Two complaints were filed against Shelly Short, an incumbent State Senator in the 7th Legislative District and a candidate for election to that office in 2017, this case and PDC Case 27156. The complaints alleged that Shelly Short may have violated: (1) RCW 42.17A.235 and .240 by failing to timely and accurately file Monetary Contribution reports (C-3 reports) and Campaign Full Summary Contributions and Expenditures reports (C-4 reports) disclosing contribution and expenditure activities, including debts and obligations owed to The ROC Foundation, a political consulting firm owned by Mitch Short, Senator Short's spouse, providing detailed expenditure descriptions and the required sub-vendor breakdowns; and (2) RCW 42.17A.560 and WAC 390-17-400, by receiving contributions from the 7th Legislative District Republican Party during the 2017 Legislative session.
On June 25, 2018, Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) staff opened a formal investigation concerning the complaint filed against Senator Shelly Short for PDC Case 33367. On June 29, 2018, PDC staff conducted an initial hearing (case status review) for Senator Short in PDC Case 33367 in accordance with ESHB 2938.
Staff reviewed the Citizens Action Notice (CAN) that was filed against Senator Short that included similar allegations to the two complaints, the November 6, 2018 Stipulation and Order of Dismissal, and the June 15, 2018 Letter Ruling from Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy for Thurston County case No. 18-2-00456-34.
That case was stipulated by both parties as "dismissed with prejudice” without any penalties, costs or attorney's fees being paid by either party. The Letter Ruling in Thurston County case No. 18-2-00456-34 stated that Judge Murphy granted the Plaintiff’s motion concerning the late filed reports disclosing $20,000 in outstanding debts and obligations owed to the ROC Foundation for 2017 consulting services, that included $10,000 in “Primary Campaign Management Services”, and $10,000 in “General Campaign Management Services. The letter went on to state that the Plaintiff was entitled to judgement as a matter of law concerning the late debt reporting violations.
PDC staff reminded the Shelly Short Campaign concerning the importance of timely and accurately disclosing all contribution and expenditure activities, including orders-placed, debts and obligations, especially those involving debts and contingency winning bonuses to the candidate’s spouse entity The Roc Foundation, for all future campaigns.
Concerning the Legislative Session freeze allegation staff found that the expenditures made by the 7th Legislative District Republicans to purchase the signs from the Shelly Short Campaign were properly disclosed as Miscellaneous Receipts and were not contributions subject to the legislative session freeze.
Based on this information, the PDC has dismissed the two complaints in PDC Cases 27156 and 33367, in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).Disposition: Case Closed with Reminder (Resolved 10/08/2019)