In 2014, the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) found the Food Democracy Action! (FDA) and Food Democracy Action! Yes on I-522 (FDA-WA State PAC) had committed multiple apparent violations of RCW 42.17A and referred the matter to the Washington State Attorney General’s Office for appropriate action.
November 21, 2016, Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor ruled that as a result of their violations of state campaign finance disclosure laws, Food Democracy Action! (FDA) must pay a $319,281 penalty (for concealment and late reporting), $2,895.16 in investigation costs, plus attorney fees and trial costs to be determined separately.
Anne Levinson, chair of the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission stated, “The PDC was created by the public to ensure compliance with our state’s campaign finance disclosure laws. We will vigorously enforce the laws through investigations and litigation whenever there is any attempt to inappropriately influence our elections. Tactics such as these designed to disguise donors and keep the public in the dark will not be tolerated.”
This is one of two campaign finance disclosure cases related to I-522. Earlier this month, the Grocery Manufacturer’s Association was ordered to pay $18 million in penalties and damages for its systematic effort to conceal the sources of $11 million in contributions to oppose I-522.
The PDC is pleased to see the work of the Commission is preserving the integrity of Washington elections and the transparency that the citizens of Washington worked so hard to achieve.