Case #59652
Respondent name: Phyllis "Joy" Gilfilen
Complainant name: Kendra Cook

The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has completed its review of the complaint filed on October 28, 2019. The 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; and (2) RCW 42.17A.265 for failure to timely report a contribution of $1,000 or more within forty-eight hours of receipt during the 21-days before the November 5, 2019 general election.

PDC staff reviewed the allegations; the applicable statutes, rules, and reporting requirements; the response provided by Ms. Gilfilen; the applicable PDC reports filed by Respondent; PDC Case 58089; 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 “carelessness” and “negligence” for general reporting issues. Apart from the portion of reporting discrepancies or tardiness resulting in a possible violation of RCW 42.17A, staff found this allegation to be outside of the PDC’s jurisdiction and did not address this part of the complaint.

Phyllis Joy Gilfilen was an unsuccessful candidate in the 2019 Whatcom County Sheriff campaign. It appears that her failure to timely report an in-kind contribution of $1,000 or more within forty-eight hours of receipt during the 21-days before the November 5, 2019 general election, or by no later than October 28, 2019, was due to inexperience and general lack of knowledge. 

Based on these findings staff has determined that, in this instance, failure to timely report one contribution of $1,000 or more within forty-eight hours of receipt during the 21-days before the November 5, 2019 general election, does not amount to a finding of a violation warranting further investigation.

PDC staff reminded Ms. Gilfilen about the importance of the timely reporting of all campaign expenditures and contributions, specifically including the forty-eight hour disclosure of any contributions that are received during the accelerated reporting periods of $1,000 or more in the aggregate from one source within the 21-days of a general election or 7-days before a primary election, 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 01/22/2020)
Date opened: 11/04/2019
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A.235, RCW 42.17A.265, RCW 42.17A.445

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