Trans Radical Witch of Olympia leads Democratic Party – just Awesome

At Tuesday’s Olympia City Council meeting, in Washington State, the new Thurston County Democratic Party Chair, Gordon “Boudicca” Walsh introduced himself as a “Trans Radical Witch of Olympia” and as the new chair of the Thurston County Democrats.  Boudicca’s  main goal during his public comment was to threaten various members of the Olympia City Council with removing the endorsement of the Thurston County Democrats (and presumably campaign services, etc) if they voted for a proposed ordinance that would make disrupting a city council meeting a misdemeanor.  

Gordon (Boudicca) Walsh is the new Thurston County Democratic Party Chair

Boudicca Walsh pointed out that all the members of the council were self-identified as Democrats (which is true) even though their positions were “non-partisan” and this discussion about party affiliation caused Olympia Mayor Selby to interrupt the self-identified trans radical witch with a point of order for legal counsel (If there is a revolution in this country, like Shakespeare warned (Henry VI, Part2, Act IV, Scene2), the lawyers will be killed first). However, after legal counsel mumbled that Walsh could proceed with his public comment, the new chair of the Thurston County Democrats proceeded to deliver his ultimatum to the Olympia City Council with appropriate gusto and sufficient cheers from his supporters in the audience.

It is moments like these that make the Olympia City Council meetings worth attending, and I regret not being there to witness this in person.  The video linked below is the best I can do.

This Trans radical witch of Olympia has many messages to share (source: Facebook)

First of all, I’d like to say that I agree with Boudicca Walsh, the trans radical witch of Olympia, this proposed ordinance is stupid.  Everyone who attends a public meeting of the Olympia City Council should be able to interrupt the council as they get bored or annoyed without fear of a jail sentence or fine.  In fact, a nice, loud interruption to the agenda of the Olympia City Council should be a civic duty if not a requirement before graduation from the nearby Evergreen State College.  These interruptions, which should be frequent, help keep the audience awake and the council on their toes.  It also feels like this would be a retro flashback to our roots as a nation, long before the idea of a three minute limit on public comment was concocted.  What could possibly be more civic oriented than a little public rebellion and civic interruption of the Olympia City Council?

Boudicca Walsh is wrong here. Walsh’s life will profit the Thurston County Democratic Party with strong, unique leadership (Source: Facebook)

I am overjoyed that the Thurston County Democrats have finally elected a chair with the willingness to speak truth to power and confront these elected officials, even if they self-identify as Democrats.  Boudicca Walsh is the perfect leader for the Thurston County Democrats, and I am sure the local party will thrive under the leadership and direction that only a trans radical witch of Olympia could provide.  

I am also eager to see the new energy that will be injected in Thurston County Democratic Party politics with a trans radical witch in charge.  This is just going to be awesome.  It makes me want to attend Thurston County Democratic Party Central Committee meetings now.

The politics of Thurston County has never looked more interesting than it does today.  

Thank you, Boudicca.

Witches just aren’t what they used to be…

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OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Background articles:

The Olympian (video):  Chair of Thurston County Democrats threatens to withdraw support

The Olympian – June 1 – Thurston County Democratic Chairwoman Resigns

Thurston County Democratic Party sued by AG for campaign finance violations

How Democrats ripped off “Ramtha” and wasted donor money

Thurston Democrats plateau at peak paranoia

Former Chief of Staff Jay Manning busted by Attorney General for hiding financial documents

Democrat Party official threatens to kill me

How did the Democrats lose Thurston County?

Democrat Party now openly disavows violence

SPLC – Ramtha Riled article

NPR – Ramtha Channeler JZ Knight channels $54,000 into Olympia elections

Ramtha, New Age Cult Leader, Unleashes drunken, racist, homophobic rants to large following

ShiftWA – Will County Commissioner Candidates Return Racist Ramtha $?

Western Free Press – C’mon JZ Knight, how many accents does Ramtha have?

Seattle Times – State Democratic Party will donate money from JZ Knight after offensive comments

Ancient Warrior Spirit endorses Democrats

Seattle Times – Democrats again under fire over JZ Knight donations

NPR – Washington Democrats reverse course, shed JZ Knight contributions

Seattle PI – Democrats do penance for JZ Knight donations

Will County Commissioner Candidates return racist Ramtha $$?

JZ Knight Tirade Videos Submitted to Politicians she supports

The Olympian – Romero to give away JZ Knight Campaign Cash

Thurston County Dems Accept Money from JZ Knight Again

Anti-Semitic Cult Leader who channels ancient Lemurian warrior is “Democrat in Good Standing”

Thurston County goes Independent, first time in state history

The Olympian – “Everybody is in violation of the PDC” says activist as the Attorney General files complaints

 

The Chaos of Campaign Finance Compliance and the Disarray of the Dems

This is Part I in a series…

Compliance with the law can be challenging sometimes.  For many Democratic Party political committees in Washington State, this fact has recently been proven true.  While this author’s efforts to expose the truth about the campaign finance laws have been criticized by some traditional media, and praised by others (see here,  here, and here) there has been no overview of the difficulties faced by Democrats struggling with campaign finance compliance.

A worthy goal that will never be achieved…

This author will not defend the campaign finance laws as they exist today.  I am on record indicating that some long needed reform is in order, but along the road to reform, it appears that widespread lawbreaking is the default posture today for many politicians and political committees.  Some of these cases are worth reviewing.

First, blame the Republicans for everything

Just like the Democrats struggling to comply with Washington State’s campaign finance laws, I blame the Republicans for the current woes of local Democrats.  As I’ve written about before, our state’s campaign finance laws were enacted in 1972 as the result of a citizen initiative.  Part of this initiative created the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) which was later codified into statute by the legislature.

An underlying assumption of the campaign finance laws was the belief that political contests would involve at least two parties attempting to compete for the same position or issue.  Built into this assumption was the complaint driven process created by statute and rule where each side of the political fight would file complaints against the other when someone strayed from the path of compliance.  Nobody wants to get caught violating the rules.  This, in theory, creates substantial incentive for honesty and following these rules.  However, nobody envisioned a scenario where one side just stops playing.

For some reason, over the last decade or two, most of the local Republican parties or organizations stopped filing complaints against their opposition.  With a few notable local exceptions like Whatcom County and the Tri-cities, the Republicans generally didn’t file PDC complaints against Democrats.  In fact, over the past 18 years or so, Democrats represented more than 80% of all PDC complaints filed (including intramural complaints between factions of Democrats).  The downside to this trend begins subtly.  When Democratic committees or candidates broke the law, no complaints were filed.  There became no consequences for law breaking.  Human nature, being true to eternal form, led to more widespread lawbreaking by the Democrats, abetted by apathy from the Republicans.

I interviewed many Republican activists, treasurers, and others around the state.  They reported their perception that the PDC was politically biased and after experiencing complaints filed against themselves, they claimed discouragement.  They tried to comply themselves, and ignored their political competition.    Whether bias exists or not, the result of this widespread belief was extensive lawbreaking by Democratic committees and candidates around Washington State.  Without consequences, the breadth and scope of these violations became more dramatic.

In all fairness to the Democrats featured in this article and future articles, while nobody forced them to violate the law, they certainly have a reason to blame the Republicans for the Democrat’s current legal woes.  Had those darn Republicans been filing regular complaints against Democrats over the years, it is likely the Democrats wouldn’t have strayed so far from the law.

Jim CastroLang was the former chair and paid executive director for the Spokane County Democrats

Spokane Dems – Habitual dysfunction and egregious violations  

The Spokane County Democrats were sued by the Washington State Attorney General (AG) on May 11th in Thurston County Superior Court.  They had already gained media attention after the complaints were filed originally.  This case is probably the worst example in Washington State of a local political committee egregiously and maliciously violating the campaign finance laws in recent memory.  In addition to suing the local county party, the AG also individually sued the previous County Chair Jim Castrolang and former Treasurer Justin Galloway individually.  

The AG extended their investigation well past the violations this author identified in the original complaint.  As the AG’s press release summarizes – the Spokane County Democrats failed to timely file at least $110,554 in expenditures and $104,190 in contributions over several years.  Even when they finally got around to reporting this information, they purposefully hid over limit donations

Spokane County Democratic Chair Andrew Biviano has a tough job, but he may not take campaign finance laws very seriously

from local tribes and unions.  They also hid the payroll costs of their executive director and former chair Jim Castrolang. Despite the complaint and investigation, they are still failing to comply with the statute.  In a particularly odd recent development, the Spokane County Democrats are not reporting their attorney fees, among other continuing violations.  There is some irony in this because their attorney, Michael Connelly, is the former chair of the PDC and was on the PDC board for five years.  

Biviano’s new Facebook Profile Pic right after AG informs him he is being investigated, but it didn’t prevent the lawsuit. The jury is still out as to whether this will impact the final judgment and fine.

Spokane County Chair Andrew Biviano was not responsible for the majority of these major violations, although his failure to ensure the Spokane County Democrats comply with the statute since February is under his leadership and direction.  This is particularly true because Biviano has a history of filing his own complaints with the PDC and makes regular podcasts ranting about Republicans.  If a major lawsuit by the AG (even after Andrew included Attorney General Bob Ferguson in Andrew’s Facebook Profile picture), isn’t significant enough to convince him to pay attention to the law, what possibly could?  Many political committees around the state are watching the results of this case to see just how much trouble a local committee will experience if a committee just completely ignores compliance with campaign finance laws.

Thurston County Democrats struggle with PDC compliance and leadership churn.

Former Thurston County Democratic Party Chair Katie Nelson had a tough job losing the Thurston County Commission, renouncing violence after a PCO threatened to kill this author, and leading the local party into a variety of campaign finance lawsuits.

