Keep Washington Rolling: Alleged violations of RCW 42.17A.320 for failure to disclose top contributors in sponsor identification, and RCW 42.17A.240 for failure to accurately and completely disclose expenditure details (EY 19; Oct 19)

Case

#59150

Respondent

Keep Washington Rolling

Complainant

Glen Morgan

Description

The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) has completed its review of the complaint filed on October 24, 2019 and the four supplemental complaints received shortly after. The complaints alleged that Keep Washington Rolling, a political committee opposing a statewide ballot measure in the November 5, 2019 general election, may have violated: (1) RCW 42.17A.320 for failure to disclose top five donors on political advertisement sponsored by the Committee; and (2) RCW 42.17A.235, RCW 42.17A.240 & WAC 390-16-037 for failure to timely and accurately describe expenditures on Summary Full Campaign Contribution and Expenditure reports (C-4 reports) for election year 2019.

PDC staff reviewed the allegations; the applicable statutes, rules, and reporting requirements; the response provided by Philip Lloyd, Treasurer for Keep Washington Rolling; the applicable PDC reports filed by Respondent; and queried the Respondent’s data in the PDC contribution and expenditure database, to determine whether the record supports a finding of one or more violations.

It appears that the omission of sponsor identification, including the top five contributors, on at least five separate pieces of political advertisement sponsored by Keep Washington Rolling, was unintentional and not purposely omitted to mislead the public. The identity of the top five contributors was available to the public on the committee’s Monetary Contribution reports (C-3 reports) submitted prior to the advertisements being presented to the public. In addition, the committee has included appropriate expenditure details on C-4 reports.

Although Keep Washington Rolling has no previous violations of RCW 42.17A, the committee has been in existence for several campaign cycles, currently employs a professional treasurer and is aware of the sponsor identification requirements for political advertisement it sponsors.

Based on our findings staff has determined that, in this instance, failure to include the top five contributors on these advertisements does not amount to a finding of a violation that warrants further investigation.

Pursuant to WAC 390-37-060(1)(d), however, Keep Washington Rolling received a formal written warning concerning failure to include complete sponsor identification, specifically the top five contributors required by statute, on political advertisement it sponsored. The formal written warning will included staff’s expectation that the committee includes complete sponsor identification on all political advertisement it sponsors in the future. The Commission will consider the formal written warning in deciding on further Commission action if there are future violations of PDC laws or rules.

Based on this information, the PDC finds that no further action is warranted and has dismissed this matter in accordance with RCW 42.17A.755(1).

Disposition

Case Closed with Written Warning

Date Opened

October 24, 2019

Areas of Law

RCW 42.17A.240, RCW 42.17A.320, WAC 390-16-037, wac 390-16-205

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