To pay $16K, including costs and fees, after suspension of portion of penalty
OLYMPIA — In an action brought by the Attorney General’s Office, the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) will pay the state $16,622 over the organization’s failure to timely and properly file lobbyist employer reports of in-kind and cash contributions, as required under the state’s campaign finance laws.
WSLC is the state federation of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), with about 400,000 Washington union members.
The group agreed to a civil penalty of $18,500, with half suspended for four years as long as there are no further violations of the law; $5,240 in attorney fees and court costs; and $2,132 in investigation costs to the Public Disclosure Commission.
The Attorney General’s Office received a Citizen Action Complaint Nov. 4, 2015 from the Freedom Foundation against WSLC alleging multiple violations of the state’s public disclosure laws. The matter was referred to the Public Disclosure Commission Nov. 19, 2015, which opened a formal investigation.
The state Public Disclosure Commission reviewed the allegations, and determined that WSLC had not violated state law on the majority of the allegations. However, the Commission reported that WSLC appeared to have violated the requirement to report in-kind and cash contributions it made to state political committees, including its affiliated committees, on its lobbyist employer reports. The committees receiving the WSLC contributions properly reported them in accordance with campaign finance law. The commission recommended action by the Attorney General’s Office to address WSLC’s reporting failures.
On January 29, 2016, the AGO filed a complaint alleging that WSLC failed to timely file lobbyist employer reports of cash contributions as well as in-kind contributions — including staff time, office space, postal and internet services, and telephones — made to its two political committees and other registered political committees in Washington.
The Attorney General’s Office enforces the state’s campaign finance disclosure law to ensure free, open, and fair elections in Washington state.
Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton and Assistant Attorney General Chad Standifer led the case for the state.
Since becoming Attorney General, Attorney General Ferguson has devoted more agency resources and a full-time attorney position 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