The Thurston County Democrats were the first political committee sued by the AG based on this author’s complaints.  The AG filed suit on March 6, 2017, and this case is still in court.  The dollar figures are far smaller than the Spokane County case, but the violations are clear.   According to the AG’s press release, they determined that the Thurston County Democrats failed to timely disclose a $1,250 in-kind contribution, over $21,000 in expenditures, and $4,827 in debts incurred.  

Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse – they were the only Democrat choices for Thurston County Democrats, and they both were sued by the Attorney General for violating campaign finance laws.

The Thurston County Democrats had a particularly tough 2016 election cycle.  Not only were they sued by the AG, so were both Democratic candidates for the Thurston County Commission.  Olympia City Councilman Jim Cooper lost his race for the county commission seat, and is currently in court with the AG filing cross motions and arguing over how many violations of the campaign finance laws he actually committed.  Failed candidate Kelsey Hulse was also sued by the AG for her violations, but wisely settled her case for a $2,920 settlement in mid-February.  Successful candidate for state Senate in the 22nd Legislative District (Olympia) Sam Hunt was also sued by the AG and remains in court at this time.  Senator Hunt inspired this author to get involved in the campaign finance reforms late last year.  Additionally, the JZ Knight/Ramtha cult-funded local SuperPAC (People for Thurston PAC), managed by former Director of Ecology Jay Manning is also in court over their campaign finance fiasco.  Jay Manning also experience a personal campaign finance lawsuit from the AG in February when he was forced to pay $6,385 for violating the campaign finance laws with is personal financial disclosure documents.

Gordon (Boudicca) Walsh is the new Thurston County Democratic Party Chair (photo source: Facebook)

In an earlier monthly meeting, former Thurston County Chair Katie Nelson complained extensively about this author and how I caused her to lose sleep.  Apparently, the sleeplessness convinced her to resign her position with the party, and last month a new chair was elected.  Gordon (Boudicca) Walsh, a Democrat Precinct Committee Officer from the Olympia 38 precinct was elected 2 to 1 over aspiring chair Rhenda Strub.  Strub was formerly on the Olympia City Council, and she also was a candidate for the state legislature.  Interestingly enough, State Representative Dolan (who prevailed over Strub and others to be elected as the new Representative for the 22nd District in Olympia) spoke in favor of Strub at the meeting, but the PCOs overwhelmingly chose Gordon (Boudicca) Walsh.  

An interesting opportunity exists for the Thurston County Democrats with the election of Walsh as their new chair.  For years, the Democrats have complained about the archaic law that requires local parties elect a man and woman for the top two positions of the local party (RCW 29A.80.30 – “At its organization meeting, the county central committee shall elect a chair and vice chair of opposite sexes.”).  Since the vice chair identifies himself as a male, and Walsh was a male, but now identifies himself (herself) as a woman, perhaps there is a chance for some enterprising LGBTQ activist to challenge the statute and get an official ruling by the court as to whether gender identities really mean anything anymore.  At the least, it could be a cool fundraiser opportunity for the Thurston County Democrats, and it would possibly launch the local party away from the failures of the recent past into a more colorful and interesting future.  While the Thurston County Democrats struggle to comply with the campaign finance laws, at least they are staying on the cutting edge of cultural and societal evolution.

King County Dems – PDC bomb scare, and a general disregard for the law

Bailey Stober was well aware of the many problems the King County Democrats had with campaign finance law compliance. Cleaning this up was part of his platform.

As the recently elected chair of the King County Democrats, Bailey Stober knew he was stepping in to clean up a real mess.  Part of his campaign platform was to fix the failure of the King County Democrats to comply with the campaign finance laws.  Previous to Bailey’s election, the former treasurer made PDC lore by quitting the position, driving to Olympia and depositing the cash box, computer, and other files in front of the door at the PDC.  In the morning, seeing a strange package at their door, staff contacted Olympia Police to verify it wasn’t a bomb.  This drama is what ultimately led to the current legal woes the King County Party is experiencing with the AG lawsuit filed against them on May 12, 2017.

Bailey Stober – King County Democratic Party Chair

By dollar volume, this is a large case against a local county party chapter, second only to the Spokane County Democrats case in scope and significance at this time.  Among other violations, the King County Dems failed to file a total of $65,442 in expenditures and $74,261 in contributions during the 2016 election cycle alone.  Chair Stober is also in a bit of hot water with the AG for his own history of campaign finance violations, and is also dealing with the AG’s office on some legal matters related to an investigation into his own campaign finance challenges as a public employee at the King County Assessor’s office and during his previous campaigns for local office.  Stober has been fined by the PDC for previous violations, and Stober has filed at least two different complaints with the PDC against others.  This one he filed against a Republican representative – spending the first paragraph complaining about my complaints against other lawbreakers.  

Although this author filed all the Citizen Action Notices related to Stober and the King County Democrats, I believe Stober is a good choice for chair of the King County Democrats and they are fortunate to have him lead their largest county party committee.  He is only 25 years old, but when this whole process is finished, the fines paid, and all the lawsuits are settled, he will be a genuine PDC compliance veteran.  His ability to weather this storm will demonstrate true leadership for a local party that desperately needs it.  He also appears to be the original author (or co-author) of this helpful primer to local candidates and committees on how to survive complaints filed by this author.  While some of the details are not accurate, there are some good suggestions found here.  It is more practical help for local Democrats than anything the State Democratic Party has offered recently.  Finally, despite the chaos, confusion, and challenges presented by the thankless task of being King County party chair (imagine herding cats which attack each other and blame you frequently), Stober happily soldiers on, which is a respectable character trait I admire in others. 

Not everyone has this attitude…

 

To be continued in Part II…

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OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Background articles, links and source documents:

The Rough Road Ahead:  Campaign Finance Reform in Washington State

Democrat created helpful primer on how to survive complaints filed by Glen Morgan

Washington State Attorney General Press Releases:

July 14, 2017 – AGO files campaign finance complaint against Kittitas County Democrats

June 29, 2017 – AGO files campaign finance complaint against San Juan County Democrats

June 23, 2017 – AG’s Office demands documents be disclosed in campaign finance case (Bailey Stober, King County Democratic Party Chair)

June 19, 2017 – AG files campaign finance complaint against Eastside Democratic Dinner Committee

May 12, 2017 – AGO Files Campaign finance complaint against King County Democratic Central Committee

May 12, 2017 – AGO Files Campaign finance complaint against Spokane County Democratic Central Committee, Two Committee Officers

April 10, 2017 – AGO files Campaign Finance Complaints Against State Lawmakers, Former Candidate

March 14, 2017 – Chopp to pay $6469 over Campaign Finance Allegations

March 14, 2017 – AG files Campaign Finance Complaints against Senator Hunt and Thurston County Democrats

February 13, 2017 – EWU Trustee (Jay Manning), Audubon Washington to pay penalties, costs in separate campaign finance cases

December 19, 2016 – AG Files Campaign Finance Complaint against 19th District House Candidate (Theresa Purcell)

December 19, 2016 – AG files Campaign Finance Complaints against Budget and Policy Center, Thurston County Candidate (Jim Cooper)

Articles about Spokane County Democrats:

Spokesman Review – May 26, 2017 – “Sue Lani Madson:  It’s time to fix Washington’s flawed public disclosure rules” (opinion op-ed written after Sue Lani Madson interviewed Glen)

Spokane Talks Online – Meeting of Minds – May 24, 2017 (in-studio online streaming interview with Sue Lani Madson (Spokesman Review), Bart Hanson (Spokane Democrats) and Glen – discussing the PDC complaint against the Spokane County Democrats, and various campaign finance rules)

Inlander – May 12, 2017 – “AG lawsuit says Spokane County Dems’ financial reporting problems have lasted years, continue to this day” (good, detailed story about AG lawsuit filed based on Glen’s complaint)

Spokesman Review – May 12, 2017 – “Washington takes Spokane Democrats to court charging campaign reporting violations” (story about AG filing lawsuit based on Glen’s complaint)

Redoubt News – May 12, 2017 – “Citizen Action Snags Multiple Washington Democrats” (Idaho conservative blog site – overview of some of Glen’s complaints exposing campaign finance violations)

Inlander – April 17, 2017 -“Unreported poll previewed a Condon vs. Stuckart mayoral battle that never was”  (Another article from Spokane partly about a second complaint filed by Glen)

Inlander – April 14, 2017 – “Drumheller No! When Spokane County Dems used scholarship money to pay for operations, some members were furious” (An article about a scandal exposed by Glen’s PDC complaint against Spokane County Dems)

Inlander – April 13, 2017 – “Dems in Disarray” (An article about PDC complaint filed by Glen on Spokane County Democrats)

Spokesman Review – March 17, 2017 – “Western Washington political activist alleges campaign finance violations by Spokane Democrats” (article about complaint Glen filed exposing very significant PDC violations by Spokane County Democrats)

PDC Case #14633 complaint filed by Andrew Biviano 

Articles about King County Democrats:

Auburn Reporter – June 27, 2017 – “State demands documents in campaign finance case against Auburn man”  (another article about King County Dem chair Stober and the AG’s efforts to obtain documents)

The Kent Reporter – June 23, 2017 – “State demands documents in campaign finance case against Stober”  (article about complaint Glen filed against King County Democrat chair Bailey Stober and the effort by the AG to obtain documents)

The Olympian – June 1, 2017 “Meet the man who torments state Democrats over the way they fill out forms” (The Olympian editorial team puts their own spin to a reprint of the Seattle Times article – apparently they just discovered complying with the campaign finance laws requires people to fill out forms)

Seattle Times – May 30, 2017 – First Version of the Seattle Times Article:  “Citizen watchdog peppers Washington State with campaign finance complaints against Dems”  

Seattle Times – May 30, 2017 – Second Version of Seattle Times Article (changed at 2pm):  “Is this guy a Washington State watchdog or partisan annoyance?” (apparently Democrats contacted the Seattle Times and convinced them that the first headline did not portray Glen negatively enough)

Seattle Times – May 17, 2017 – “Political parties should set example with campaign laws, not flout them” (Editorial positive about Glen’s exposing of the truth)

Seattle Weekly – May 15, 2017 – “Why did a Democratic Staffer leave a bunch of Party Financial Information at the PDC’s front door?”  

