It’s time to fix Washington’s flawed public disclosure rules

One hundred eighty-five candidates just filed to run for public office in Spokane County, many were in  violation of the Public Disclosure Commission rules .

“If everybody’s violating the law, there’s something wrong with the law, there’s not something wrong with everybody,” said conservative political activist Glen Morgan. He was in Spokane for a segment of “Meeting of the Minds” with local liberal activist Bart Haggin, at Morgan and Haggin agreed on the need to improve transparency, smooth out the barriers to participation and push more information out to the public.

Morgan’s interest started in October of last year after PDC issues in Thurston County challenged him to dig deeper. He has since filed over 100 citizen complaints to highlight problems, hoping to build momentum for reform.

Twelve of those complaints have resulted in Attorney General Bob Ferguson filing suit against groups or individuals for significant campaign finance violations. The case filed against the Spokane County Democrats is one of the largest.

The attorney general’s office news release “asserts SCDCC failed to timely file at least $110,554 in expenditures and $104,190 in contributions.” Some reports are more than 500 days late. And the attorney general is still digging.

Ferguson has created a special unit within his office dedicated to PDC compliance. After a two-year investigation by Ferguson’s staff, another suit with the potential of $453,852.60 in penalties, plus costs and fees was filed recently against two amateurs in Grant County. They spent $3,872 to print an anonymous mailer in opposition to one of the candidates in the 2014 county prosecutor’s race. How do you deserve over $450,000 in penalties from not reporting $4,000 spent on a flyer?  READMORE at the Spokesman Review

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