OLYMPIA — Service Employees International Union Local 925 (SEIU 925) will pay the state $31,715 after an Attorney General’s Office lawsuit over its improper reporting of in-kind and cash campaign contributions. The judgment includes costs, fees and civil penalties.
The union agreed to file its reports in accordance with state campaign finance law. If it does so, $6,948 of its $38,663 judgment will be suspended as long as it complies with campaign finance laws going forward.
The union’s political action committee, SEIU Local 925 Public Service PAC (SEIU 925 PAC), will also pay $6,000, with $1,500 of that suspended as long as it also updates its reports and complies with reporting requirements.
In August 2015, the Attorney General’s Office received a Citizen Action Complaint from the Freedom Foundation against SEIU 925 alleging multiple violations of the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws.
The matter was referred to the state Public Disclosure Commission, which opened a formal investigation. The commission reported that SEIU 925 had not violated state law on the majority of the allegations. However, the PDC determined SEIU 925 may have violated the requirement to report in-kind contributions of staff time to operate and manage its political action committee.
Following a review of the PDC’s information, the Attorney General’s found evidence that SEIU 925 and SEIU 925 PAC failed to properly file reports of both in-kind and cash contributions.
The office filed a complaint in October alleging that SEIU 925 failed to file reports of monetary contributions totaling $635,000 as well as in-kind contributions — including staff time, office space, postal and Web services, and telephones — made to SEIU 925 PAC from 2010 to 2015.
While SEIU 925 PAC reported receiving the monetary contributions, the PAC failed to properly file reports of any in-kind contributions received from SEIU 925.
This judgment brings the case to a close. The Attorney General’s Office is charged with enforcing 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