Seattle Times – May 12, 2017 – “Washington AG’s office sues King County Democrats over alleged campaign violations” (Story about AG filing lawsuit based on one of Glen’s notices)

PDC Complaint #14915 – filed by Glen Morgan against Bailey Stober for misuse of public resources for political campaign purposes.

PDC Complaint #14840 – filed by Glen Morgan against Bailey Stober for a variety of campaign violation during 2015 campaign for Kent City Council

PDC Complaint #14755 – filed by Bailey Stober against Republican legislator (first paragraph complaints about Glen Morgan)

PDC Complaint #1431 – filed by Bailey Stober against Kent City Council candidate

PDC Complaint #14-017 – filed by Don Mason against Bailey Stober related to 2011 campaign violations by Stober

Articles about Thurston County Democrats:

The Olympian – December 22, 2016 – “‘Everybody is in violation of the PDC,’ says activist as attorney general files complaints” (First article about AG investigating Jim Cooper based on Glen’s complaints)

The Olympian – November 7, 2016 – “Last week, it was a death threat.  This week, he’s getting sued for election robocalls” (It was a busy election season for Glen)

KOMO News – November 3, 2016 – “Thurston County Race Includes Death Threat and Criminal Investigation” (KOMO news did a short video on the death threat against Glen Morgan by Democrat official)

The Olympian – November 2, 2016 – “Man investigated for death threat tells deputy he was ‘fed up’ after robocall” (article about Democrat PCO who threatened to kill Glen)

KUOW – August 2, 2016 “Democrats take $50k gift from warrior spirit ‘Ramtha’ – despite anti-Mexican slurs” (local NPR affiliate interviews Glen as JZ Knight/Ramtha continues to fund Thurston County Democratic Party)

Seattle Times – State Democratic Party will donate money from JZ Knight after offensive comments

Ancient Warrior Spirit endorses Democrats

The Truth about Jim Cooper

Thurston Democrats Plateau at peak paranoia 

Democrat Party official threatens to kill me

How did the Democrats lose Thurston County?

 

Bellevue City Council candidate Brown owed $135,047 to the IRS, but wants higher taxes for others

Karol Brown is running for the Bellevue City Council, and she believes many people should pay more in taxes.  Unfortunately, she apparently owed over $135,047 in IRS tax liens herself from recent years, so when she says she believes everyone should pay their fair share, she appears to be exempting herself from the same tax responsibility she expects to see from everyone else.  Apparently one month before she filed to run for office, she paid the IRS for the back taxes. 

Karol Brown, candidate for Bellevue City Council

According to the IRS:

“A federal tax lien is the government’s legal claim against your property when you neglect or fail to pay a tax debt. The lien protects the government’s interest in all your property, including real estate, personal property and financial assets.”

Candidate Karol Brown is an immigration attorney, and one of three candidates vying for position 4 on the Bellevue City Council.  A Federal Way native, she moved to the Eastgate area 15 years ago, and spent some time in the political trenches as chair of the 41st Legislative District Democrats.  She used her Yale law degree to launch her immigration law firm.  However, she is not above encouraging others to pay more taxes in her social media posts.

Brown has even claimed that she didn’t mind voting for Democrats even if she knew she would pay more in taxes, but that claim rings hollow when she apparently does not pay these very same taxes.  

Bellevue has a reputation of being a wealthy city, and according to current census data, the median household income is $94,638.  However, this means that over half the voters in this city will be earning less total income than even the taxes Karol Brown failed to pay to the IRS for many years.  As a UW grad with a Yale law degree, candidate Brown certainly understands the need to explain her desire to raise taxes on the “rich” (which obviously includes her), while explaining why she apparently refused to pay those same taxes for many years which she expects everyone else to pay.

Karol Brown taking a break with her co-workers after a tough day at the office. Did the photographer ask what they thought about the IRS before taking this one?

It’s no fun to get into trouble with the IRS.  It doesn’t matter if you are a Conservative group having your IRS documents leaked to the press, or a Tea Party group trying to get your non-profit recognition, or Karol Brown struggling to pay her taxes.  There is understandable sympathy from many people, including this author, for people in these situations and not much sympathy for the tax man.  However, there is likely to be less sympathy for a political candidate who appears to want others to do as she says but not as she does.   

***Please note, this article was modified on 7/18/2017 to reflect new information received which indicated that Karol Brown paid the IRS these tax liens one month before she filed for office.  She did NOT still owe these taxes as the original article indicated, and the article has been changed to reflect this fact***

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OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Background articles, links and source documents:

Karol Brown launches Bellevue City Council campaign

Karol Brown lawyer profile at her law firm

IRS:  Understanding a Federal Tax Lien

Tax Lien #1

Recording Date: 01/31/2017 

Tax Lien Date: 01/20/2017

KAROL E BROWN

Address: 14518 SE 42ND PL, BELLEVUE, WA 98006-1512 (King COUNTY) Filing County: King, WA

Total Lien Amount: $101,471

Damar Document Type: Federal Tax Lien

Tax Lien Serial Lien Certificate Number: 246302617 

Kind Of Tax: 1040

Federal Tax Lien Prepared And Signed City: SEATTLE

Federal Tax Lien Prepared And Signed State: WA

Tax Lien #2

Filing Date: 12/28/2011

KAROL E BROWN

Address: 216 1ST AVE S, SEATTLE, WA 98104-3441 (King COUNTY)

Total Lien Amount: $17,909

Alternate Court Case Number: 00521168401

Tax Lien #3

Filing Date: 01/05/2011

KAROL E BROWN

Address: 14518 SE 42ND PL, BELLEVUE, WA 98006-1512 (King COUNTY)

Total Lien Amount: $15,667 

Alternate Court Case Number: 00511715135

Tukwila Ethics Board hides Forterra grant funding violations

Does the City of Tukwila really have a code of Ethics?

The City of Tukwila recently convened their Ethics Board to review an ethics complaint filed against Tukwila City Councilman De’Sean Quinn.  Despite the fact that the board’s own findings confirmed the facts of the complaint, the Tukwila Ethics Board gave Councilman Quinn a pass, thereby defeating the purpose for which the board was created in the first place.  This raises larger questions.  What is the purpose of an ethics board?  Who benefits from ethics board coverups?

Not every city in Washington State has an ethics board , but the City of Tukwila, located just south of Seattle created their Ethics Board on August 4, 2014.  This was codified in Tukwila City Ordinance 2447, approved by the council and signed by Tukwila City Mayor Jim Haggerton.  The board has largely existed on paper without much activity until this author filed an ethics complaint against Tukwila City Councilman De’Sean Quinn (background and source documents are linked below). 

 

Tukwila largely modelled their Code of Ethics on the Washington State Ethics laws, codifiedin RCW 42.52.  Some changes were made to make it applicable to the city.  When a real violation of the ethics laws by an elected official is discovered by a citizen, filing a formal complaint with the relevant ethics board is the only option to address ethics violations committed by elected officials.

Councilman Quinn has been having difficulty following campaign finance laws lately

This author’s complaint against Councilman Quinn was a logical outcome of an ongoing investigation into Quinn’s failure to follow campaign finance laws.  A variety of complaints were also filed with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) against Quinn for violating many campaign finance laws.  As part of this investigation, it was also discovered that Quinn violated the City of Tukwila’s Code of Ethics.  

Mr. Quinn failed to disclose the fact that he was on the Board of Directors of a non-profit environmental corporation called “Forterra.”  He was also on the board of a for-profit corporation also controlled by Forterra. (More on this below.) He hid these cozy relationships from his official candidate’s financial affairs documents filed with the Washington State PDC (until this author filed a complaint).  He also failed to disclose these relationships when he promoted, approved and voted for a $76,000 grant by the City of Tukwila to Forterra (Contract #16-112).  This dual failure to disclose these board positions at Forterra, while also failing to recuse himself from the vote to financially benefit Forterra, looks like an intentional cover-up.

Theoretically, Ethics Codes and Ethics Boards exist to prevent this from happening.

Under both Washington State and Tukwila Municipal Code, this is a clear violation of the ethics laws.  A complaint was filed with the Tukwila’s Ethics Board, following the process defined in the ordinance.  The Tukwila Ethics Board convened, and according to their minutes and report, their findings confirmed evidence of a violation, but they chose to ignore it.  No warning was issued.  No sanction was made.  Not even a slap on the wrist as a warning to others.  At least the Public Disclosure Commission issued a warning letter noting Quinn’s legal violations of the campaign finance laws.

These recent actions in the City of Tukwila raise troubling ethical concerns.  Apparently, it is now acceptable policy for elected officials to disguise their business interests and relationships with organizations that receive large sums of money from the same local government where they hold political office.  Despite state law and local ordinance, if that politician promotes the contracts or grants, fails to recuse himself, and votes to approve the money – all is well.  In the exceptionally rare instance where a concerned citizen discovers a violation of the ethics laws and files a complaint, then the “ethics board” will convene and pretend there is nothing to be seen here.  This is a perfect system to justify corruption and ethics violations.

The City of Tukwila has a very nice City Council Chambers

I attended a Tukwila City Council meeting recently and brought up my concerns about this issue, in a very friendly way.  However, this is not enough, and it seems that some soul searching and policy reform is in order at the City of Tukwila.  Why even have an ethics board if it only exists to hide ethical violations?  If the code of ethics has no meaning, then why even put this in the law?  How many other times have politicians voted to reward their friends or corporations with special taxpayer grants?  Is this just business as usual?

