November 5, 2019

Passing the gavel

Commission Chair David Ammons, presiding over his first meeting, thanked outgoing Chair Anne Levinson for her service.

She joined the commission in 2015. In addition to her service on the commission, Levinson – formerly the Seattle deputy mayor and a municipal court judge – has been a consultant for governments and courts on system reform.

Ammons retired in 2017 after a career in journalism and state government. He was political writer and columnist for The Associated Press for 38 years, hosted “Inside Olympia” on TVW, and served as communications director and senior policy adviser for the Office of Secretary of State for more than eight years.

September 26, 2019

Changes coming to Personal Financial Affairs (F-1) reporting

The Public Disclosure Commission will make personal financial affairs disclosure (F-1) information from candidates, elected officials and others available online beginning in January 2020.

The F-1 is the only PDC form not currently available on the agency’s website. Come next year, new financial disclosure reports filed with the commission will be viewable via the website, while older reports will remain available by public records requests.

State law requires candidates, elected officials, state board and commission members, state agency directors, and legislative and gubernatorial professional staff to disclose personal financial information through the F-1.

The information allows the public to assess whether candidates and elected and appointed officials have conflicts of interest.

September 6, 2019

The Public Disclosure Commission is offering support for the goals of a Seattle proposal that would limit contributions to independent-expenditure political committees and bar donations from foreign-included companies. 

In a letter to the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission (SEEC), PDC Chair Anne Levinson said such legislation would be "another important tool to address the influence of money in campaigns, and to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of excessive corporate spending in municipal elections."

April 15, 2019

The Public Disclosure Commission announced today that Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed Fred Jarrett, the recently retired King County Senior Deputy Executive, to the Commission.

Jarrett is a former state lawmaker, mayor, city council member and school board member.

“Fred has extensive experience at all levels of government, which has given him a deep appreciation and understanding of the importance of the work of the state Public Disclosure Commission,” Inslee said. “He is well-respected in both government and the private sector and will be an excellent addition to the PDC.”

January 25, 2019

Russell Lehman, a former legislative and gubernatorial adviser who has led several nonprofit and public affairs organizations, is the newest member of the Public Disclosure Commission.

Gov. Jay Inslee appointed Lehman, an attorney who lives in Olympia and works in Seattle.

“Russell’s extensive experience in state government and public affairs will make him an excellent addition to the PDC,” Inslee said. “His commitment to engagement, education and accountability will benefit all Washingtonians.” 

Lehman brings decades of experience in government, public affairs and education to the commission. He was the director of enforcement for the Washington State Insurance Commissioner, an adviser to Gov. Mike Lowry and counsel for both the Washington and Connecticut legislatures. 

December 21, 2018

The Public Disclosure Commission wants to hear from the public about proposed changes to interpretations dealing with campaign loans, debts, pledges and electronic contributions.

The revisions to Interpretations 12-01 and 00-02, discussed by the commission Dec. 6 and due for further consideration at its Jan. 24 meeting, are intended to reflect changes in the law and campaign finance landscape that have occurred in the years since the interpretations were written or last amended.

December 6, 2018

The Public Disclosure Commission approved emergency rules Nov. 29 to implement Substitute Senate Bill 5991, also known as the Disclose Act.

The legislation, which creates PDC filing requirements for some nonprofits that engage in political activity, takes effect Jan. 1, 2019. 

In the coming weeks, the PDC will be providing guidance about complying with the new law and rules. 

The emergency rules, which will take effect on Jan. 1 with the new law, are included below.

WAC 390-05-521, 535 Definitions of payments received by incidental committees and nonprofit organization within the meaning of incidental committee

WAC 390-16-013 Registration and reporting of incidental committees

 

January 18, 2018

The Public Disclosure Commission today announced that Gov. Jay Inslee has appointed retired Superior Court Judge William Downing to the Commission.

