The complaints alleged Linda Lehman, a 2019 candidate for Mayor of Benton City, may have violated RCW 42.17A.555 by using city facilities, specifically city-purchased business cards, to assist her campaign. Based on the evidence you submitted, PDC staff also included an alleged violation of RCW 42.17A.320 for failing to identify a sponsor on political advertising.
Staff has determined, because the candidate was the sponsor and there was no apparent attempt to conceal sponsorship information, and because, in this instance, even though the business cards were designed by the City, they were paid for by the candidate, the use of the business cards does not amount to a material violation warranting further investigation.
However, pursuant to WAC 390-37-060(1)(d), Linda Lehman will receive a formal written warning concerning the lack of sponsor identification and the use of city facilities to assist an election campaign. The formal written warning will include PDC staff’s expectation for Linda Lehman to review PDC guidance for local government agencies in election campaigns and to comply with the underlying statute, RCW 42.17A.555.
The Commission will consider the formal written warning in deciding on further Commission action if there are future violations of PDC laws or 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 Written Warning (Resolved 10/22/2019)