There is something strange about the Forterra Corporation

Possibly a bigger story to the ethical code coverup program in the City of Tukwila involves Forterra, and it appears that much more citizen watchdog attention should be directed at this “non-profit” corporation.  The Board of Directors of this organization include other politicians in addition to Tukwila Councilman Quinn – like King County Executive Dow Constantine (who also failed to disclose his association with this organization in his Financial Affairs Statement).    Forterra seems to be collecting a variety of insider grants and contracts from these cities and other local governments.  This is convenient if you can convince politicians and senior level bureaucrats to join your Board of Directors.  

Their business can be best sustained with our tax dollars granted to them by our politicians and bureaucrats

Forterra, which promotes the tagline “For the people.  For the Land.  Forever” was previously known as the Cascade Land Conservancy, until they changed their name in late 2011.  Name changes are common in the land control and grant game business.  “One Thousand Friends of Washington became” became “Futurewise” (Think “Hirst Decision”).  “The Northwest Ecosystem Alliance” evolved into “Conservation Northwest.”  These are just a few examples.   Forterra controls or owns hundreds of millions of dollars of land in the state (150,000+ acres).  More recently, they have focused on acquiring land in urban areas and collecting grant funds to play in the urban development business.  

Transferring funds from Taxpayer to Forterra

In a recent announcement by the Port of Seattle about a $1 million “eco-grant” fund, it was reportedly announced that 45% of these funds would go to Forterra to “manage” a tree replanting “mitigation” scheme near SeaTac airport.  The Port of Seattle created this fund to make up for the 3,000 trees they removed, which angered local residents.  However, it isn’t clear how transferring so many tax dollars to this “non-profit” corporation will actually help any of the people in the local community.  Referring to the non-profit status of Forterra, it appears that a new for-profit corporation (Forterra Strong Communities Fund Manager LLC) was created last year by many of the same people including on the board Tukwila Councilman Quinn and King County Executive Dow Constantine (and which also wasn’t disclosed in his financial disclosure paperwork see here and here).  This author filed a complaint about this as well, and this new for-profit corporation quickly changed their list of officers to remove Quinn and others from the official board last month. 

Something doesn’t smell right here, and it merits further research.  “Forterra” means “For the Earth,” which is a cool sounding name if you want to project a Green image.  However, this organization is becoming dependent on taxpayer grant dollars (these 41 paid staffers create a lot of overhead).  There also appears to be a pattern of behavior using elected politicians who are board members to approve and transfer those same grant dollars to keep the greenbacks flowing.  Perhaps this green image might be referring to the color of money more than trees.  The love of money may indeed be the root of all evil, and the quest to get easy money from government might encourage politicians to break a few ethical rules along the way.  This certainly happened in Tukwila.

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OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Background articles, links and source documents:

(for a partial list of local governments that have codes of ethics and boards see this link at the Municipal Research and Services Center)

Washington State Law – RCW 42.52 “Ethics in Public Service”

Washington State Legislative Ethics Manual (2017)

City of Tukwila – Ordinance #2447 (Creating Ethics Board) – October 2014

May 8, 2017 – Original Ethics Complaint Filed against Quinn by Glen Morgan

City of Tukwila – Ethics Board Letter to Glen Morgan dated May 30, 2017 confirming facts of ethics complaint, but giving Councilman Quinn a free pass.

Public Disclosure Complaint #16801 against De’Sean Quinn- submitted April 14, 2017

PDC Complaint #16801 against Quinn, supplemental evidence submitted April 26, 2017

(Direct Link to PDC website showing all correspondence related to complaint #16801 here)

PDC Complaint #17965 against Quinn – submitted May 9, 2017

(Direct Link to PDC website showing all correspondence related to complaint #17965 here)

PDC Complaint #20957 against Quinn – submitted June 21, 2017

(Direct Link to PDC website showing all correspondence related to complaint #20957 here)

PDC Warning Letter to De’Sean Quinn dated June 7, 2017 – confirms violations of a variety of campaign finance laws related to Complaint #16801 and #17965.

Tukwila Contract #16-112 Forterra for $76,725 approved September 19, 2016

City of Tukwila September 6, 2016 Minutes – (see resolution 1891) – no reference of conflicts or record of recusal by Quinn

Forterra Strong Communities Fund Manager, LLC – WA State Secretary of State filed documents (note how this for-profit organization suddenly changed their officers list on June 2 of this year after Glen Morgan exposed the truth about Councilman Quinn being on this board and not disclosing this fact on his financial affairs documents)

Forterra Strong Communities Fund Mngr LLC – SOS docs

King 5 News – Port of Seattle gives $1 million in Eco-Grants

PDC Complaint #17442 against King County Executive Dow Constantine submitted May 1, 2017

PDC Complaint #17442 – Dow Constantine – addendum – submitted May 9, 2017

(Direct Link to PDC website showing all correspondence on Complaint #17442 here)

The Persecution and Show Trial of Representative Melanie Stambaugh (article about how the Legislative Board of Ethics at the state level is out of control in their own way)

The great goat raid -Thurston County experiences emergency goat seizure

Wednesday afternoon in Thurston County, Washington, the Thurston County Sheriff’s office made an emergency goat raid on Lattin’s Cider Mill to seize 17 (or maybe 18?) goats.  Led by Thurston County Deputy Nastansky (a self-described “goat expert”) the sheriff’s office directed “volunteers” from Hoofed Animal Rescue (a local “non-profit” – a registered 501c3 which has been accused of financially rewarding itself and its volunteers by charging “storage” costs to hold onto seized animals) to take an undetermined number of goats from the farm.  Perfect timing for a nasty article in the local paper and for the next fundraising letter.  This was just the beginning of the great goat seizure fiasco.  

The justification for this crisis emergency raid late in the day was a semi-anonymous tip that “animal cruelty” was occurring on this iconic farm visited by hundreds of families and children almost every day of the year.  Deputy Nastansky refused to show the search warrant to the many people who demanded to see the document until after the invading goat herders captured and seized the goats, and she also failed to correctly count how many goats they seized – only realizing several days later that they grabbed an extra goat along the way.  The “goat expert” Deputy Nastansky was unconcerned that the volunteers were removing nursing mothers from their babies. This creates a serious problem when the nursing babies won’t take a bottle and their lives are put at risk – not that Animal Hoofed Rescue or Thurston County Deputy Nastansky seemed to care.  The original search warrant is posted at the bottom of this article – referencing a Thurston County Code that doesn’t exist in their published codes (no Title 7 to be found).

Lattin’s Cider Mill sells a variety of local farm products on site as well as their homemade breads, donuts, and their own cider.

In interviews I conducted with staff and owners of the Lattin’s Cider Mill farm, it appeared the farm owners had been treating their goat herd for hoof rot, which is a common condition for most goats in Thurston County due in part to the wet soil and this year in particular because of the record rainfall.  They rotate the goats between seven different pastures, and had been managing their goats following vet’s directions just like they had done for decades.  This is not unusual, nor is it “cruel.” If someone believed it could be done better, perhaps something less drastic than seizing the animals as a first step could be considered.  

Lattin’s Cider Mill Farm has been a major part of Thurston County rural life since 1976

Lattin’s Cider Mill – Thurston County Tourist attraction and icon

Long before “Agritourism” became a word, the Lattin family had opened their farm to swarms of local residents, school children, and others to pick pumpkins, offer Easter Egg hunts, throw apples to cows, feed farm animals, eat their homemade cider donuts, and pet the goats.  I’ve brought my kids here for many years.  It is considered one of the most popular, and iconic, rural farm businesses in Thurston County, and since 1976 hundreds of thousands of people have visited.  Many adults who spent afternoons visiting this farm as kids, now take their children to visit as well.

Many nursing baby goats were left behind after Thurston County seized their mothers

Anyone who has ever raised farm animals knows that sometimes they get sick or they might need to be treated for various ailments.  A responsibility that comes with owning animals is to keep those same animals healthy, fed, sheltered, and protected from predators.  When something happens to them, an owner has a moral obligation to try to help them recover.  A small, local farm operation like Lattin’s cider mill hires employees to do most of the day-to-day farm plan operations and many local vets have put their kids through college treating and visiting the animals on Lattin’s Cider Mill Farm.  It defies common sense that “animal cruelty” was a legitimate justification for the emergency afternoon raid by the Thurston County Sheriff’s office.

Hoofed Animal Rescue – a nice facade with a nasty history

Washington State law (RCW 16.52.085) allows local law enforcement to seize animals that are abandoned or abused.  There are many heartbreaking stories of animals in these terrible conditions seized from deplorable environments.  Cat hoarders, puppy-mills, or people down on their luck – the stories strike a chord in all of us.  However, this law is being abused in Washington State by organizations who seek to benefit from this statute.  Specifically, the law (RCW 16.52.020) allows local law enforcement to designate monopolistic contracts with local “humane societies” who are empowered to collect money from government funded court judgements imposed on animal owners for caring for seized animals.  Additionally, the law creates loopholes where these organizations can seize desired animals and profit from the sale of those animals, sometimes for slaughter.  These organizations and their members can also claim immunity from prosecution for the abuses they inflict on people or animals (RCW 15.52.085(10)).  

This nursing baby goat won’t take a bottle and could die because Hoofed Animal Rescue took its mom. This is real animal cruelty.

