Case #1122
Respondent name: Whatcom County Officials (Jack Louws, County Executive; Bill Elfo, County Sheriff; David McEachran, County Prosecutor)
Complainant name: Doug Starcher; Debra David; Richard Jehn; Marissa McGrath; Sara Holodnick; Marinel Kniseley; Tina McKim; Liisa Wale; League of Women Voters of Bellingham and Whatcom County; Rosalinda Guillen; Omar Jordan; Kimberly Harris; Maria Mora Millalpando; Neah Mon

Alleged use of Whatcom County facilities by Jack Louws, County Executive, and other County officials to promote Proposition 2015-1, a November 3, 2015 ballot measure concerning construction of a new jail facility, by sending a mailer that: (1) is not a fair and objective presentation of facts because it does not accurately present the costs and other anticipated impacts of the ballot measure and because some of the pictures are inflamatory; (2) included the pictures of two officials up for election; (3) was targeted to registered voters; (4) failed to disclose that passage would max out the county's ability to tax for public safety issues for 30 years; (5) coordinated the distribution of information about the ballot measure with campaign efforts; (6) referred to Proposition 1 rather than Proposition 2015-1, creating confusion about which measure concerned the jail issue; (7) distribution of the mailer was not a Normal and Regular activity for the county as contemplated under RCW 42.17A.555; and (8) that the mailer constituted an Electioneering Communication as defined in RCW 42.17A.005(19)(a).

Disposition: Violation Found by Commission (Resolved 12/21/2016)
Date opened: 10/26/2015
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A.555

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