A complaint was filed against John Kartak, incumbent Mayor of the City of Snohomish and a candidate seeking the office of State Representative in the 44th Legislative District in 2020, alleging a violation of RCW 42.17A.240 by failing to disclose the required expenditure details for political advertising purchased by the campaign for yard signage.
On July 14, 2020, the Vote Kartak Campaign (Campiang) timely filed the 21-Day Pre-Primary C-4 report disclosing $5,522 in monetary contributions, and $100 for in-kind contributions received, and total expenditures were $6,838 during the period of June 1 through July 13, 2020. The 21-Day Pre-Primary C-4 report disclosed two expenditures for signage that included: (1) a $3,221.40 expenditure made to Dave’s Campaign and Business on June 30, 2020 and listing the description as “655 Campaign Signs”; and (2) a $123.20 expenditure made to Countryman Signs on June 26, 2020 and listing the description as “66 Campaign Signs.”
The amended C-4 report filed by the Campaign disclosed the purchase of 655 campaign signs from Dave’s Campaign and Business on June 30, 2020, which consisted of two different yard sign sizes as noted in the response letter stating “To be more transparent, we separated the purchase into 2 categories, one for 18” x 24” signs and the other for 8’ x 4’ signs, on the amended report.”
The response letter added that Mr. Kartak donated 200 wire stakes to the Campaign that were already in his possession prior to the 2020, to use for the yard signs, and the Campaign conducted some online searches to determine the fair market value for the wire stakes. The Campaign disclosed on the amended 21-Day Pre-Primary C-4 report as an estimated in-kind contribution from Mr. Kartak valued at $237.76 and stated that the “wire stakes purchased and donated were cut in half, which doubled the number of signs they could be used on. There are still signs in the campaign’s possession that are not yet staked.”
Based on these facts, and the fact that Mr. Kartak is a candidate under the Full Reporting Option for the first time, staff found that the allegations identified in your complaint and the Campaign’s filing of the amended information would not constitute a material violation that would require conducting a more formal investigation into the complaint or pursuing any enforcement action in this instance.
The PDC has reminded the Vote Kartak Campaign about the importance of timely and accurate disclosure of contribution and expenditures activities, including the required expenditure details for political advertisements undertaken by the Campaign and the reporting of in-kind contributions from the candidate and other sources for the remainder of the 2020 election cycle. The PDC has dismissed the complaint in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).
Disposition: Case Closed with Reminder (Resolved 10/19/2020)