Koster, John: Alleged violations of Chapter 42.17A RCW for personal use of campaign funds, debts, contributions, and expenditures (EY 16, Sep 17)




John Koster


Walter Smith


The complaint alleged:

  • Allegation One: Violation of RCW 42.17A.445 for donation of campaign funds, not surplus funds, to House Republican Organizational Committee.
  • Allegation Two: Violation of RCW 42.17A.240 for failure to accurately and timely report debts and obligations.
  • Allegation Three: Violation of RCW 42.17A.235 for failure to accurately and timely report contributions and expenditures.

Staff found:

  • Since 1998, John Koster has served as either a state legislator or a member of the Snohomish County Council.  In July 2017, Rep. Koster resigned as a state legislator to pursue other interests.
  • (Alleged personal use of campaign funds) The final C-4 for the 2016 campaign included a $10,000 transfer to the House Republican Campaign Committee (HROC) that was erroneously listed as a contribution.  It was an acceptable use of surplus funds and not a personal use of campaign funds.
  • (Alleged failure to timely report orders, debts, and obligations) The expenditure on the 7 day pre-general election C-4 report to Minnick & Minnick on October 19, 2016 for mailings, totaling $8,504.57, likely should have been reported as an order placed on the 21 day pre-general election C-4 report.  This mistake appears to have been an inadvertent omission, or because the treasurer was unaware of that particular requirement.  
  • The candidate’s filing fee was paid by the candidate in May 2016, but was inadvertently not listed as a debt until he was reimbursed on July 29, 2016 .  
  • (Alleged failure to timely file C-3 and C-4 reports of contributions & expenditures) Of the ten alleged late-filed reports, nine were amended reports.  The original reports were timely filed, and the amended reports did not disclose material additional amounts or information.


Case Closed with No Evidence of Violations

Date Opened

September 05, 2017

Areas of Law

RCW 42.17A.235, RCW 42.17A.240, RCW 42.17A.445

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