OLYMPIA —The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) filed a complaint in Thurston County Superior Court today alleging campaign finance violations by the Kittitas County Democrats. Specifically, the AGO asserts the committee failed to timely report a total of $18,639 in contributions and $16,277 in expenditures in 2012 and between 2014 and 2017.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson recused himself from any involvement in the matter.
In May, the AGO received a Citizen Action Notice alleging multiple violations of the state’s public disclosure laws by the Kittitas County Democrats.
After receiving the notice, AGO staff determined the Kittitas County Democrats failed to timely file numerous reports of contributions received and expenditures made during the years of 2012 and 2014-2017.
Among the reporting deficiencies, the Kittitas County Democrats:
- Failed to timely disclose $18,639 in contributions on 77 separate reports, ranging from one to 198 days late.
- Failed to timely disclose $16,277 in expenditures made and in-kind contributions received on 31 separate reports, ranging from one to 519 days late.
In May 2016, the Kittitas County Democrats were fined by the Public Disclosure Commission for failing to timely report contributions and expenditures for 2013. The commission imposed a $500 penalty with $400 suspended, so long as the committee did not violate campaign finance laws within four years.
The state seeks penalties and injunctive relief. The defendant will have 20 days from the date they are served to respond to the state’s complaint.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton is handling the case.
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 initiate litigation, the individual may sue in the name of the state. If litigation is successful, any penalties awarded go to the state, and the individual’s attorney can recover attorney fees and costs. If the citizen’s litigation is unsuccessful, the defendant may recover attorney fees from the state.
The Attorney General’s Office enforces the state’s campaign finance disclosure law to ensure free, open and fair elections in Washington state. A summary of campaign finance case resolutions is available here.
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.
Brionna Aho, Interim Communications Director, (360) 753-2727; email@example.com