Downing was a highly regarded member of the King County Superior Court bench for 28 years. Since his retirement in early 2017, he has worked part-time as a mediator and arbitrator for JAMS, an international alternative dispute resolution firm.

“Judge Downing has served our state with distinction for many years as a judge and mediator. He has an impartial, fair and open approach that will serve him well as a Public Disclosure Commissioner and tremendously benefit all Washingtonians,” Inslee said.

December 5, 2017

Beginning 30 days before a regular legislative session, a legislator or state executive office holder may not solicit or accept campaigns contributions:

  • for any candidate for state or local office;
  • to a public office fund;
  • to retire a campaign debt; or
  • for a political committee, including a caucus political committee or party, if the contribution are used for the benefit of incumbent state officials or known candidates (WAC 390-17-400).

This prohibition extends to any person employed by or acting on behalf of an official subject to the freeze. Further, since caucus political committees act on behalf of legislators, caucus committee personnel also are prohibited from soliciting or accepting contributions for the purposes mentioned above and further explained in WAC 390-17-400.

October 26, 2017
 

 

 

 

October 25, 2017

The Public Disclosure Commission will launch the final piece in a new suite of tools for exploring and analyzing data on money in state and local politics Thursday.

The release of the latest addition – a replacement for the current Search the Database and View Reports features – marks the culmination of a year-long project that overhauled how the PDC delivers information about campaigns and lobbyists to the public. 

The project represents the biggest improvement to the agency’s data access systems since 2008.

“The PDC’s mission has always been to help Washingtonians make informed decisions about the influence of money in the political process,” said Commissioner David Ammons, who covered the PDC’s early days during his 37 years in The Associated Press Capitol bureau. 

October 18, 2017

Candidate spending in the 45th Legislative District race that will determine control of the state Senate has set records, according to reports filed Tuesday with the Public Disclosure Commission, the state’s campaign-finance watchdog.

Expenditures by the Manka Dhingra and Jinyoung Lee Englund campaigns together total nearly $2.4 million, far surpassing the prior record for spending in a Washington state Senate race. 

A GOP-led coalition now has a one-seat majority in the state Senate. A win by Englund would maintain the majority while a Dhingra victory would put Democrats in charge.

The prior campaign spending record for a state Senate race also was set in the 45th District by the 2014 contest between the late Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond, and Democratic challenger Matt Isenhower. Expenditures in that race totaled $1.49 million.

August 7, 2017

The Public Disclosure Commission will close its Olympia office at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9, for an annual all-staff meeting.

The office will reopen at 8 a.m. Aug. 10.

Filers and members of the public are encouraged to email requests for assistance to pdc@pdc.wa.gov. Staff members will respond as quickly as possible following their return. 
 

July 28, 2017

The Public Disclosure Commission welcomes today’s news that Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon rejected a motion to dismiss two defendants from Washington state’s lawsuit alleging multiple campaign-finance violations against Tim Eyman and associates.
 
As Commission Chair Anne Levinson said when the lawsuit was announced, “Our state’s campaign finance and disclosure laws are premised on the principle that the public deserves to know who is funding political campaigns, who is spending money to influence their vote. Mr. Eyman has an obligation to obey the law. When he, or others, do not, the Public Disclosure Commission and the Attorney General have an obligation on behalf of the public to take all necessary steps to ensure the integrity of our electoral system.”
 

May 16, 2017

The Public Disclosure Commission announced today the appointment of Peter Lavallee as the PDC’s new executive director.

Lavallee, an attorney, currently is the communications director at the Washington State Attorney General’s Office where he works extensively on campaign finance matters. He brings to the PDC broad experience in law, public policy, finance and administration, in both the public and private sectors.

Lavallee will assume his new role in June.

The commission’s vote at Tuesday’s special meeting was unanimous, with commissioners noting that Lavallee’s unique combination of legal and communications expertise will be a good fit for an agency charged with fairly enforcing the law and providing meaningful access to information about money in politics.

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