Case #87070
Respondent name: King County Elections Officials
Complainant name: Stefan Sharkansky

The complaint alleged King County Elections violated RCW 42.17A.555 by using public office or agency facilities to promote or oppose ballot propositions by making grants to organizations engaged in express advocacy. Specifically you alleged “King County Elections, through its "Voter Education Fund" (VEF), engaged in a pattern of violations of RCW 42.17A.555, providing a total of roughly $300,000 in public funds along with considerable staff time, which supported express advocacy for or against various ballot measures between 2018 and 2020.”

PDC staff reviewed the allegations, the materials you provided, the materials provided by the respondent, the applicable statutes and rules, and the responses from Janine Joly, Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, to determine whether the record supports a finding of one or more violations.

PDC staff has determined, in this instance, the alleged violation of RCW 42.17A.555 by using public office or agency facilities to promote or oppose ballot propositions by making grants to organizations engaged in express advocacy, does not amount to a violation warranting further investigation.

PDC staff has reminded King County Elections of its responsibility to monitor public resources, and suggests King County Elections consider reviewing its contract language to require renewing grantees to affirm there was no grant money or other public resources used in support or opposition to any ballot propositions during the prior grant period.

Based on this information, the PDC finds no further action is warranted and has dismissed this matter in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1). 

Disposition: Case Closed with Reminder (Resolved 05/24/2021)
Date opened: 03/16/2021
Area of Law: RCW 42.17A.555

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