Multiple violations, no reports filed for nine months, some more than a year late
OLYMPIA —The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) today filed a complaint in Thurston County Superior Court today alleging campaign finance violations by the Spokane County Democratic Central Committee (SCDCC). The AGO complaint also names SCDCC executive director and former chair Jim CastroLang and former treasurer Justin Galloway as defendants. The AGO complaint asserts SCDCC failed to timely file at least $110,554 in expenditures and $104,190 in contributions.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson recused himself from any involvement in the matter.
SCDCC filed at least 180 disclosure reports to the state Public Disclosure Commission between one and 440 days late. Some contributions and expenditures have yet to appear on any reports, and are now more than 500 days late.
For the first nine months of 2016, Galloway failed to file any expenditure reports. All of these violations inhibited the public’s right to know who is contributing to Washington political committees.
In March 2017, the AGO received a Citizen Action Notice alleging multiple violations of the state’s public disclosure laws.
After receiving the notice, AGO staff began investigating and found multiple violations. Staff filed today’s lawsuit is primarily based on 2015 and 2016 reporting, but continues to evaluate reporting going back additional years.
Among other violations, the lawsuit alleges:
- Failure to timely file contribution reports
- One of many examples: SCDCC reported a $5,000 contribution from the Spokane Firefighters Union Political Action Committee 47 days late, and a $2,000 contribution has never been reported. That report is currently more than 500 days late.
- Failure to timely file summary reports
- In 2016, SCDCC filed at least 13 reports between two and 430 days late. More than half the late-reported activity was disclosed more than 100 days late.
- For example: SCDCC failed to timely report any salary payments to CastroLang between September 2015 to March 21, 2017. SCDCC reported $25,527 in salary payments between four and 434 days late. SCDCC has yet to report four salary payments to CastroLang totaling $3,663, which are currently about 500 days late.
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 complaint.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton and Assistant Attorney General Walter Smith are 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.
Peter Lavallee, Communications Director, (360) 586-0725; PeterL@atg.wa.gov