Comes now, the three candidates challenging Prosecuting Attorney Russ Hauge to lead Kitsap County’s criminal and civil prosecutors, alleging those same lawyers are cooperating with Hauge and are breaking campaign finance laws.
The complaint to the state Public Disclosure Commission was received Wednesday and is signed by the campaign managers of the three primary challengers to Hauge.
The complaint alleges that the guild’s independent expenditure of $6,300 to buy a series of print and web ads in the Kitsap Sun was not truly independent.
Here’s how it works: Groups or people can buy ads promoting a candidate, such as the prosecuting attorney guild has done, and not have them considered “campaign contributions,” which are subject to individual limits. However, they may not coordinate or involve the candidate at all, nor may they duplicate campaign materials, said Lori Anderson, spokeswoman for the commission.
I noticed the Hauge ads probably at the same time as the three challengers, when I saw them in the Sun. I made a few calls. One to the commission, one to Chad Enright, the guild president, and one to Hauge. I was told by Hauge he wasn’t involved, and Enright said Hauge wasn’t involved, and they plucked the picture of Hauge from his campaign website.
Here is Hauge’s campaign website.
Here is the attachment from the complaint, as is, which outlines the alleged campaign finance violations committed by the guild.
What do you they think?
On July 24, 2014 an online advertisement began to appear on the Kitsap Sun website (see Figure 1 and Figure 2). The ad stated the following “Re-Elect Russ Hauge Kitsap County Prosecutor Democrat.” The ad claims that “No candidate authorized this ad” and states that the ad was paid for by The Kitsap Deputy Prosecuting Attorney’s Guild (the “Guild”). The ad contains a picture of Mr. Hauge that appears to be identical to the picture from Mr. Hauge’s official campaign website (www.reelectrusshauge.com) and the coloring, design and lettering for most of the ad appear to have been taken directly from the banner of Mr. Hauge’s campaign website (See Figure 3). When you click on the ad paid for by the Guild you are taken directly to Mr. Hauge’s campaign website home page (See Figure 3). The online ads paid for by the Guild continue to appear with great frequency on www.kitsapsun.com.
The Guild has placed at least two 1⁄4 page print ads in the Kitsap Sun newspaper on July 26 and 27. (See Figure 4). The print ads paid for by the Guild appear to have an identical banner (language, picture, art work, and color) to the banner used on Mr. Hauge’s official campaign website (www.reelectrusshauge.com). In addition, there is a very prominent endorsement quote in the Guild ads from Congressman Derek Kilmer. The language used in the quote appears to be identical to the language that is found in the same quote from Congressman Kilmer on Mr. Hauge’s official campaign website. (See Figure 5).
The Kitsap Deputy Prosecuting Attorney’s Guild filed a C6 form with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) on July 25, 2014. (See Figure 6). The Guild claimed to have spent $6,300 on “newspaper” with the Kitsap Sun in support of Russell Hauge for Kitsap County Prosecutor. The Guild checked the box claiming that this money would be spent for “Independent Expenditure Ads.” The president of the Guild, Chad Enright, signed the form under penalty of perjury. Mr. Enright swore that the expenditure listed in the form “was not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of, a candidate, a candidate’s authorized committee, or an agent of a candidate nor does it otherwise constitute a contribution under RCW 42.17A.005.”
The evidence contained in this complaint demonstrates that the advertisements purchased by the Guild as Independent Expenditure Ads are actually replications of campaign materials produced by the Committee to Re-Elect Russ Hauge Kitsap County Prosecutor. In addition, there is evidence that there was cooperation and coordination between the Guild, Mr. Hauge and the Committee to Elect Russ Hauge in the production of the Guild’s ads. Therefore, it appears that these expenditures are in violation of campaign finance laws.
