OLYMPIA — In an action brought by the Attorney General’s Office, Secretary of State Kim Wyman will pay the state $10,115 over her campaign’s failure to timely file contribution and expenditure disclosure reports and timely deposit contributions. Attorney General Bob Ferguson is recused and was screened from any involvement in the matter.
A Thurston County Superior Court judge today approved a $3,950 penalty against Wyman and her campaign, Citizens for Kim Wyman, with half suspended for four years if no further violations occur. Wyman will pay $8,140 in costs and fees.
On June 2, 2016, the Attorney General’s Office received a Citizen Action Complaint from Jaxon Ravens, Chair of the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, against Wyman and her campaign, alleging violations of the state’s public disclosure laws. The AGO referred the matter to the state Public Disclosure Commission on June 14, for possible investigation and a recommendation.
Following an investigation, PDC staff reported their findings to the commission that Wyman filed 11 reports for the campaign’s April 2016 activity 10 days late, disclosing $30,567 in additional contributions in May 2016. The campaign also filed an amended campaign summary report to include the late contribution disclosures, as well as $943 it had failed to account for in a previous report.
Before the AGO’s receipt of the Citizen Action Complaint, Wyman self-reported these 2016 errors to the PDC on May 22.
During the investigation, PDC staff also reviewed prior filings by the campaign between 2013 and 2016 and found other similar reports that had been filed 2 to 273 days late, and contribution deposits that were made between 2 and 49 days late.
On July 12, the commission returned the matter to the AGO with a recommendation that the Attorney General take appropriate action concerning Wyman’s reporting failures.
The AGO filed its complaint Oct. 4, 2016.
When the Attorney General’s Office receives a Citizen Action Complaint, it has 45 days to investigate and respond to the sender. If the office does not start litigation, the sender may sue in the name of the state. If litigation is successful, any penalties awarded would go to the state, and an attorney for the complainant could recover attorney fees and costs.
The head of the AGO’s Campaign Finance Unit, Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton, has performed campaign finance work since 2001 in the AGO, and handled the matter.
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