The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has completed its review of the complaint filed on June 19, 2020. The complaint alleged that Everett Public Schools, a public school district in Snohomish County serving the cities of Everett, Bothell and Mill Creek, may have violated RCW 42.17A.555 by misusing the district’s official Facebook page to share a virtual event originating on Representative John Lovick’s 2020 Campaign Facebook page.
PDC staff reviewed the allegations; the applicable statutes and rules; PDC Interpretation 01-03; the response provided by Sarah S. Mack, General Counsel for Everett Public Schools (the “Respondent”); and the response provided by Representative John Lovick in related PDC Case 72472, to determine whether the record supports a finding of one or more violations.
Staff’s review of the Respondent’s written response shows that they have a general understanding of RCW 42.17A.555 and PDC Interpretation 01-03, Guidelines for School Districts in Election Campaigns and acted in a good faith manner they believed to be permissible as well as consistent with similar activities. However, staff noted that the district was aware that the virtual invitation included a web address for Rep. Lovick’s 2020 Re-election Campaign but did not flag this as problematic.
Based on our findings staff has determined that, in this instance, the act of the Respondent sharing a post from a current legislator’s Facebook page despite the fact that the invitation language included a campaign web address, does not amount to a violation that warrants further investigation.
PDC staff reminded Everett Public Schools about the importance of following the prohibitions described in RCW 42.17A.555 and PDC Interpretation 01-03 closely and to review all future events shared on the district’s official Facebook page with more scrutiny to ensure that they are free of any campaign related language.
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 08/04/2020)