Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna today issued the following statement on the 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 and who did not give prior permission for those fees to be used for political purposes. In today's 6-3 decision, 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 their fees for the union's political contributions and expenditures to influence an election or to operate a political committee.

“We are disappointed in the outcome of this case. When individuals are compelled to pay fees to a union, the union should be required to obtain prior permission before spending that money for the union’s political purposes,” McKenna said. “We are reviewing our options and, in consultation with our client, the Public Disclosure Commission, we will make a decision on our course of action in the coming weeks.”


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