Amalgamated Transit Union Legislative Council of Washington: Alleged violation of RCW 42.17A.205 for failure to timely & accurately register as a political committee. (Dec 18)




Amalgamated Transit Union Legislative Council of Washington


Freedom Foundation (Maxford Nelsen)


A complaint was filed against the Amalgamated Transit Union Legislative Council of Washington State (ATULC) alleging possible violations of: (1) RCW 42.17A.205 by failing to register as a political committee by completing a Committee Registration (C-1pc report) disclosing committee information; and (2) RCW 42.17A.235 and .240 by failing to timely file Monetary Contributions reports (C-3 reports) and Summary Full Campaign Contribution and Expenditure reports (C-4 reports) as required for a political committee disclosing contribution and expenditure activities undertaken during calendar years 2014 through 2018.

ATULC has been registered with the PDC as a Lobbyist Employer dating back to at least 1996, filing Annual Report of Lobbyist Employers (L-3 reports) and the Monthly Lobbyist Employer Contributions report (L-3c reports) reports disclosing expenditures made to hire a contract lobbyist to lobby, and contributions that were made to candidates and political committees.

Staff's investigation (See hyperlink for the Report of Investigation with Exhibits PDF below) focused on ATULC activities undertaken during CY 2016, that involved ATULC making a total of $101,443 in expenditures that included $35,451 in monetary contributions made to 2016 candidates for public office.  In the response, ATULC’s percentage of expenditures for contributions made to total contributions represented 35% for calendar year 2016, and PDC staff’s review of the L-3 report filed by the ATULC disclosed that Johnson Arledge Strategies, a contract lobbying firm, received a total of $25,200 in compensation to lobby during calendar year 2016.  The L-3 report for 2016 was required to have been filed the last day of February 2017 and was filed almost one year late on January 31, 2018. 

In addition, staff’s review found the L-3c reports filed by ATULC for calendar year 2016 were timely filed disclosing 41 monetary contributions totaling $34,500 except for one contribution disclosed one day late.

ATULC is a Lobbyist Employer registered and reporting with the PDC and one of its primary purposes is to support legislation through lobbying efforts, to which ATULC devotes significant resources and time on.  ATULC also spends resources for ATU local members and membership services, transportation and transit issues, and overhead, and ATULC’s stated goals and mission extend beyond making contributions to candidates for public office and political committees. 

PDC staff found no evidence of a material violation that would require conducting a more formal investigation into your complaint or pursuing enforcement action in this instance concerning ATULC being a political committee.  Based on our review of the facts, the majority of ATULC activities do not involve making contributions to candidates for public office, and do not appear to involve electoral political activity at all.  ATULC’s percentage of expenditures for monetary contributions to candidates and political committees was 35% in 2016, and 30% in 2018, respectively, however staff noted that 33 of the 41 contributions made in 2016, were made on two dates, June 3, 2016 (21 contributions), and September 16, 2016 (11 contributions).

PDC staff noted that more than 80% of the ATULC contributions made to candidates for public office in 2016, were made over the course of two days, whereas its lobbying and membership outreach and services were pretty much ongoing throughout the calendar year.  Although the ATULC made expenditures in support of candidates, the totality of the evidence does not suggest that ATULC is a political committee, because the making of those expenditures was not its primary purpose, or even one of its primary purposes.

On April 2, 2020, ATULC completed a Statement of Understanding (SOU) and paid a $150 civil penalty in accordance with WAC 390-37-143 (Brief Enforcement Penalty Schedule), acknowledging a violation of RCW 42.17A.630 for failing to timely file the Annual Report of Lobbyist Employers (L-3 reports) for calendar year 2016.  The $150 penalty assessed in this matter resolves the issue of the late filed L-3 report for 2016. 

Based on this information, PDC staff is dismissing this matter against the Amalgamated Transit Union Legislative Council of Washington State in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).  


Resolved through Statement of Understanding

Date Opened

December 13, 2018

Areas of Law

RCW 42.17A.205


Total penalties: $150

Balance Due: $0

ATU Leg Council of WA ST

$150 (Statement of Understanding)
$150 on 04/02/2020 (PAID)

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