A complaint was filed alleging that the Tax Amazon PAC, a political committee registered with the PDC, may have violated RCW 42.17A.240 by failing to timely and accurately disclose committee expenditures for payments made to committee staff during 2020.
On July 15, 2020, the PAC filed the 21-Day Pre-Primary C-4 report disclosing $39, 119 in monetary contributions received and $26,880 in expenditures made during the period that included a $4,516.61 expenditure made to surepayroll on June 1, 2020 for Payroll Taxes.
On August 28, 2020, the PAC filed the 7-Day Pre-Primary C-4 report disclosing $745 in monetary contributions received and $13,935 in expenditures made during the period that included two expenditures to surepayroll for Payroll Taxes ($7,472.09 made on July 14, 2020, and a $2,000.16 made on July 21, 2020). The report also disclosed a $1,702 expenditure to Rosemary Daniels on July 15, 2020 for Campaign services.
Ms. Metz stated that the correct expenditure details for the PAC expenditures made and attributed to payroll were as follows: (1) June 2020: The $4,516 expenditure made by the PAC on June 1, 2020, should have been disclosed as: $1,862.54 paid to Alycia Lewis; $1,760.00 paid to Greyson Van Arsdale, with $896.07 in payroll taxes paid through Surepayroll; (2) July 1-13, 2020: The $7,472.09 expenditure made by the PAC on July 14, 2020, should have been disclosed as: $1,760 paid to Greyson Van Arsdale; $1,858.54 paid to Alycia Lewis; $1,605 paid to Hannah Swoboda; and $2,248.55 in payroll taxes paid through Surepayroll; and (3) July 14-31, 2020: The $2,000.16 expenditure made by the PAC on July 21, 2020, should have been disclosed as $1,618.02 paid to Joe Sugrue and $382.14 for payroll taxes paid through Surepayroll.
On November 18, 2020, Ms. Metz filed amended 21-Day and 7-Day Pre-Primary C-4 reports correcting the expenditures made by the PAC to accurately disclose the individuals listed above as having been paid by the PAC for “Campaign Services” for June and July of 2020.
Ms. Metz stated that she was a first-time Treasurer and had no prior experience filing Campaign finance reports with the PDC through the Online Reporting of Campaign Activity (ORCA) Software. She stated that "This error occurred when we first switched over to a direct deposit payroll system with surepayroll in June, which also coincided with an expansion of our campaign team.”
Ms. Metz stated that prior to making the change the PAC’s employees were all paid by check, but under the new payroll system with surepayroll, some of the employees were being paid by the PAC directly by check and some PAC employees were paid electronically through direct deposits.
PDC staff found no evidence of a violation that would require conducting a more formal investigation into the complaint or pursuing enforcement action in this instance. Staff has determined that Tax Amazon PAC inadvertently disclosed the payments made to committee staff for services as a lump sum expenditure made to surepayroll when the committee changed to an automated direct deposit payment system for payroll expenses, rather than identifying each individual committee staff member paid by the PAC.
PDC staff has reminded Tax Amazon PAC about the importance of campaign finance reporting for political committees, including the timely and accurate disclosure of committee expenditures for payments made to committee staff, and all other reportable committee contribution and expenditure activities, and to comply with the continuing political committee and ballot measure committee reporting requirements in the future.
The PDC has dismissed this matter in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).Disposition: Case Closed with Reminder (Resolved 11/24/2020)