In Thurston County – Hoofed Animal Rescue made waves and gained attention a few years ago for seizing animals for profit and for the personal benefit of some of it’s members.  There were multiple stories of this organization targeting and selecting elderly rural residents who owned horses from whom they believed they could seize the animals (with a uniformed officer on site), sometimes without warrants or any tangible proof of harm.  Frequently, they were seizing expensive livestock for personal profit.  The victims of their abuse were terrified and threatened by “animal cruelty” accusations and nasty press releases accusing them of abusing their pets.  In part, these abuses led to the formation of the Washington State Livestock Coalition in 2009 so that abusive organizations like Hoofed Animal Rescue could be confronted.    Nick Cockrell, president explained the history to me, “The Coalition was formed in 2009 to address confiscation of animals, with the approval of the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, in what appeared to be bogus or unsubstantiated neglect.  In one instance, a 10 year-old dachshund was confiscated for excess tartar on its teeth.  At the same location, Hooved Animal volunteers pointed to a feed trough (with holes for drainage) as an example of not providing adequate water for the livestock.  I don’t know if the folks didn’t understand the difference or were trying to intentionally mislead others, but I think it was a combination of the two.”

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza

After the election of Sheriff John Snaza in 2010, and with the cooperation of the Thurston County Farm Bureau, negotiations occurred between all parties to develop a more rational and predictable process where these abuses could be prevented with checks and balances and procedures to ensure that real veterinarians were involved in the process which would avoid most of this confusion.  Hopefully, this would ensure that only genuine cases of abuse and neglect would be addressed.  This seemed to restore sanity and balance.  I’m concerned the bad old days of Hoofed Animal Rescue are back and Thurston County Deputy Nastansky could be throwing fuel on the fire with abrasive tactics.  Maybe she was misled.  Maybe it was a misunderstanding.  Nobody doubts this isn’t an easy job.  Whatever the reason, there are some real problems that need to be addressed here. 

Kathy Bailey, president of Hooved Animal Services, serves as staff in the Joint Animal Services (Thurston County, Lacey, Olympia, Tumwater).  In 2016, she was paid $44,908 as assistant director.  Is her status as president of Hooved Animal Rescue considered a conflict of interest since Hooved Animal Rescue receives support from Thurston County?

When I spoke to Nick Cockrell, President of the Washington State Livestock Coalition, he explained, “In the past, the Livestock Coalition has worked cooperatively with the Sheriff’s Office in providing assistance in lieu of animals being seized or removed.  In one particular case, Coalition volunteers monitored equine feeding protocol and care issues over a several month period.  Reports were sent periodically to document care provided by the owner, as proscribed by the deputy.  However, following disposition of that case, the deputy was reassigned and the Sheriff’s Office no longer requested our assistance.”  It seems that Thurston County has decided that rather than working with animal owners to find solutions – if there even are any problems – they prefer to seize property, rather than solve problems.

Restoring Common Sense to the Thurston County Sheriff’s office and this process for the future

Several aspects of Wednesday’s goat seizures from Lattin’s Cider Mill should be addressed.  They are as follows:

Thurston County Judge Carol Murphy approved the “emergency” search warrant over the phone
  • The emergency “telephonic” search warrant issued by Thurston County Judge Carol Murphy might be legal, but the policy behind it is certainly questionable in cases like this.  This type of search warrant was intended for emergency situations like a felony vehicle stop where the officers believed a body might be in the trunk of a parked car.  Under what possible justification would a search warrant need to be rushed out like a 5-alarm fire emergency for some goats actively being cared for by paid staff and seen by hundreds of people every day?  It is likely the judges in Thurston County as well as the Thurston County sheriff’s office need to review processes and procedures for exactly what counts as an “emergency” for these types of warrants.  Was Judge Murphy provided true information or was she deceived in order to issue the “emergency” warrant?  It seems likely that we can come up with more rational policy here.

 

  • Thurston County Deputy Nastansky should remember
    Officer Nastansky may be good at bringing coffee to Thurston dispatch, but the emergency goat seizure she directed was very questionable. (photo source: Facebook)

    why she became a law enforcement officer in the first place. Theoretically, it was to help people.  The recent abuse she directed at Lattin’s Cider Mill Farm appears to have harmed the very animals she claims to protect.  Had the people from Hoofed Animal Rescue or Deputy Nastansky actually known what they were doing – they would not have removed nursing mothers from their babies.  THAT action is the only clear animal cruelty that was inflicted on these goats this week. The search warrant fiasco appears botched, and her refusal to show it to anybody until she left was unprofessional.  Claims of being a “goat expert” are overblown and probably less than honest.  A more effective strategy should include approaching the Lattin’s Farm folk and see if the “anonymous” complaint was justified, and find out what they are doing.  It isn’t like this is a meth head who forgot to feed the horse on the back 40 while he was on a bender.  This is a thriving business with paid staff and many customers who view these goats each day. Abusing a thriving, local farm is probably not the best approach.

 

  • The Thurston County Sheriff’s office needs to systematically review their relationship with organizations like Hoofed Animal Rescue.  A monopolistic relationship with this organization is not healthy and is ripe for abuse.  This organization has a history of abusing people in Thurston County and many animals do not flourish or improve under their care.  This is particularly troubling when a possible profit motive is introduced which encourages targeted abuse of other citizens in Thurston County so they can sell or take their animals, or to draft a new fundraiser based on a newspaper article.  These types of organizations can serve a valuable role in our community, but it human nature to take advantage of self-serving opportunities. Common sense should dictate that some checks and balances be introduced to the process of seizing animals.  Groups that don’t profit from animal rescue operations like the Farm Bureau or the Livestock Coalition should assist the county in drafting up the proper procedures and rules – put them in writing as county policy.  Then the boundaries will be clear and the opportunity for confusion, self-enrichment, and corruption will be reduced.  Similar legal processes are already in place for other types of terrible situations like eviction, eminent domain, etc.  Clear policies should be enacted here as well.

 

  • The Thurston County Sheriff’s office needs to review their priorities.  Real crimes are
    Despite what we want to believe, the Sheriff’s office doesn’t walk (or drive) on water. There is room for improvement and a need to think about priorities

    being committed.  Real problems exist.  Law enforcement is not an easy job.  I have several friends who work for the Thurston County Sheriff’s office.  I have been on ride-alongs – something I recommend to everyone who doubts the challenge this critical job represents on a daily basis.  However, people lose faith in law enforcement when law enforcement goes after healthy goats and ignores serious crimes.  There is no need to “make work.”  First do no harm to the citizens who live here.  Perhaps the Sheriff’s Office could follow a protocol to investigate complaints and involve a veterinarian in determining the appropriate plan of care for any questions regarding disease, condition or injury. The seizure or removal of animals should only be done in an emergency situation where the animal’s life is in jeopardy, following the stipulations outlined in the animal cruelty statute. The conditions required by the animal cruelty statute did not apply to the Lattin’s Cider Mill goat seizure on Wednesday.

One of Lattin’s Cider Mill Farm goats taken away – a photo in the “rescue” trailer

About those goats

The biggest claim of abuse regarding the Lattin’s Cider Mill Farms goats was the fact they had hoof rot.  Very few people actually have hands-on experience with livestock.  This is just a modern fact. Goats develop hoof rot as a common condition particularly in Western Washington because of the damp soil conditions that predominate here.  It is considered a contagious disease found in the soil.  It is particularly challenging in Western Washington where the wet soil and near constant rainfall most of the year make hoof rot such a common condition.  It is not a condition that can be cured as much as it is managed.  There are a variety of treatments that must be used to to treat the goat hooves.  Hand-trimming and cleaning their hooves is very important, of course.  Giving them vaccinations is part of the treatment process as well.  In conditions like Lattin’s Cider Mill Farms, based on past veterinarian examinations and recommendations, it appears that the farm was following the basic protocols of treatment.  The farm owners appear to have the documentation to support the fact they were following the right protocols.  

These are the goats being taken away

It is unlikely that anyone at Hoofed Animal Rescue would institute anything different than the treatment being administered at Lattin’s Cider Mill.  However, due to the need to justify their existence, it is possible the goats may be harmed while under the Animal Rescue’s “care.”  This is always the greatest fear by those who lose their animals to strangers.  Again, Lattin’s Cider Mill Farms are hardly unknown people or a secretive operation behind compound walls.   The animal cruelty statute was created to help protect animals, not to be a bludgeon to abuse people or organizations who are clearly trying to do the right thing.  If there is a better way to do things or to improve animal care, perhaps some step short of seizing the animals would be appropriate. 

Misuse of the animal cruelty statute wastes resources, angers citizens, destroys the credibility of law enforcement, and harms the very animals it purports to protect.  Despite past history of incompetence, Thurston County staff can improve by restoring common sense to local government.  The Thurston County sheriff’s office has a good reputation in the community.  Stories like this don’t help.

Oh, and please give the Lattins back their goats before their goats are hurt by the “rescuers”…

(note:  This article has been modified since it was first published)

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OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Background articles, links and source documents:

Lattin’s Cider Mill and Farm – website

Hoofed Animal Rescue of Thurston County – website.

Washington State Livestock Coalition – website

Thurston County Sheriff’s Office – website

The Olympian – Lattin’s Farm under investigation for animal cruelty as 17 goats seized

Hoofed Animal Rescue stories – an older WordPress site where the author seems to have tracked and written about a lot of the abuses.  

Everett Herald – “Pasado’s Safe Haven: Charity is a force for animals, but critics question tactics, finances”  (more stories about “animal rescue” scams)

 

Page 1 of search order – notice that “17 goats” are listed, but it appears they actually took 18.
Please note, the search warrant references a Thurston County Code that does not exist…

 

 

Disgraced sign-thief politician Frank Gordon sneaks back into local politics

When Democrat Grays Harbor Commissioner Frank Gordon was caught red handed last year on camera stealing his opponent’s campaign signs, his political future seemed to be greatly reduced.  Grays Harbor voters clearly rejected Mr. Gordon and they overwhelmingly voted for his opponent (65% to 34%), Independant Randy Ross.  However, while the Grays Harbor voters weren’t impressed with Gordon’s sign-thieving ways, the Aberdeen Police Department investigated Mr. Gordon and charged him with a misdemeanor ($1000 fine and up to 90 days in jail) for defacing campaign signs.  After a variety of legal maneuvers, Gordon wisely had his court case transferred to Thurston County, and he was able to avoid either a major fine or jail time.  Now he found a way to get on the ballot once again – unopposed – this time as a Councilman for the City of Aberdeen.

