Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


OLYMPIA –The Attorney General’s Office today formally filed its request to the United State Supreme Court to review the Washington state Supreme Court’s decision in State ex rel. Public Disclosure Commission v. Washington Education Ass'n, et al.

The case concerned the right of the Washington Education Association to decide how to spend compulsory fees paid by educational employees who are not union members. In a 6-3 decision in March, the State Supreme Court struck down a 1992 state law enacted by voters as part of Initiative 134 on campaign finance reform, finding the law unconstitutional.

The law required labor organizations to obtain the affirmative authorization of non-members before the organization may spend the fees for the union's political purposes to influence an election or to operate a political committee.

Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission voted unanimously to recommend the appeal.

The state’s petition to the Supreme Court says the Washington State Supreme Court’s decision conflicts with three prior court cases which upheld statutes establishing “opt-in” procedures for nonmembers to make contributions that a union can use for political purposes.

A decision from the US Supreme Court on whether or not it will take the case is not expected until early October 2006.

– 30 –

Contact: Janelle Guthrie, AG Media Relations Director, (360) 586-0725