There appears to be a close association between the Guild, Mr. Hauge and the Committee to Re-Elect Russ Hauge. All of the members of the Kitsap Deputy Prosecuting Attorney’s Guild are Mr. Hauge’s employees. A number of Guild members have been active in Mr. Hauge’s campaign. (See Figure 7). About 80% of Guild members have endorsed Mr. Hauge (See Figure 8) and about half of the Guild membership have made financial contributions to his campaign (based upon an examination of individual contributions made to the Committee to Re-Elect Russ Hauge on the PDC website and a comparison with the employment roster of the Kitsap County Prosecutor’s Office).
The president of the Guild is a Deputy Prosecutor named Chad Enright. Mr. Enright has been involved with Mr. Hauge’s campaign. (See Figures 7, 9, 10 and 11). Mr. Enright has also contributed $250 to Mr. Hauge’s campaign (See Figure 12) and endorsed him publicly (See Figure 8). Mr. Enright has been seen attending a number of Mr. Hauge’s campaign events including the 23rd District Democrats endorsementmeeting where Mr. Enright spoke publicly urging the 23rd District to endorse Mr. Hauge, the Bainbridge Island 4th of July Parade, the Bremerton Chamber of Commerce Eggs and Issues forum, the League of Women Voters forum and the Silverdale Whaling Days Parade.
Based upon the content of the Guild’s political advertisements and the close relationship between Mr. Hauge and the Guild and its President, Chad Enright, it appears that the Kitsap Sun advertisements purchased by the Guild were made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with, or at the request or suggestion of Mr. Hauge or his campaign committee. If true, this would mean that the expenditures must be classified as a contribution to the Committee to Re-Elect Russ Hauge (under RCW 42.17A.005(13)(a)(ii)) and would therefore violate campaign contribution limits of $950.
The second potential violation of state campaign finance laws comes from RCW 42.17A.005(13)(a)(iii). RCW 42.17A.005(13)(a)(iii) defines a contribution as “the financing by a person of the dissemination, distribution, or republication, in whole or in part, of broadcast, written, graphic, or other form of political advertising or electioneering communication prepared by a candidate, a political committee, or its authorized agent.”
The advertisements purchased by the Guild appear to use identical photographs, artwork, language and endorsements to the official campaign materials used by Mr. Hauge and his Committee to Re-Elect Russ Hauge. In addition, the online advertisements purchased by the Guild have a direct link to Mr. Hauge’s official campaign website: www.reelectrusshauge.com. Therefore, the $6,300 of advertising purchased by the Guild to support Mr. Hauge’s campaign should be classified as a contribution under both RCW 42.17A.005(13)(a)(ii) and RCW 42.17A.005(13)(a)(iii).
It is important to note that the Guild has already contributed the maximum amount allowable to Mr. Hauge’s campaign. On June 18, 2014, the Guild contributed $950 to Mr. Hauge’s campaign for the primary election. (See Figure 13). Therefore, any funds spent by the Guild on the advertisement used to promote Mr. Hauge’s campaign website should be found to be in excess of the PDC’s contribution limits. (See Figure 14).
This apparent unlawful campaign activity has irreparably harmed the campaigns of Mr. Hauge’s three challengers in the primary election: Bruce Danielson, Tina Robinson and Bob Scales, all of whom have adhered to the PDC campaign contribution limits. It should be noted that an expenditure of $6,300 for newspaper advertising is extremely high and will likely have a significant impact on the outcome of the primary election for Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney. By contrast, the other three campaigns for Kitsap County Prosecuting Attorney have raised a comparable amount of cash donations for their entire campaigns (Bob Scales $7,120, Tina Robinson $6,455, Bruce Danielson mini-reporting option).
The campaign committees for Bruce Danielson, Tina Robinson and Bob Scales are urging the PDC to put an immediate end to the apparent unlawful advertising paid for by the Kitsap Prosecuting Attorney’s Guild and the apparent unlawful contributions given to Russell Hauge and the Committee to Re-Elect Russ Hauge Kitsap County Prosecutor.