In between committee meetings, incumbent Grays Harbor County Commissioner stole his opponent’s campaign signs last year. These photos made the news all over Washington State.

Caught in the act, slapped on the wrist

Instead of getting into real legal trouble, Mr. Gordon entered into a “12-month stipulated order of continuance status” earlier this year. This is a convenient type of legal agreement where the defendant apparently doesn’t have a criminal history (Gordon’s political history doesn’t count), but they realize “mistakes were made.”  Mr. Gordon didn’t admit guilt, but acknowledged that there were sufficient facts that would have resulted in a conviction. Photos of you stealing your opponent’s signs tend to be pretty damning facts.  It certainly pays to have a good attorney and good political connections can help as well.

Debunking local rumors – this is NOT Frank Gordon’s new campaign theme logo this year.

Complaints about stolen political signs are common during election time.  Occasionally political sign thieves are captured on video – masked and sneaking away with their opponent’s signs late at night – classic Youtube fodder.  It is rare to catch a politician stealing signs.  It is even more exceptional to catch him on camera in his suit in between committee meetings in the middle of the day with a very clear photo caught in the act.  There are more photos of Sasquatch floating around out there.  It was Gordon’s fate to be immortalized as the sign stealing politician who was thrown out of office by the voters in his county.  Most people expected Gordon to go back to the Grays Harbor Democratic Party where he could steal signs a little more covertly.

The voters of Grays Harbor may have rejected Frank Gordon, but it looks like the City of Aberdeen isn’t done with him yet

However, it appears that the voters of Grays Harbor are not done with Frank Gordon.  With his sign theft drama behind him, he has jumped into the political fray once again in the City of Aberdeen for an uncontested seat on the City Council.  The only way he won’t be the next city councilman of Aberdeen will be if the local citizens organize a write-in campaign during the primary, which can still be done, but isn’t easy.

Apathy is the real enemy of freedom

Apparently, at the last minute during filing week, Gordon realized nobody had filed for the Aberdeen City Council seat, so he ran down to the auditor’s office and signed up.  This is a terrible indication of voter apathy.  Every year, hundreds of local races go uncontested and some even vacant due to lack of local interest.  People of all political persuasions often complain about a lack of political choices, however, this story should serve as another reminder that we have only apathy and ourselves to blame when the only choice on the ballot for the voters of Aberdeen this November is a disgraced sign-stealing politician.

 

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OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Related background articles:

Politicians steal opponent’s campaign signs while on the taxpayer dime

Washington State county elections trend more conservative

Local County election results – preview state wide political trends

Daily World  – “Gordon agrees to court compromise”

Daily World – “Gordon pleads not guilty to campaign sign charges”

Daily World – “Commissioner Gordon will be tried in Thurston County”

The Vidette – Commissioner Gordon Accused of Stealing Campaign Signs

Commissioner Gordon Accused of Stealing Campaign Signs

King5 news interview with both Commissioner Candidates about Sign-Theft Gate

Kiro7 – Grays Harbor Commissioner Accused of Tossing Opponents Signs

Other Washington State campaign sign thief stories:

Seattle Times – “Eastside House candidate’s removal of signs leads to complaint” (2006 Democrat candidate for House, and Kirkland City Council member was caught with 100 campaign signs she didn’t like)

Liberal Circus – “Candidate swipes signs” (more details on the 2016 Deb Eddy sign theft issue – 246 signs found in her car and garage – returned by police to Republicans)

The rough road ahead – campaign finance reform in Washington State

Yesterday, the Seattle Times published an article about my efforts to expose campaign finance violations in Washington State.  I appreciate when the media covers stories like this.  Campaign finance reform is often considered boring, wonkish, and not usually worthy of media attention. In the limited print space provided to Joseph O’Sullivan, The Seattle Times journalist, much about this story was omitted.  Here is the rest of the story.

A typical monthly meeting of the Public Disclosure Commission in Olympia – the view from a public visitor

Making a real impact

Filing a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) by itself is a fairly simple and straightforward process.  However, just like measuring activity and representing this as an “achievement,” the number of complaints someone files with the PDC is a meaningless statistic without more data.  How effective have these complaints been in exposing campaign finance violations and improving compliance with Washington State’s campaign finance laws?  Let’s look at the facts:

  • As of today this author has filed 108 complaints with the PDC.  Of these, 15 were PDC only complaints, which leaves us with 92 AG Citizen Action Notices filed – the primary focus of the recent Seattle Times article
  • Only 48 AG Complaints filed by this author have been completely investigated and 44 are still in process (usually means the AG and/or the PDC is still investigating them or preparing a response).
  • Of the 48 complaints, 31 became 13 active lawsuits (some lawsuits incorporate multiple complaints), mostly filed by the AG’s office.  Three lawsuits have already settled for fines and fees.  One additional complaint resulted in a fine by the Seattle Ethics and Elections Board against City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant (see list of lawsuits below for specifics and case numbers).
  • Of the remaining 16 processed complaints, 5 are abandoned by both this author and the AG as we have agreed that uncovered facts failed to justify prosecution of the cases or there was some other legal problem with the complaint.  The remaining 11 represent 8 candidates or committees where the AG chose not to prosecute, despite finding violations during the investigation.  This is called prosecutorial discretion.  For a visual representation of the effectiveness of these complaints see the following chart.

Too much credit is given to this author by both the Seattle Times reporter and the angry partisan activists who comment on this issue.  Most of the credit for these results belong to others.  An initiative by the voters of Washington State created the PDC and the original foundation for most of Washington State’s campaign finance laws in 1972.  The legislature over the years has modified these laws.  The PDC bureaucracy and Commission has drafted and created the rules.  The Washington State Attorney General’s office filed most of the lawsuits.  All this author did was research the violations and report them to the proper authorities.  This action is very similar to a 911 call to report a crime.  

The author speaking to the Public Disclosure Commission at their May 25, 2017 regular meeting

The 67% success rate demonstrated so far will improve with experience and efficiency, unless there is a radical change in policy at the PDC or the AG’s office.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is aggressive about prosecuting campaign finance violations

Additionally, this author uncovered and exposed substantial and systemic failures to comply with campaign finance laws on multiple occasions.  Much has been written about the obvious significant violations by the Spokane County Democratic Central Committee and the King County Democrats.  However, completely unreported (except by PDC staff at the recent May 25th Commission meeting) was the fact there was only a 25% compliance rate with RCW 42.17A.560 by cities and other municipalities.  A total of 19 complaints (out of 246 potential violators) were filed by this author to help expose this problem and force a substantial improvement in compliance right now.  

Substantial improvements in reporting, transparency and compliance is a good, bipartisan result for our state.  

How did this all begin? Campaign promises, death threats, cult leader, lawsuits and Senator Sam Hunt

AG Ferguson has received glowing media coverage of his litigation exploits from the Left

Attorney General Bob Ferguson has led the way by emphasizing campaign finance compliance as a priority for the AG’s office both in his campaign promises last year, and also with his creation of a special unit which specializes in campaign finance prosecutions.  Additionally, Ferguson established the criteria by which he prioritized serious campaign finance violations when he prosecuted Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman in 2016.  Wyman’s violations were uncovered by Washington State Democratic Party officials who filed the original complaint against her.  This is now called the “Wyman Standard” when referring to AG complaint lawsuit threshold.

JZ Knight claims to Channel Ramtha – a 35,000 year old warrior spirit who likes twinkies and donates big cash to Democrats. She/it also likes to file and finance lawsuits against all critics.

Secondly, while I was familiar with some PDC rules and campaign finance laws, I am no expert.  I became engaged in local elections last year in Thurston County where I have long been an outspoken critic of the Thurston County Commissioners and their policies.  Last year’s anemic effort at campaign activism with some local robocalls resulted in a death threat from a Democrat PCO (who called from his home phone and left a message), a restraining order against that PCO, a PDC complaint filed by the Washington State Democratic Party, a lawsuit by the Washington State Democratic Party, the local Democratic Party finally renouncing violence as a political tactic, and another lawsuit funded by a local cult leader named JZ Knight who largely funds the Thurston County Democratic Party (over $217,000 in the last few years of direct contributions and support for Democrat candidates) and claims to channel a 35,000 year old homicidal Lemurian warrior spirit named “Ramtha.”  I helped expose JZ Knight’s racist speeches in 2012 which resulted in the Washington State Democratic Party divesting themselves of the recent large donations she had provided that year.  JZ Knight/Ramtha has been on a local rampage ever since – by filing or funding multiple lawsuits and shovelling large piles of cash into the local Democratic Party.

Senator Sam Hunt was a primary inspiration for this author to better understand the campaign finance laws

I responded with PDC complaints of my own including one against Democratic Senate candidate Sam Hunt, who wrote a letter to the PDC claiming that I was ignorant about campaign finance laws.  He was right, and his actions encouraged me to educate myself and become more involved in this process.  Thanks to Senator Sam Hunt’s encouragement and inspiration from the Washington State Democratic Party, the journey to explore and better understand the problems with our state’s campaign finance laws began.  As noted below, Senator Sam Hunt, the Thurston County Democrats, and both candidates for the Thurston County Commission were charged by Attorney General Ferguson with a variety of campaign finance violations.

