Case #40151
Respondent name: Jon Cooke
Complainant name: William Biery

The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has completed its review of the complaint filed by William Biery on August 20, 2018, against the Jefferson County Republican Party, a bona fide county political party organization registered with the PDC as a political committee.  The complaint alleged that the Jefferson County Republican Party (JCRP) may have violated RCW 42.17A.555 by receiving a donated auction item of several tours of the Jefferson County Clock Tower, a public building, from Jon Cooke, a Jefferson County employee with custodial keys to the Clock Tower.  

For your information the JCRP can not violate RCW 42.17A.555, only an elected official, an individual employed by a public agency, or an individual acting in his/her official capacity representing a public agency can violate RCW 42.17A.555.  Based on that fact, the PDC has dismissed this matter against JCRP in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).  

PDC staff reviewed the allegations listed in the complaint, the statutes, rules and PDC Interpretation #04-02 Guidelines for Local Public Agencies in Election Campaigns, the Monetary Contributions report (C-3 report) filed by JCRP, and the response from Mr. Cooke.  

Mr. Cooke, as a Jefferson County employee facilitated the Clock Tower tours and then donated the tour as an auction item to the JCRP.  Since the tours involve a public building, the tours are subject to the prohibitions found in RCW 42.17A.555 against using public facilities to support or oppose a candidate or ballot proposition, which includes a political party organization.  

Pursuant to WAC 390-37-060(1)(b), Jon Cooke will receive a formal written warning concerning his use of public facilities by contributing several tours of the Jefferson County Clock Tower to the Jefferson County Republican Party.  The formal written warning will include staff's expectation that Mr. Cooke will not use public facilities to support or oppose a candidate, political committee, or ballot proposition, including a political party organization in future years in accordance with PDC laws and rules. The Commission will consider this formal written warning in deciding on further Commission action if there are future violations of PDC laws or rules. 

Based on these findings, the PDC has dismissed this matter in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).

Disposition: Case Closed with Written Warning (Resolved 11/15/2018)
Date opened: 08/30/2018
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A 555

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