June 21, 2021

Commission issues order concerning pro bono legal work for Tim Eyman 

At the request of the Institute for Free Speech, the Commission issued an order concerning the Institute’s plan to provide pro bono (without charge) legal services to Tim Eyman for an anticipated appeal of a ruling in a 2021 court case that found he violated campaign finance law. 
 
The Commission order says IFS need not register or file reports with the PDC, nor disclose its donors, as long as it represents Eyman in his individual capacity in the appeal. 
 
The court ordered Eyman to report under the state Fair Campaign Practices Act, any gifts, donations or other funds he receives, directly or indirectly, unless the funds are used only to pay for legal defense. 
 

Commission defers enforcement for recall committee 

The Commission voted to defer enforcement of contribution limits for a committee seeking to recall Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher, provided the committee meets certain conditions. 
 
 The conditions preclude the Committee to Recall Benton County Sheriff Jerry Hatcher from coordinating expenditures or soliciting or accepting contributions from candidates for sheriff or a candidate’s committee. They also say the committee may not include members of the Board of Benton County Commissioners or staff in its decision-making. 
 
 In a stipulated agreement, the committee acknowledged that it accepted three contributions over the $1,000 limit. The committee said it was unaware that contribution limits applied to recall committees, and asked the commission to suspend enforcement of the limits because it is not endorsing any candidate. 
 
The committee also stated that it was not aware that a person who contributed to the committee and provided volunteer work had made a statement to a newspaper reporter that he was considering running for sheriff. The committee refunded his contribution and told its members not to contact him. 
 
 

 Commission fines Kitsap County Republican Party 

Commissioners voted to fine the Kitsap County Republican Party $4,000, with half suspended, for accepting over-limit contributions between 2016 and 2020. 
 
The party acknowledged that it accepted six over-limit contributions – including cash and in-kind contributions – totaling more than $100,000. The party refunded the cash contributions and took steps to avoid future violations. 
 
 

Commission adopts interpretation on surplus campaign funds 

The Commission adopted a new Interpretation on the Designation and Disposal of Campaign Surplus Funds
 
Its purpose is to help candidates determine what to do with campaign funds that are unspent after an election. It outlines how surplus funds may be spent on and how those funds must be handled. 
 

Enforcement statistics 

As of May 18, PDC staff had 24 active cases. Between April 13 and May 19, staff closed 25 cases. 
 
Link to full Commission Agenda for May 27, 2021 meeting.
 
Next Commission meeting: June 24, 2021