Both Speaker Chopp and Senator Hunt have discovered that the size of campaign finance penalties also matter once they were both sued for campaign finance violations

Originally, I believed that it was possible to demonstrate that nearly every candidate is in violation of the campaign finance laws in one way or another.  However, while this appears to be true, I have also discovered massive failures to comply with the disclosure laws (Spokane County Democrats, King County Democrats, etc).  I have now shifted the focus towards collecting relevant data to support sound bipartisan policy fixes to the existing campaign finance laws that would still support the transparency goals of the original initiative, but become less of a barrier to political participation than the current system.  For this, just like the Democrats, I blame the Republicans.

Why the Republicans are to blame and the perception of political bias in the agencies

Andrew Biviano, Chair of the Spokane County Democrats (right), made this his Facebook Profile Pic right before AG Ferguson (left) filed suit against him

A fundamental assumption of campaign finance law enforcement in our state is the belief that every political contest has at least two sides in opposition.  This theory then assumes that each competing faction will use the PDC open records to hold the other side accountable.  When one faction sees a failure to comply with the rules, they file a complaint on the other.  The PDC (or AG) becomes less about enforcement than behaving like a referee in these political disputes.  The  entire campaign finance edifice is also based on the political impartiality of the PDC and the AG.  

Here is where I believe this system has broken down.  After interviewing many Republican candidates, treasurers, and local activists around the state, there is a common view from their perspective that both the PDC and the AG are entirely partisan and biased against Republican candidates and committees.  This perception is based on two fundamental categories of evidence.   First, the bureaucracy in this state has been controlled by the Democratic Party since 1985.  All directors have been appointed by Democratic governors.  Secondly, nearly every Republican organization in the state has been on the receiving end of PDC complaints filed against them or other Republican groups they know and they generally believe they were treated unfairly and in a biased manner by the PDC.  They feel that the Democrats never get the same treatment.  

This bias perception has never been expressed to me in a similar manner by Democrats.  I have never had a Democrat activist or candidate tell me that the PDC was biased against Democrats.  This perception has created the current scenario where both parties and their candidates have suffered.

The Washington State Democrats have always been more effective at filing complaints, plus they have cool logos like this.

The Republicans, with some notable exceptions, for many years have rarely filed PDC complaints against their Democratic rivals.  In fact, a rough survey of complaints for the past 10-15 years (the data is still being compiled) shows that a disproportionate level of complaints were filed by Democrats and a declining number of complaints filed by Republicans.  The Republicans have trended towards focusing on self-compliance (not always achieving this) and they have ignored their political competitors because they believe that filing a complaint is a worthless and pointless exercise.  The problem with this trend, for the Democrats, is the fact that when the Democratic Committees or candidates fail to comply with the law, nobody is paying attention and there are no consequences.  Minor violations go unnoticed, so eventually these metastasize into major and eventually catastrophic violations like the Spokane and King County Democrats.

It also takes two engaged political factions to keeps both on the straight and narrow with the PDC

Not every Democratic Committee has egregiously violated the campaign finance laws of Washington State.  Most are in violation of some kind, but there is a spectrum of violation.  Interestingly, in the pockets of the state where Republicans still file the occasional PDC complaint, the Democrats tend to have their books in order (Whatcom County Democrats, for example).  In places where the Republicans have rarely, if ever, filed complaints, the Democrats are going to court – Spokane, King, Thurston, etc.  So, it is certainly fair that the Republicans share the blame for the wholesale failure of many Democratic Committees and candidates to follow the campaign finance laws.  Hopefully this trend of non-compliance will change due in no small part to this author’s efforts.

Some believe campaign finance reform is a mythical, pointless quest

Is the PDC politically biased?  Maybe, but I don’t believe this is as clear cut as many Republican activists think.  Yes, it is true that the directors of the PDC and the members of the board have all been appointed by Democratic governors for decades now.  It is also true that the partisan affiliation of almost every employee who works at the PDC and the AG (when it can be found) is with the Democratic Party. However, this by itself does not ensure a partisan outcome of results.  Anecdotal examples of individual biased results are not enough to prove partisan bias for the agency as a

whole.  For example, it is true that  Democrats have filed the overwhelming volume of complaints until recently.  The State Democratic Party  has a rotation of paid staffers who do this, and they probably file more effective complaints.  I have looked at their historic actions to model my current efforts.  Logically, since the Republicans have no equivalent institutional skillset, then the Republicans would be at a strong disadvantage here – and it may not be entirely due to political bias.  It could be partly due to a lack of complaint competency.

Others believe campaign finance reform is part of the corruption

Regardless, I am hoping that enough data and comparatively valid examples can be produced over the next year or so to produce a report which can clarify the bias (if any) by either the AG or the PDC.  In the meantime, data is still being collected, and the data should inform everyone about which reforms are most logical and impactful.

Frank Chopp shouldn’t abdicate his legislative responsibility.  Any fixes must be bipartisan

Ultimately, I believe campaign finance reform is long overdue in this state, but the solutions must be bipartisan in nature and result.  More importantly, these reforms must be initiated by the legislature so that they are codified in the law.  They should be designed to help the newcomer to the political process be transparent just as much as the incumbent, and they shouldn’t be so complex that only an insider can comply. 

In the recent Seattle Times article, Speaker Frank Chopp was quoted as saying he would only accept campaign finance reforms recommended by the PDC and nobody else.  Assuming this accurately represents Chopp’s position, this is troubling.  When the Speaker of the House will outsource his legislative authority to the bureaucratic agencies, then genuine reform becomes impossible.  

A warning sign located outside the state capital. “No spines allowed”

Can the PDC fix some of the structural problems and make improvements?  Sure.  However, some of the reforms must come from the legislature and Frank Chopp should accept this reality and the responsibility that comes with his position.  Bureaucracy tends to exist primarily to perpetuate itself and expand its own power, regardless of the impact on everyone else.  This is not a conspiracy, it is just human nature.  We elect politicians to represent us in Olympia so that they can overcome real problems and perhaps attempt to fix them.  Abdicating responsibility is not leadership.

It could be true that this is a Don Quixote quest tilting at the windmills of campaign finance reform in our state.  Perhaps expecting them to be simplified, clarified, fixed, or changed in order to make compliance easier is a Utopian scheme and a silly dream.  However, it is worth the effort, and once begun it is best to see it through to some type of completion or resolution.   The worst that could happen is compliance levels with the current arcane rules improve greatly.  However, if some type of success can be found to make it easier for citizens to participate in the political process, then it will be worth the effort.  This is only the beginning.

______________________________________________

OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Seattle Times and related background articles:

First Version of the Seattle Times Article:  “Citizen watchdog peppers Washington State with campaign finance complaints against Dems”  

Second Version of Seattle Times Article (changed at 2pm):  “Is this guy a Washington State watchdog or partisan annoyance?”

Seattle Times – May 17, 2017 – “Political parties should set example with campaign laws, not flout them” (Editorial positive about Glen’s exposing of the truth)

Seattle Times – May 12, 2017 – “Washington AG’s office sues King County Democrats over alleged campaign violations” (Story about AG filing lawsuit based on one of Glen’s notices)

Inlander – May 12, 2017 – “AG lawsuit says Spokane County Dems’ financial reporting problems have lasted years, continue to this day” (good, detailed story about AG lawsuit filed based on Glen’s complaint)

Spokesman Review – May 12, 2017 – “Washington takes Spokane Democrats to court charging campaign reporting violations” (story about AG filing lawsuit based on Glen’s complaint)

Redoubt News – May 12, 2017 – “Citizen Action Snage Multiple Washington Democrats” (Idaho conservative blog site – overview of some of Glen’s complaints exposing campaign finance violations)

Kent Reporter – May 12, 2017 – “King County Democratic Central Committee faces campaign finance complaint” (article about the AG filing a lawsuit based on Glen’s notice to the AG)

Edmonds Beacon – April 21, 2017 – LTE “Strom Peterson complaint ‘frivolous’” (angry LTE about Glen’s complaint filed against Rep. Strom Peterson who was sued by the AG)

Inlander – April 17, 2017 -“Unreported poll previewed a Condon vs. Stuckart mayoral battle that never was”  (Another article from Spokane partly about a second complaint filed by Glen)

Federal Way Mirror – April 14, 2017 – “Flygare and Political Strategy” (article about Glen’s complaint against local candidate(Flygare) and that candidates poor response)

Inlander – April 14, 2017 – “Drumheller No! When Spokane County Dems used scholarship money to pay for operations, some members were furious” (An article about a scandal exposed by Glen’s PDC complaint against Spokane County Dems)

Inlander – April 13, 2017 – “Dems in Disarray” (An article about PDC complaint filed by Glen on Spokane County Democrats)

Edmonds Beacon -April 12, 2017 – “Strom Peterson admits to disclosure violations” (Another article about Glen’s PDC work)

KUOW – April 11, 2017 –“Here’s what Tea Party training looks like in Washington State”  (this article makes Glen look way more important than he is, but it shows a typical activism training session)

B-Town Blog – April 8, 2017 – “Conservative whistleblower has filed 40 public disclosure cases, including against Berkowitz” (local blogger angry about Glen)

Federal Way Mirror – April 7, 2017 – “Public Disclosure Commission investigating Council Candidate” (Federal Way Council candidate Roger Flygar wants to sue Glen for libel when Glen reported him to the PDC for failure to file campaign disclosure documents – this was the printed paper edition) and this was the live link posted a few days later:  “Public Disclosure Commission investigating Council Candidate”

Tacoma News Tribune Editorial – March 18, 2017 – “Stop the PDC from becoming the Petty Complaint Department”  (mainly focused on attacking Glen Morgan – note, major changes made after multiple factual errors were pointed out to the editors)

Tacoma News Tribune Guest Editorial – March 24, 2017 – “Washington PDC needs fixing:  Don’t blame the messenger” (to their credit, the TNT let Glen post a response to their editorial)

