Case #58089
Respondent name: Phyllis Joy Gilfilen
Complainant name: Glen Morgan

The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has completed its review of the complaint filed on September 26, 2019. Your complaint alleged that Phyllis Joy Gilfilen, a candidate for  Whatcom County Sheriff in 2019, may have violated: (1) RCW 42.17A.445(2) & WAC 390-16-238 for personal use of campaign funds; (2) RCW 42.17A.240 & WAC 390-16-037 for failure to accurately describe expenditures on Summary Full Campaign Contribution and Expenditure reports (C-4 reports); and (3) RCW 42.17A.700 & .710 for failure to timely and accurately file Personal Financial Affairs Statement (F-1 report) as a candidate.

PDC staff reviewed the allegations; the applicable statutes, rules, and reporting requirements; the response provided by Phyllis Joy Gilfilen; the applicable PDC reports filed by Respondent; and queried the Respondent’s data in the PDC contribution and expenditure database, to determine whether the record supports a finding of one or more violations.

The complaint included an additional allegation regarding a possible misuse of the Schedule A to the C-4 report’s un-itemized expenditures of $50 or less in the aggregate. No evidence was found that the JoyForSheriff campaign incorrectly disclosed expenditures reported in this section of the C-4 reports filed for the 2019 campaign.

Phyllis Joy Gilfilen was an unsuccessful candidate in 2015 and had a separate individual acting as her treasurer and filing campaign reports. During the 2019 Whatcom County Sheriff campaign, she served as her own treasurer and did not list any other officers or committee members. It appears that her failure to disclose adequate descriptions for campaign expenditures on C-4 reports and her failure to disclose a reportable debt on her candidate F-1, was due to inexperience and general misunderstanding. Ms. Gilfilen responded promptly to the complaint and has not previously been found in violation of PDC laws or rules. 

Based on these findings staff has determined that, in this instance, failure to timely and accurately file two C-4 reports and failure to include a reportable debt on the candidate F-1 report, does not amount to a finding of a violation warranting further investigation.

PDC staff reminded Ms. Gilfilen about the importance of the timely disclosure of all expenditure activities, specifically including any required detail and vendor breakdown as prescribed in WAC, and the timely and accurate disclosure of all reportable financial information on F-1 reports in any future PDC reports in accordance with the statutes and 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 Reminder (Resolved 11/04/2019)
Date opened: 10/02/2019
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A.240, RCW 42.17A.445, RCW 42.17A.700

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