Two complaints (PDC Cases 74713 and 77585) were filed against Our Region PAC, a political committee registered with the PDC, the first one on July 29, 2020, and a second complaint received on October 5, 2020. The two complaints alleged that Our Region PAC violated RCW 42.17A by failing to include the required sponsor identification information for independent expenditure advertisements such as the sponsor, and the Top 5 contributor and Top 3 contributor information, as part of the disclaimer in the advertisements.
On July 2, 2020, Our Region PAC filed a Registration with the PDC disclosing that it was a Continuing Political Committee selecting the Full Reporting Option and listing Jon Petit as President and as a Ministerial Treasurer. On July 13, 2020, Our Region PAC (ORP) filed two C-3 reports disclosing a $10,000 contribution had been received from Responsible Economic Growth in Our Neighborhood PAC - Region PAC on July 10, 2020, and that a $100 monetary loan had been received from Jon Petit.
On July 15, 2020, ORP timely filed a C-6 report checking box #2 for an independent expenditure advertisement made within 21 days of an election, disclosing a $5,120.60 expenditure for a mailing presented to the public on July 15, 2020, in support of Bud Blake a candidate for Thurston County Commission. On August 6, 2020, ORP filed a C-6 report checking box #2 for an independent expenditure advertisement made within 21 days of an election, disclosing a $3,762.56 expenditure for a mailing presented to the public on August 6, in support of Bud Blake a candidate for Thurston County Commission.
Responsible Economic Growth in Our Neighborhood PAC - Region PAC (REGION) is a Continuing Political Committee that was formed in February of 2019, selecting the Full Reporting Option, and listing David K. Toyer as Committee Manager and Treasurer. You alleged that ORP failed to include two 2019 REGION contributors, Northpoint Development and Art by Nature, Inc. in the sponsor identification for the 2020 independent expenditures.
The complete sponsor identification in the ORP independent expenditure advertisements stated: “No candidate authorized this ad, it is paid for by Our Region PAC….Sponsored by Responsible Economic Growth in Our Neighborhood (REGION PAC) top 5 donors are Responsible Economic Growth in Our Neighborhood (REGION PAC), top 3 individuals donors to PAC contributors are Universal Land Construction co, Gibson Traffic Consultants, and The Gordon Company, Inc.”
On October 22, 2020, ORP amended its Committee Registration to state: “Our Region PAC, Sponsored by Responsible Economic Growth in Our Neighborhood (ORPAC).”
Staff’s review found that at the time of the 2020 independent expenditure advertisements were prepared by ORP, REGION’s top three contributors for calendar year 2020 included a $2,500 monetary contribution from Gibson Traffic Consultants (June 2, 2020); a $2,500 monetary contribution from Universal Land Construction Company, Inc (June 10, 2020); and a $2,000 monetary contribution from The Gordon Company, Inc. (June 24, 2020). The review confirmed the allegation that ORP failed to include two 2019 REGION contributors, Northpoint Development, for a $7,500 monetary contribution received by REGION on October 15, 2019; and Art by Nature, Inc., for a $5,000 monetary contribution received by REGION on November 14, 2019, in the sponsor identification.
While the independent expenditure advertisements printed and distributed by ORP did include Top five and Top three contributor information, ORP’s review only included 2020 contributors and failed to include a look back into REGION’s 2019 contributors to cover the required 12-month period referenced in the statute and rule. However, staff did find there were several mitigating factors concerning the allegations listed in the two complaints you filed that included ORP being a first-time political committee with an inexperienced Treasurer, and that the ORP independent expenditure advertisements correctly identified the sponsor in the advertisements by stating in part of the sponsor identification "Sponsored by Responsible Economic Growth in Our Neighborhood PAC (REGON).”
Based on this information, PDC staff found no evidence that would constitute a material violation that would require conducting a more formal investigation into the complaint or pursuing any enforcement action in this instance. However, staff is reminding Our Region PAC and Mr. Pettit to be aware of the sponsorship requirements in the naming of a political committee, as well as the sponsor identification requirements for independent expenditure advertising to include the Top five and Top three contributors for the previous 12 months, for any political committees he is involved with in the future.
The PDC has dismissed these two complaints, PDC Cases 74713 and 77585, in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).Disposition: Case Closed with Reminder (Resolved 10/27/2020)