BELLEVUE, WA (October 29) – The Washington State Republican Party issued the following statement today:
Democrat organizations have been flagrantly breaking the state’s campaign finance and public disclosure laws in their attempt to retake control of the State Senate. At least three groups engaged in express political advocacy and electioneering communications have refused to file disclosure documents or report their contributions to the Public Disclosure Commission. Another group has violated the state’s $5,000 limit on contributions within 21 days of an election.
“The law exists for a reason: to keep the public informed about who is influencing elections and why,” said Susan Hutchison, Chair of the Washington State Republican Party. “Voters are receiving deceptive, dishonest and illegal communications from these groups without any ability to discern the group’s agenda, contributors or veracity. The Public Disclosure Commission and Attorney General Bob Ferguson need to act immediately to uphold the integrity of our elections and campaign finance and disclosure laws.”
Washington State has some of the most stringent campaign finance and disclosure laws in the country. The law clearly states, “the public’s right to know of the financing of political campaigns … far outweighs any right that these matters remain secret and private.”
“Democrats are swinging wildly to change their poor primary numbers without concern for our state’s campaign finance and disclosure laws,” said Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler. “We intend to pursue legal action against these groups and the individuals responsible to the fullest extent of the law.”
Here are the specific violations that have occurred:
• “American Values First” has illegally spent more than $27,000 in the 35th Legislative District against Tim Sheldon with false and deceptive attacks without registering as a political committee or disclosing its donors. AVF is a front group for the national Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee that has separately spent more than $255,000 in the 2013-2014 election cycle in Washington state.
• “Working America” has illegally spent untold sums of money with doorbellers engaged in express political advocacy for the election and defeat of candidates since August in the 28th, 30th and 45th Legislative Districts without registering as a political committee or disclosing their donors. We estimate they have spent more than $100,000 on staff, technology and collateral.
• “Organizing for Washington” has received $100,000 from “NextGen Climate Action Committee Sponsored by Tom Steyer – Washington,” yet has filed no reports with the Public Disclosure Commission. Organizing for Washington is paying people to go door-to-door to engage in express political advocacy for the election and defeat of candidates. This violates Washington State election law.
• “Sensible Leadership for Whatcom County” contributed $99,984 to Washington Conservation Voters within the state’s 21 day limit that prevents contributions over $5,000. This is a violation of election law.
The Washington State Republican Party and private citizens have filed formal complaints with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission on these violations.
Democrats Matt Isenhower, Tami Green, Shari Song and Irene Bowling have all benefitted from the illegal activity but have refused to ask these organizations to comply with the law or cease their operations.