Ticket Number: 
40029
Complainant: 
Chester Dow
Respondent: 
James Erb
Created Date: 
August 28, 2018
Status of Investigations: 
Case Closed with Written Warning
Description: 

The complaint alleged that James Erb, a candidate for Whatcom County Prosecutor in 2018, may have violated RCW 42.17A.235 and RCW 42.17A.240 by failing to timely and accurately file Summary Full Reporting of Contribution and Expenditure Reports (C-4 report) disclosing expenditure activities, including in-kind contributions, debts or other obligations for mailed political advertising.

In his response, Mr. Erb stated that the late reporting was caused by a technical glitch in the third-party vendor software. This was the subject of PDC Case 38098 which was closed based on the fact that the 21-day pre-primary C-4 was made available to the public timely and electronically submitted as soon as the technical issue was resolved.

In response to the allegation regarding the omission of printing costs related to a direct mail piece distributed prior to the date of the primary election, Mr. Erb stated that the expense was inadvertently omitted because he failed to timely provide the invoice to his campaign treasurer for inclusion on the 21-day pre-primary C-4 report. Mr. Erb has since provided the invoice to his treasurer and an amended C-4 report has been submitted. Mr. Erb stated in his response that since receipt of this complaint, the Campaign has changed its workflow to ensure that the treasurer is copied on all invoices from vendors prospectively, so this will not happen again in the future.

Mr. Erb has no prior violations of PDC laws or rules, and his Campaign took quick corrective action to address the non-compliance. Pursuant to WAC 390-37-060(1)(b), James Erb will receive a formal written warning that will include staff’s expectation that the Erb Campaign file accurate and timely C-3 and C-4 reports for the duration of the 2018 election cycle. The Commission will consider the formal written warning in deciding on further Commission action if there are future violations of PDC laws or rules.