The Commission heard four enforcement cases involving late or missing Personal Financial Affairs (F-1) reports. Officials in each of the four cases had previous violations on record.
In each case, PDC staff sent multiple emails and other communications in an attempt to make filers aware of their most recent missing reports.
In PDC Case 80222, the Commission voted to fine Jeff Jernigan, fire commissioner for the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority since 2013, $3,000 in addition to penalties previously assessed for missing F-1 reports. But the $3,000 was suspended, provided that Jernigan files reports for calendar years 2015 through 2018 within 30 days and pays penalties related to previous missing reports totaling $4,000 within 120 days.
A long-running case initiated by a Public Disclosure Commission investigation led to a court ruling Wednesday that initiative campaigner Tim Eyman intentionally violated state campaign finance laws.
Thurston County Superior Court Judge James J. Dixon found that Eyman misappropriated campaign donations for his personal use and neglected to report hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
Dixon fined Eyman more than $2.6 million and also enjoined Eyman from managing, controlling or directing the finances of any political committees in the future – an action sought by the state.
The court found that Eyman operated as a continuing political committee and, as such, failed for years to report financial details to the PDC.
Wednesday’s ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2017 by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, following the PDC’s investigation.
Fred Jarrett presided over his first Commission meeting as chair. Jarrett joined the Commission in 2019, following a long career of public service as Mercer Island mayor, state senator and representative and senior deputy county executive in King County.
Spokane attorney Nancy Isserlis, who joined the PDC in 2020, is the Commission’s new vice chair.
The Commission voted to adopt permanent rules governing requirements for the Personal Financial Affairs (F-1) statements required from elected and appointed officials.
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The Commission chose Fred Jarrett as its new chair to replace David Ammons, who presided over his final meeting.
Nancy Isserlis, a Spokane attorney who joined the Commission in 2020, replaces Jarrett as vice chair of the Commission.
Jarrett joined the PDC in 2019, following a decades-long career of public service as Mercer Island mayor, state senator and representative and Senior deputy county executive in King County. He also had a 35-year career at the Boeing Co.
Commissioners and PDC staff members thanked Ammons for his dedication to the PDC.
Jarrett praised Ammons’ ability to build relationships with both PDC staff members and citizens.
“The respect he treats them with allows them to be the best they can be,” Jarrett said.
The Public Disclosure Commission is soliciting comment on proposed rules that would update F-1 filing requirements and clarify the process for reporting modification requests.
The rules will be the subject of a public hearing at 9:45 a.m. Jan. 28, 2021. Written comments should be submitted to email@example.com, attention Sean Flynn, by Jan. 8, 2021.
The Commission approved five major focus areas for the agency as it works toward the values outlined in the PDC’s strategic plan.
Commission Chairman David Ammons said the five projects align with the PDC’s mission of promoting confidence in the political process.
The five areas of focus are:
Curious about who’s funding recall efforts involving local elected officials?
Here’s how to find that information on the PDC website.
Recalls are ballot propositions, and groups that raise or spend money to support or fight a ballot proposition are political committees, or PACs.
To find the PACs involved in a local recall election, start here.
The page defaults to the current year. Type the official’s last name (and/or first name) or the committee name in the filter box under the Committee heading. A search may also reveal if there is a committee raising money to defend that official.
The Public Disclosure Commission voted unanimously to fine former Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed $50,000 – with half the penalty suspended – for campaign violations related to personal loans to his unsuccessful 2020 campaign for governor.
Freed acknowledged in a stipulation negotiated with PDC staff that he exceeded the $6,000 limit on repayment of a personal loan to his campaign. The campaign repaid him at least $450,000 of a $500,000 loan — later characterized as a contribution – he made at the start of his campaign. He also acknowledged that the campaign filed incorrect reports concerning the contribution and/or loan.
The Public Disclosure Commission Thursday voted unanimously to fine former Bothell Mayor Joshua Freed $50,000 – with half the penalty suspended – for campaign violations related to personal loans to his unsuccessful 2020 campaign for governor.
Freed acknowledged in a stipulation negotiated with PDC staff that he exceeded the $6,000 limit on repayment of a personal loan to his campaign. The campaign repaid him at least $450,000 of a $500,000 loan – later characterized as a contribution – he made at the start of his campaign. He also acknowledged that the campaign filed incorrect reports concerning the contribution and/or loan.
The stipulation cited aggravating factors in the case, noting that the loans and/or contributions made up the majority of Freed’s campaign funds and that the public was deprived of significant information for a good portion of the 2020 primary election cycle.
A new PDC tool helps the public visualize candidate campaign reports by mapping the sources of their campaign cash and showing how their financial support has changed over time.
You’ll find the “Show me the money” application via a link on each candidate’s campaign overview page. (The exception is some small-dollar campaigns that don’t have to report contributions.)
Use this link to browse 2020 candidates. Enter the candidate name in the search box at the top of the page, and you’ll find the candidate overview page. Clicking the map image will take you to the visualization dashboard.
Commissioners heard an update about the work Vice Chair Fred Jarrett and Commissioner Russ Lehman are leading to research problems and potential solutions for the complex issues created by the rise of digital political advertising.
PDC staff members are consulting with researchers, political consultants, media, the digital ad industry and regulatory officials in other states to explore potential improvements to disclosure requirements around digital ads.
The first step is to discern what information is important to the public to learn from digital political ads, and who should provide that information.
A potential solution is a public digital political ad archive. But Jarrett noted that the PDC must “make sure we understand the problem we are trying to solve” before arriving at a solution.
The five-member Public Disclosure Commission voted unanimously Thursday to refer two 2019 complaints against Google to the state attorney general’s office.
The complaints (PDC case documents here and here) allege that Google violated state campaign finance laws that require commercial advertisers to maintain records known as “books of account” for political advertising. Those records are to be made available to members of the public upon request, so that they can see who is paying for political ads.
The complaints against Google have been under review by PDC staff. Executive Director Peter Lavallee brought the cases to the Commission for review due to his assessment that “continued investigation of this matter will involve the expenditure of substantial resources by the PDC.”