Case #56889
Respondent name: Washington State Council of County and City Employees
Complainant name: Freedom Foundation (Maxford Nelsen)

A complaint was filed against the WA State Council of County and City Employees, AFL-CIO, a statewide labor council for county and city municipal employees headquartered in Everett, Washington, alleging that the WA State Council of County and City Employees, AFL-CIO (WSCCCE, AFL,CIO) may have violated RCW 42.17A.255 by failing to timely file Independent Expenditures report (C-6 report) disclosing expenditures made for legal services related to City of Chelan Propositions 1 and 2. 

On September 25, 2019, WSCCCE AFL-CIO filed three C-6 reports disclosing expenditures totaling $28,923 made to the law firm of Reid, McCarthy, Ballew & Leahy, LLP for legal services in January, February and March of 2015 for legal services incurred in opposition to the City of Chelan Propositions 1 and 2.  

WSCCCE, AFL-CIO indicated that the independent expenditures made by WSCCCE, AFL-CIO concerned legal services relating to two local proposed ballot propositions submitted to the Chelan City Clerk in the fall of 2014, and that the two proposed ballot propositions “were not proper subjects of the municipal initiative power.”  WSCCCE, AFL-CIO intervened in support of the City of Chelan’s position, and “that the proposed ballot propositions were not proper subjects for the municipal ballot power", and the Court "granted summary judgment in favor of the City and WSCCCE, AFL-CIO and the two proposed propositions were never voted upon.” 

WSCCCE, AFL-CIO’s indicated the failure to timely file the three C-6 reports had minimal impact on the public, since the two proposed propositions were never placed on the ballot by the Chelan City Council, and that the independent expenditures were made for legal services to oppose the two proposed propositions.  WSCCE, AFL-CIO's involvement “was hardly secret (since) the litigation was publicly reported on as it progressed”, and WSCCCE, AFL-CIO promptly took corrective action when its alleged noncompliance was brought to its attention. 

WSCCCE, AFL-CIO indicated they did not realize the requirement to file C-6 reports "prior to the complaint being filed against it, it has since filed reports fully disclosing the costs of legal fees it paid opposing the two propositions.” 

On November 4, 2019, the PDC received a completed Statement of Understanding (SOU) that was signed by Chris Dugovich, President of the WSCCCE, AFL-CIO.  The SOU was accompanied by a $450 payment for the civil penalty that was assessed in this matter in accordance with WAC 390-37-143 (Brief Enforcement Penalty Schedule).  The $450 civil penalty resolves the allegations listed in your complaint against the WSCCCE, AFL-CIO for failing to timely file three C-6 reports.

By completing the SOU, the WA State Council of County and City Employees, AFL-CIO acknowledged three violations of RCW 42.17A.255 for failing to timely file C-6 reports disclosing legal services incurred in opposition to the City of Sequim Propositions 1 and 2.

Based on the resolution of this matter through an SOU, PDC staff is dismissing this matter in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).  

Disposition: Resolved through Statement of Understanding (Resolved 11/25/2019)
Date opened: 09/03/2019
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A.255

Subscribe to updates for this content