A complaint was filed against Mike Kreidler, the incumbent Washington State Insurance Commissioner, alleging violations of RCW 42.17A.430 by making prohibited expenditures from the Mike Kreidler Surplus Funds Account.
A $500 contribution was made from the Mike Kreidler Surplus funds account to the Denny Heck for Congress Campaign in August of 2017. The contribution had been made in error, and after being made aware of the error once the complaint had been filed, the Mike Kreidler Surplus funds account requested the Denny Heck Campaign refund the contribution. The $500 contribution was refunded and received by the Mike Kreidler Surplus funds account on March 9, 2020.
On April 9, 2020, the Mike Kreidler Surplus funds account filed the March 2020 reports disclosing the deposit date of the $500 refunded contribution from the Denny Heck Campaign as being March 10, 2020.
On April 16, 2020, Commissioner Kreidler completed a Statement of Understanding (SOU) and paid a $150 civil penalty in accordance with WAC 390-37-143 (Brief Enforcement Penalty Schedule), acknowledging a violation of RCW 42.17A.430 by using surplus funds to make a prohibited $500 monetary contribution to the 2018 Denny Heck for Congress Campaign. The $150 penalty assessed in this matter resolves the issue of making a prohibited surplus expenditure.
PDC staff found no evidence of a material violation concerning the remaining allegations that would require conducting a more formal investigation into the complaint or pursuing enforcement action in this instance. Staff found that the surplus fund expenditures identified in the complaint, with the exception of the $500 contribution to the Denny Heck Campaign, were for official office related and/or team building activities, and for official office related travel, and thus permissible expenditures.
Those permissible expenditures included: (1) office parties, annual holiday events, retirement parties for Insurance Commissioner Office staff; (2) entry fees and other costs associated with joining the State Agency Softball League, and other activities that boost Insurance Commissioner Officer morale and promote team building; and (3) expenditures made to Commissioner Kreidler reimbursing him for out-of-pocket expenses he incurred while attending the annual National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s (NAIC), and other insurance industry-related meetings, roundtables, etc. while serving in his official capacity.
The PDC has dismissed the complaint in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).
Disposition: Resolved through Statement of Understanding (Resolved 04/20/2020)