Tag Archives: Public Disclosure Commission

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

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

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.

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Garrido’s campaign email/phone went to county office

Now that candidate filing is complete, assuming they waited, operatives for political campaigns are on duty looking for campaign violations committed by opponents. Each election cycle we get word of them and check them out. In the past we’ve had complaints about a firefighter using his gear in campaign ads, questions about requests for information that should be publicly available, a complaint about incumbent legislators wearing their official legislative name tags and too many complaints about sign vandalism to count.

This next one, a problem that has been fixed, is one we found.

On Charlotte Garrido’s website for her re-election campaign to county commissioner, her contact page had a phone number and email address that took, until sometime Monday afternoon, someone back to county offices. We made a call to Garrido this morning and will post her comment on the matter as soon as we get it.

UPDATE: Ray Garrido, Charlotte’s husband, left a comment below on how this happened. It deserves placement in the main body, so I’ll also paste it here:

“I’m the person who put the phone number and email address on Charlotte’s contact page. I thought it would give people a way of contacting her about county issues, which is what the text of the page says. It was my mistake. I should have read the rules closer and I changed it as soon as I found out it was inappropriate.” — Ray Garrido

I also just spoke with Charlotte, and she wanted to be clear that this was not intentional, that she wants to be “absolutely, totally legal.” When she was contacted by the PDC, she called her husband and the number was changed. She was also disappointed we didn’t call her before calling the PDC. I did call the PDC first, because I wanted to make sure it was an actual infraction. It seemed like a clear-cut case, but no sense stirring things up if it wasn’t. Once I knew it was, I called the phone number on the website and waited a few hours before posting.

We also called the Public Disclosure Commission. “Yeah, this is bad,” said Lori Anderson, PDC spokeswoman. “We’ll contact her and tell her to take it off of there.”

The phone number went to Laura Melrose, Garrido’s assistant in the county offices. We spoke with Melrose and she seemed surprised to learn her number was linked on the campaign site. This suggests that not many, if any, people have taken up the offer to contact her from the campaign site. The email went directly to Garrido’s county email address and puts nothing in the subject line.

Both items were fixed sometime Monday.

By “bad,” Anderson means it was a violation of state campaign laws. RCW 42.17A.555 states:

“No elective official nor any employee of his or her office nor any person appointed to or employed by any public office or agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a public office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion of or opposition to any ballot proposition. Facilities of a public office or agency include, but are not limited to, use of stationery, postage, machines, and equipment, use of employees of the office or agency during working hours, vehicles, office space, publications of the office or agency, and clientele lists of persons served by the office or agency.”

Most times these violations can be written off as small mistakes and I don’t suspect Garrido will be penalized for this incident.

But the rules are there for a reason. On this one the perception is taxpayers are paying for a campaign. If Melrose had spent any time at all answering a phone call that was campaign related, that’s taxpayer money paying for Melrose’s time. That’s not supposed to happen. Because someone noticed, it won’t anymore, if it ever did.

And just in case you want proof the site referred people to county contacts, click on the pictures. One is what was on the site. The other was the email address I saw when I clicked on the link.