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UPDATED: State GOP says late Steyer donations to his own PAC illegal

October 23rd, 2013 by Steven Gardner

The state Republican Party is asking the Public Disclosure Commission to file an injunction against the NextGen Climate Action Committee sponsored by Thomas Steyer to prevent the committee from spending $3 million Steyer donated on Friday.

Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman, said within the final three weeks of an election the most a political committee can receive from a single source is $5,000, unless the committee is addressing a ballot initiative.

The committee will have the opportunity to address the complaint. “We will send the complaint to the committee that’s alleged to have received the contribution and they have to defend what they’ve done,” Anderson said.

State GOP Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison said in a statement, “Senator Nathan Schlicher needs to answer this question: will you repudiate this illegal spending by an outside donor or do you want the people of Pierce and Kitsap County to be represented by someone bought and paid for with illegal out of state money?”

“I would hope that everyone follows the PDC’s rules and that they don’t spend money on our campaign or any campaign in the state. I agree that everyone should follow PDC laws.” Schlicher said. “No one should participate in illegal spending.”

Schlicher said the WSRP’s release trying to link him to the donation is in line with other attacks, such as a mailer that went out suggesting that Schlicher is no longer a doctor and was practicing law again. “This is just another unfortunate attempt to exaggerate and mislead the public and I hope people see through this,” he said.

NextGen now reports $9.3 million in donations. The GOP is probably correct that $455,000 of it has gone to the Schlicher-Angel contest, (I found $400,000 and the party connected other dots and was probably correct.) far more NextGen money has gone to campaigns in other states. I don’t know that this is unprecedented, but it’s not something I’ve seen a lot, if at all. I’ve contacted NextGen’s rep in Sacramento for a response to the complaint and an explanation of the committee’s reported spending elsewhere. If I receive a return call I’ll report it here.

UPDATE: Angel just announced she’s having a press conference Thursday morning on this subject.

UPDATE II: NextGen responded:

NextGen Climate Action released the following statement today:

“Jan Angel is trying to distract from her positions that are harmful to the health of kids and families in Washington. Our lawyers spoke with the Public Disclosure Commission prior to making the contribution and they agreed that the 21 day rule does not apply to FEC registered committees. We are in full compliance with all Washington election laws.”

Matthew Lewis
spokesman

Lewis also confirmed that none of the money donated on the 18th will be spent in Washington. “We’re not concerned about the legal issues at all,” he said.

More as it develops.

Here is the WSRP press release:

BELLEVUE, WA – Today, the Washington State Republican Party (WSRP) filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Committee (attached to this release) for illegal contributions and urged that they file an immediate injunction to prevent Thomas Steyer’s committee from spending that money in Washington State. San Francisco Billionaire Tom Steyer dumped $3 million into the “NextGen Climate Action Committee” last Friday, October 18, 2013 blatantly and purposefully thwarting the state’s 21-day prohibition of contributions above $5,000.

WSRP Chair Susan Hutchison released the following statement:

“Senator Nathan Schlicher needs to answer this question: will you repudiate this illegal spending by an outside donor or do you want the people of Pierce and Kitsap County to be represented by someone bought and paid for with illegal out of state money? Which is it? Today I call upon the PDC to do their job and protect the integrity of our election process by filing an injunction to stop Tom Steyer from using his illegally contributed money to attempt to buy the election for Senator Schlicher.”

The WSRP calls on Nathan Schlicher to repudiate this illegal $3,000,000 contribution made by his largest financial supporter. Does Nathan Schlicher want a citizen of San Francisco to choose the next senator from the 26th district using illegal campaign funds?

Steyer’s committee has poured $250,000 into the She’s Changed PAC, which is spending more than $1 million against Jan Angel in the LD 26 special election in Port Orachard and Gig Harbor. In addition, Steyer’s committee has dropped $275,000 into the Washington Conservation Voters, which in turn has contributed $150,000 to She’s Changed PAC and $55,000 to the Kennedy Fund – the soft-dollar committee of the Senate Democrats which has dropped another $217,000 into She’s Changed PAC. All told, Steyer’s committee has funneled $455,000 into She’s Changed PAC and into attempting to buy this election for Senator Schlicher. Mr. Steyer is already the single biggest contributor to a legislative campaign in our state’s history, and it’s clear that he’s not through spending his Wall Street money on this race.

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