OLYMPIA —The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced that it has filed two separate complaints in Thurston County Superior Court, one against state Senator Sam Hunt, and another against the Thurston County Democratic Central Committee. Attorney General Bob Ferguson recused himself from any involvement in these matters. The complaints allege deficient campaign finance filings.
In October and December of 2016, the AGO received two Citizen Action Notices alleging multiple violations of the state’s public disclosure laws by Hunt during his 2016 campaign.
A review by AGO staff determined that Hunt and his committee, Sam Hunt for State Senate, failed to timely report a total of $9,752.75 in orders placed/debts incurred for campaign mailings ahead of the 2016 primary and general elections. Staff also determined that the Hunt campaign failed to disclose the value of a mailing list obtained from the Washington State Democratic Party. Further review indicated that Hunt's campaign failed to timely disclose $419.31 on three separate reports for a total of 80 days late.
In January and February 2017, the AGO received two Citizen Action Notices alleging multiple violations of the state’s campaign disclosure laws by the Thurston County Democratic Central Committee for conduct during the 2016 election.
A review by AGO staff determined that the county party failed to timely disclose a $1,250 in-kind contribution, over $21,000 in expenditures, and $4,827 in debts incurred.
The state seeks penalties and injunctive relief. The defendants will have 20 days from the date they are served to respond to the state’s complaints.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton and Assistant Attorney General Walter Smith are handling the cases.
When the Attorney General’s Office receives a Citizen Action Notice, it has 45 days to investigate and respond to the citizen. If the Attorney General’s Office or local prosecutor does not start litigation, the individual may sue in the name of the state. If litigation is successful, any penalties awarded would go to the state, and the individual’s attorney could recover attorney fees and costs.
The Attorney General’s Office enforces the state’s campaign finance disclosure law to ensure free, open and fair elections in Washington state. Since becoming Attorney General, Attorney General Ferguson has devoted more agency resources to campaign finance casework.
The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the state of Washington with attorneys and staff in 27 divisions across the state providing legal services to roughly 200 state agencies, boards and commissions. Visit www.atg.wa.gov to learn more.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov