March 18, 2021

 

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. 

Jernigan filed reports covering calendar years 2019 and 2020 just before the Commission hearing, and said he had already mailed paper copies of the older missing reports. He told the Commission that he had not previously seen multiple email reminders from the PDC because they landed in his spam folder. He apologized for not filing on time. 

In PDC Case 80189, the Commission voted to fine Daniel P. Williams, a commissioner for East County Parks and Recreation District from 2015 through 2019, $1,000 for missing F-1 reports for calendar years 2018 and 2019.  

Williams also had two previous violations for failing to file F-1 reports, with previous unpaid fines totaling $500. 

In PDC Case 80176, the Commission voted to fine William “Beau” Burkett, a Buckley City Council member from 2015 through 2019, $1,000 for missing F-1 reports for calendar years 2018 and 2019. Burkett was elected in 2015 and his term expired on Dec. 31, 2019. 

Burkett had previous violations for missing F-1 reports, with additional fines totaling $1,850. 

In PDC Case 80252, the Commission voted to fine Ronnie Little, a current commissioner in King County Fire District 40, $1,500 for failure to file an F-1 report for calendar year 2019. 

Little also had three previous violations for missing F-1 reports, with additional fines totaling $1,300. 

 

Other enforcement statistics 

Between Jan. 20, 2021 and Feb. 17, 2021, PDC staff closed a total of 32 cases. As of Feb. 17, 2021, staff was working on 45 active cases. 

 

Rollout of ORCA changes scheduled 

Commission members heard a description of changes coming to the Online Reporting of Campaign Activity (ORCA) software. 

The PDC is rolling out changes incrementally. The first major change for campaigns, scheduled to debut in late April, will introduce a more user-friendly home screen and better connectivity with PDC systems.   

The goal by next year is to transform ORCA into a system that is completely web-based, rather than stand-alone software.  

Foreign donor rules 

Commission members reviewed a draft version of proposed rules regulating foreign involvement and financing in Washington campaigns. 

The Legislature passed a new law governing such involvement in 2020, and the law took effect in June 2020.  

The Commission will wait to see if lawmakers make any updates to the law in the 2021 legislative session before adopting permanent rules. Previously adopted emergency rules are in effect in the interim. 

 

Foreign donor rules 

Commission members reviewed a draft version of proposed rules regulating foreign involvement and financing in Washington campaigns. 

The Legislature passed a new law governing such involvement in 2020, and the law took effect in June 2020.  

The Commission will wait to see if lawmakers make any updates to the law in the 2021 legislative session before adopting permanent rules. Previously adopted emergency rules are in effect in the interim. 

 

Next Commission meeting: March 25, 2021