OLYMPIA — The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) filed a complaint in Thurston County Superior Court yesterday alleging campaign finance violations by the San Juan County Democrats (SJCD). Specifically, the AGO asserts the committee failed to timely report a total of $30,290 in expenditures, $15,514 in debt, and $15,060 in contributions throughout 2016.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson recused himself from any involvement in the matter.
The AGO received a Citizen Action Notice alleging multiple violations of the state’s public disclosure laws in April 2017.
After receiving the notice, AGO staff determined SJCD failed to timely file numerous reports of contributions received and expenditures made during election year 2016.
Among other reporting deficiencies, SJCD:
- Failed to timely disclose $30,290 in expenditures on 12 separate reports, ranging from three to 165 days late. The committee filed every such report for 2016 late.
- Failed to timely disclose $15,060 in contributions on 35 separate reports, ranging from three to 126 days late.
- Failed to timely report $15,514 in debts and obligations incurred on four reports, ranging from 41 to 135 days late. The committee acknowledged its failure to timely report these debts and began filing amended reports May 9, 2017.
The state seeks penalties and injunctive relief. The defendant has 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 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. 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.
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