Case #22311
Respondent name: Pierce County Republican Party
Complainant name: Walter Smith

The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has completed its review of the complaint filed on July 14, 2017, initially as a Citizens Action Notice filed under RCW 42.17A.765(4), and later converted to a PDC complaint following implementation of Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2938, which took effect June 7, 2018. The complaint alleged that the Pierce County Republican Party (Committee), a bona fide political party committee may have violated: (1) RCW 42.17A.235 and .240 by failing to timely and accurately file Summary Full Campaign Contribution and Expenditure reports (C-4 reports), disclosing activities undertaken by the Committee during calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017; and (2) RCW 42.17A.235 and .240 by failing to timely and accurately file C-4 reports disclosing debts and other obligations owed by the Committee during calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017.

PDC staff reviewed the allegations; the applicable statutes, rules, and reporting requirements; the response provided by the Respondent; the applicable PDC reports filed by the Respondent; and queried the Respondent’s data in the PDC contribution and expenditure database, to determine whether the record supports a finding of one or more violations.

It appears that the majority of the late reported activity, including debts or other obligations, undertaken by the Committee was for expenses connected to party building, a “get out the vote” effort and party fundraising activities. The Committee is staffed primarily by volunteers and the reporting deficiencies found do not appear intentional or otherwise meant to avoid disclosure.

Staff found that, although timely disclosed by the recipient, the C-4 report disclosing the $37,000 campaign contribution to the 2016 Friends of Steve O’Ban campaign should have been disclosed by October 18, 2016 on a C-4 covering September 1, 2016 to October 17, 2016 but was submitted 89 days late. In addition, a second C-4 covering October 18, 2016 to October 31, 2016 was due by November 1, 2016 and was submitted 75 days late.                                                                                                                                 

Based on our findings staff has determined that, in this instance, failure to timely file C-4 reports for calendar years 2015, 2016 and 2017, that disclosed activities not related to the primary or general elections and failure to timely disclose one campaign contribution using the reporting schedule described in RCW 42.17A.235, does not amount to a finding of a violation that warrants further investigation.

PDC staff reminded the Pierce County Republican Party about the importance of the timely disclosure of all expenditure activities, including debts or other obligations, and the requirement to submit C-4 reports prior to and after each primary or general election in which they participate, for all future PDC reports in accordance with the statutes and rules.

Based on this information, the PDC finds that no further action is warranted and has dismissed this matter in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).

Disposition: Case Closed with Reminder (Resolved 06/24/2020)
Date opened: 07/19/2017
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A.235, RCW 42.17A.240

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