, Violations and Penalty, the Commission assessed a total civil penalty of $1,000 against the Respondent.

Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation Case #00-875 & #00-876: Two complaints were filed alleging that officials of the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation used public facilities to indirectly lobby the Legislature regarding an effort to pursue legislation to create a Local Parks Authority (LPA). The parties stipulated that the Statement of Facts dated June 28, 2001, contained accurate statements of fact. The parties further stipulated that based upon the stipulated facts, the Commission would likely find multiple violations of RCW 42.17.190. The parties jointly recommended a proposed total penalty of $7,500, plus $2,500, representing approximately half of the administrative expense of the Staff investigation in this matter not including legal expenses. In addition, the parties agreed that $2,500 of the penalty is suspended for four years. The Commission accepted the Stipulation of Facts, Violations and Penalty and ordered that the Respondent committed multiple violations of RCW 42.17.190. In accepting the Stipulation of Facts, Violations and Penalty, the Commission assessed a total civil penalty of $7,500 against the Respondent with $2,500 suspended, plus $2,500, representing approximately half of the administrative expense of the Staff investigation of this matter not including legal expenses.

Litigation

The following is a summary of major litigation occurring in FY 2001 in which the Public Disclosure Commission was a party. It does not include the 27 superior court cases pursued to collect unpaid penalties imposed by PDC.

STATE COURT

Washington State Republican Party v. Washington State Public Disclosure Commission et al., 141 Wn.2d 245, 4 P.3d 808 (2000) (July 27, 2000). This was a case involving the PDC enforcement of "soft" campaign contributions in the 1996 elections and alleged violations of RCW 42.17.640 in two gubernatorial television advertisements. In subsections (6) and (14), the statute provided only certain categories of permissible uses of such funds. The State Supreme Court ruled that RCW 42.17.640''s restrictions on permissible uses in subsections (6) and (14) are unconstitutional as they were applied to "issue advocacy." The court found that "express advocacy" for or against a candidate can be regulated by the state by a statute such as RCW 42.17.640, but "issue advocacy" that educates voters about issues and candidates'' positions cannot be similarly regulated. In other words, exempt funds or "soft money" can be used (contributed and spent), without limit, for issue advocacy, despite the language in RCW 42.17.640 (6) and (14).

Evergreen Freedom Foundation v. Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. (Court of Appeals No. 25574-0-II) (October 16, 2000). This case involved a petition for declaratory judgment, seeking to invalidate PDC regulation WAC 390-17-100 and the PDC''s guidelines for enforcement of RCW 42.17.680. The statute permits employee payroll deduction contributions to political committees or for use as political contributions, only upon the written request of the employee to the employer. After the PDC successfully defended its rule in the trial court, EFF appealed, but then withdrew its appeal and the court dismissed the case with prejudice following the State Supreme Court decision in another case filed by EFF. That other case, where the PDC was not a party, was State ex rel. Evergreen Freedom Foundation v. Washington Education Association, 140 Wn.2d 615, 999 P.2d 602 (2000). In EFF v. WEA, the court upheld the same PDC regulation as a proper interpretation of the statute.

Michael Harbour v. Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (two cases filed by Mr. Harbour, Thurston County Superior Court Nos. 99-2-02197-2; 99-2-02198-1); State of Washington ex rel. Washington State Public Disclosure Commission v. Harbour et al., (case filed by the state, Thurston County Superior Court No.00-2-00890-0) (Consent Decree dated May 12, 2000). A local transit manager, Michael Harbour, sued the PDC in two actions in the Thurston County Superior Court. He sought to have the court order the PDC to "reverse" its referral of a pending PDC charge against him and the transit authority to the Attorney General''s Office. The PDC found an apparent violation of the state statutes prohibiting the use of public funds to support or defeat ballot initiatives, and by referring the case to the AG''s Office, greater penalties could be sought. The AG''s Office then filed suit on behalf of the state. The allegations were resolved by a consent decree and penalty of $60,000 was assessed, with $45,000 waived upon compliance with other conditions in the consent decree. The actions that had been filed by Harbour was dismissed upon agreement of the parties.

Collection of Unpaid Penalties. (Pending). On average, the PDC has approximately 20 active cases in the superior courts in any given month, seeking collection of unpaid penalties assessed by the PDC against candidates or lobbyists. These penalties are imposed through an administrative process, and if not paid, the PDC files suit in the superior court, seeking a judgment, collection and its costs associated with collection.

State ex rel. Public Disclosure Commission v. Sadie Charlene Cooney. (Spokane Superior Court No. 01-2-00392-0) (Pending). Lawsuit against Spokane County Assessor for alleged violations of RCW 42.17.130 (prohibition on use of public facilities for ballot propositions or candidates) and RCW 42.17.680(2) (prohibition on retaliation for failing to support a campaign). Referred to Attorney General''s Office and action was filed in superior court in January 2001. A trial date is set for March 2002. (Another lawsuit against Ms. Cooney is pending in federal court; the PDC is not a party to that action. That matter is Lynda Rouse et al. v. Sadie C. Cooney, U.S. District Court No. 2:00cs00240).

State ex rel. Public Disclosure Commission v. Washington Education Association (Thurston County Superior Court No. 00-2-01837-9) (Pending). Lawsuit against an education employees union for alleged violations of RCW 42.17.760 (misuse of agency fee payer funds for political purposes) for past 5 years. The lawsuit was filed October 2000, the trial was held in May 2001. The trial court ruled via letter opinion in July 2001 that the WEA committed multiple, intentional violations of the statute; penalty of $400,000 was imposed, plus costs and fees and directive for parties to develop plan on injunctive relief. An order following trial has yet to be entered; the WEA has stated publicly that it intends to appeal once the order is entered. (Several teachers have filed a separate action against the WEA in Thurston County, Gary Davenport et al. v. Washington Education Association, No. 01-00519-4; that case is also pending and the PDC is not a party).

Other Litigation

State ex rel. Public Disclosure Commission v. Washington Education Association. (Court of Appeals No. 25272-4-II) (Pending; PDC is not a party to the appeal but has been granted amicus status). Among other claims, this case involves the issue of whether the Washington Education Association is a "political committee" under chapter 42.17 RCW and whether the definition is constitutional. The state did not proceed with filing charges on this issue, so the citizen''s action, through the Evergreen Freedom Foundation, proceeded with this and other claims. The WEA argued it was not a political committee. The court did not reach the constitutional issue, but the WEA otherwise prevailed in the trial court. (The PDC intervened in the trial court on one procedural issue, but otherwise was not a party to this litigation). The case is now pending in the State Court of Appeals.

Demos v. Lehman et al. (U.S. District Court No. C99-0354WD) (Dismissed October 2000). This was a pro se inmate civil rights challenge to conditions of confinement in state prison. He claimed various state officials, including the former PDC executive director, failed to address his complaints about his constitutional right to wear his pants down around his ankles. The court dismissed the action and the inmate''s appeal was never perfected.