The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has completed its review of the complaint filed on October 17, 2020. The complaint alleged that Justin Raffa, a candidate for County Commissioner, Position 1 in Benton County in the 2020 primary and general elections, may have violated RCW 42.17A.320 for failure to disclose sponsor identification and party preference on political advertisement.
PDC staff reviewed the allegations; the applicable statutes, rules, and reporting requirements; the response provided by the Respondent; and written guidance provided on the PDC regarding providing sponsor identification in online transmissions, to determine whether the record supports a finding of one or more violations.
Justin Raffa is a first-time candidate and has not previously been found in violation of the PDC campaign finance laws or rules. It appears that Mr. Raffa’s failure to initially include the full name and address identifying the sponsor of the political advertisements sent via text message and failure to set the party preference apart from the remainder of the ad content, was due to a general lack of knowledge and not meant to conceal this information from the public.
Based on our findings staff has determined that, in this instance, failure to include the full sponsor and clearly identify party preference on written political advertisement does not amount to a finding of a violation that warrants further investigation.
PDC staff reminded Justin Raffa about the importance of the disclosure of political advertisement sponsors and the requirement to set sponsor id and party preference apart from the text of a written ad on all future political advertisements in accordance with the statutes and rules.
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 11/12/2020)