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.
Commission Chair Anne Levinson said commissioners were impressed with the strength of the candidates who emerged from a pool of about 40 applicants. Lavallee stood out for his demonstrated ability to collaboratively lead a team managing a complex scope of work and to advance the PDC's mission to serve the public interest.
"The commission has high expectations for its next executive director," Levinson said. "The PDC's executive director plays a key role to help ensure the integrity of the political process through fair, non-partisan and effective enforcement of the law. The director also must have a commitment to assisting public officials, lobbyists and candidates with what can be a complex array of laws and rules."
Lavallee said Tuesday that the values on which the PDC was founded more than 40 years ago are closely aligned with his own.
"Transparency and accountability are essential to our democracy," Lavallee said. "I look forward to working with the commission and the dedicated PDC staff to advance those values and continue Washington's long tradition of clean elections and good government."
In addition to the Attorney General's Office, Lavallee has worked at the Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Before joining the public sector, he worked as an investment banker in New York City at Merrill Lynch, where he rose to be a vice president in the Mergers & Acquisition group.
He also served as general counsel of a Bethesda, Maryland, technology company.
Lavallee received his Master of Business Administration from the Yale School of Management, his law degree from Tulane Law School and his Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University.
Voters created the Public Disclosure Commission by approving Initiative 276 in 1972. The agency exists to provide timely and meaningful public access to accurate information about the financing of political campaigns, lobbyist expenditures, and the financial affairs of public officials and candidates and to ensure compliance with and equitable enforcement of Washington's disclosure and campaign finance laws.
It operates on an annual budget of $2.4 million and the equivalent of 19 full-time employees. Deputy Director Barbara "BG" Sandahl has served as interim executive director since Evelyn Fielding Lopez left in April.