On December 15, 2016, James Abernathy, Litigation Counsel, The Freedom Foundation (TFF), filed a Citizens Action Complaint against Service Employees International Union Healthcare 775NW (SEIU 775) pursuant to RCW 42.17A.765(4). He filed the complaint with the Washington State Attorney General and the Prosecuting Attorneys of Clark, Ferry, Lewis, Lincoln, King, and Thurston counties. Mr. Abernathy alleged that SEIU 775 may have violated provisions of RCW 42.17A by failing to register and report as a political committee for its combined support of candidates and ballot propositions in Washington State during calendar year 2016.
The Commission considered the results of staff’s investigative review at a special Commission meeting held on February 8, 2017, where PDC staff presented its findings which included a recommendation regarding the allegations listed in the Complaint. Based on the factors identified in staff’s investigative review of the allegations listed in the Complaint, staff determined that: (1) SEIU 775 did not appear to be a political committee with a requirement to register and report with the PDC; and (2) SEIU 775 did not violate RCW 42.17A.205, .235, and .240 because: (1) It is not a “receiver of contributions” in support of, or in opposition to candidates or ballot propositions; and (2) Supporting candidates or ballot propositions is not one of its primary purposes.
Staff noted that SEIU 775 has a political committee SEIU Healthcare 775NW Quality Care Committee, which has been registered and reporting with the PDC dating backto 2005. The Commission voted unanimously to accept staff’s recommendation, and to recommend that no further action be taken on the Citizen Action Complaint filed against Service Employees International Union Local 775.