The Columbian Editorial – March 23, 2017 – “In our view:  Sunshine worth the Price” (surprisingly, the Columbian wrote a positive editorial about Glen’s PDC complaints – particularly impressive considering this video and this article Glen produced which were pretty critical of the Columbian)

The Olympian Editorial – March 16, 2017 – “Speaker Chopp earned his fine” (a rare positive editorial from the Olympian about Glen’s PDC work – particularly since Glen has been repeatedly critical about the Olympian as well)

Spokesman Review – March 17, 2017 – “Western Washington political activist alleges campaign finance violations by Spokane Democrats” (article about complaint Glen filed exposing very significant PDC violations by Spokane County Democrats)

Seattle Times – March 15, 2017 – “Frank Chopp pays $1700 fine over campaign-finance violations” (another spin on Glen’s complaint against Speaker Chopp)

Seattle PI – March 14, 2017 – “Speaker Chopp will pay $6,469 in penalties for campaign reporting violations”  (article about complaint filed by Glen against Speaker Chopp)

Tacoma News Tribune – “House Speaker hit with campaign finance complaint in growing tug of war” (first traditional media report on the Speaker Chopp complaint – same article reprinted in Olympian and Bellingham Herald)

The Olympian – December 22, 2016 – “‘Everybody is in violation of the PDC,’ says activist as attorney general files complaints” (First article about AG investigating Jim Cooper based on Glen’s complaints)

The Olympian – November 7, 2016 – “Last week, it was a death threat.  This week, he’s getting sued for election robocalls” (It was a busy election season for Glen)

KOMO News – November 3, 2016 – “Thurston County Race Includes Death Threat and Criminal Investigation” (KOMO news did a short video on the death threat against Glen Morgan by Democrat official)

The Olympian – November 2, 2016 – “Man investigated for death threat tells deputy he was ‘fed up’ after robocall” (article about Democrat PCO who threatened to kill Glen)

Lawsuits and other pending complaints:

February 3, 2017 – Attorney General lawsuit against Jay Manning (Thurston superior Court)

February 9, 2017 – Jay Manning Stipulation and Agreed Judgement (Thurston superior Court)

May 10, 2017 – Jay Manning lawsuit “State of Washington, ex rel. Glen Morgan vs. Jay Manning”

 

Jay Manning skates away from transparency thanks public disclosure commission

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

State of Washington vs. Jim Cooper (TC Case #16-2-04960-34)

State of Washington vs. Kelsey Hulse (TC Case #17-2-00848-34)

State of Washington vs. Thurston County Democrats (TC Case #17-2-00972-34)

State Attorney General Press Releases Initiated by Author’s Complaints

May 12, 2017 – AGO files Campaign Finance Complaint against King County Democratic Central Committee

May 12, 2017 – AGO files Campaign Finance Complaint against Spokane County Democratic Central Committee, Two Committee Officers

April 10, 2017 – AGO files Campaign Finance Complaints Against State Lawmakers, Former Candidate

March 14, 2017 – Chopp to pay $6469 over Campaign Finance Allegations

March 14, 2017 – AG files Campaign Finance Complaints against Senator Hunt and Thurston County Democrats

February 13, 2017 – EWU Trustee (Jay Manning), Audubon Washington to pay penalties, costs in separate campaign finance cases

December 19, 2016 – AG Files Campaign Finance Complaint against 19th District House Candidate (Theresa Purcell)

December 19, 2016 – AG files Campaign Finance Complaints against Budget and Policy Center, Thurston County Candidate (Jim Cooper)

Background Articles on JZ Knight/Ramtha Campaign Finance Scandals

SPLC – Ramtha Riled article

Thurston Democrats ripped off “Ramtha” and wasted donor money

NPR – Ramtha Channeler JZ Knight channels $54,000 into Olympia elections

Seattle Times – Guess who’s a big Trump Fan?  Ramtha – as channelled by Democratic Donor JZ Knight

Ramtha, New Age Cult Leader, Unleashes drunken, racist, homophobic rants to large following

Western Free Press – C’mon JZ Knight, how many accents does Ramtha have?

Seattle Times – State Democratic Party will donate money from JZ Knight after offensive comments

Ancient Warrior Spirit endorses Democrats

Seattle Times – Democrats again under fire over JZ Knight donations

NPR – Washington Democrats reverse course, shed JZ Knight contributions

Seattle PI – Democrats do penance for JZ Knight donations

Will County Commissioner Candidates return racist Ramtha $$?

JZ Knight Tirade Videos Submitted to Politicians she supports

The Olympian – Romero to give away JZ Knight Campaign Cash

Thurston County Dems Accept Money from JZ Knight Again

Ancient spirit channeller buys Thurston County election – controls Democratic Party with big cash infusion

Anti-Semitic Cult Leader who channels ancient Lemurian warrior is “Democrat in Good Standing”

 

State of Washington vs. Jay Manning, cult-funded SuperPAC director exposed

Strange things surround Jay Manning - Dark Money, claims of Environmental leadership, cult leader JZ Knight, warrior spirit Ramtha, and Knight's UFO predictions. Manning is in the middle of it all

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, another campaign finance lawsuit was filed against Jay

Thurston County Superior Court Clerk’s office on Wednesday morning

Manning in Thurston County Superior Court (see complaint filed yesterday linked here – Thurston Superior Court #17-2-02568-34).  Jay Manning, in his capacity as director of the political action committee (PAC) called “People for Thurston PAC” committed a variety of campaign finance violations during the general 2016 election season.  This is the second lawsuit filed against Jay Manning for campaign disclosure violations this year.  The PAC he directed was funded almost entirely by JZ Knight, a local racist cult leader from Thurston County who claims to channel a 35,000 year old homicidal Lemurian warrior spirit named “Ramtha.”  Although the Washington State Democratic Party divested itself of her/it’s large campaign donations in 2012, the Thurston County Democrats eagerly grabbed $215,000 in campaign donations and candidate support since 2014 – including the $56,000 Knight/Ramtha gave to Jay Manning’s cult SuperPAC in 2016.  

Jay Manning – controversial insider and JZ Knight defender

Jay Manning packing his papers after skating away from transparency a few months ago at a PDC hearing. It will be harder for him to hide the truth this time.

Jay Manning had a long and distinguished political career until his recent serial violations of the campaign finance laws.  Jay Manning worked in the Washington State Attorney General’s office for many years before being appointed Director of the Washington State Department of Ecology.  During his tenure at Ecology, Manning was known for harassing farmers and property owners around the state – particularly in Kittitas County.  Some of these efforts laid the groundwork for the very controversial Hirst decision by the Washington State Supreme Court last October, which ignored history, the law, and the legislature to invent new water law in the state.  After his controversial and destructive tenure at the Department of Ecology, Manning then became Chief of Staff for Governor Gregoire.  

Jay Manning speaking in Marrakesh, Morocco at a US government sponsored event on climate change

Currently, Manning is a partner in Cascadia Law Group, a left-leaning law firm that specializes in harming property owners and farmers, while claiming environmental credentials,- continuing the trend he helped facilitate while Director of the Department of Ecology.  Manning also currently is Chair of the scandal-plagued Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council and has been appointed by Governor Inslee as a Trustee for Eastern Washington University.  Jay Manning is the consummate political insider in Olympia.  

Jay Manning (on the far left) has many high profile positions in government. Here is his official role as Trustee for Eastern Washington University

Manning likes to jet set around the world on the taxpayer dime speaking about global climate change and similar related topics.  Apparently, he is also a trusted confidant for local racist cult leader JZ Knight, who was a client of Manning’s law firm at some point (Manning convinced the Public Disclosure Commission to approve hiding his law firm’s client list from public scrutiny on his financial affairs documents earlier this year, but in the hearing, he did admit that Knight had been one of his clients).  Manning is not just a political insider, but also a close confidant to the spirit world of Ramtha.  Manning was trusted by Knight/Ramtha to run the cult-cash funded People for Thurston PAC in 2016 in Thurston County in an effort to elect Democratic candidates Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse and defeat Independant candidates Gary Edwards and John Hutchings.

JZ Knight claims to Channel Ramtha – a 35,000 year old warrior spirit who likes twinkies and donates big cash to Democrats

JZ Knight, Ramtha, and Jay Manning all failed in their election efforts.  Along the way, it appears that multiple campaign finance violations of Washington State law were committed by Manning.

As discussed in this article, Jay Manning was sued by the Washington State Attorney General (Thurston Superior Court Case #17-2-00373-34)  which was settled February 13, 2017 for a total of $6,385 in fees and fines.  This case involved Manning’s failure to submit his Financial Affairs documents to the Public Disclosure Commission as required by law for his position as Trustee at Eastern Washington University (and also for his role at the Puget Sound Partnership).  Part of the fine was deferred, but with the recent lawsuit filed in Thurston Superior Court today, it appears likely that Manning will be required to pay the deferred portion of that fine to the State soon as well.

JZ Knight/Ramtha – Racist speeches, major donor to Democrats and recent Trump supporter

The most bizarre  part of this case is clearly the weird racist Cult leader JZ Knight and the 35,000 year old homicidal Lemurian warrior spirit named “Ramtha” she claims to “channel” who has prophesied and warned about the impending invasion of the lizard people who live under the glaciers at Mt. Rainier.  In addition to being one of the largest donors to the Washington State Democratic Party until they divested from her funds in late 2012, she was also a major donor to President Obama’s election campaign in 2012 and 2008.

JZ Knight/Ramtha gets emotional and tells people what she/it thinks about Jews, Catholics, Mexicans, and others…

JZ Knight is no stranger to controversy.  She is a serial litigant – attacking former followers who leave the cult and anyone who dares to expose the truth about her strange, drunken antics while channelling Ramtha.  In 2012, a series of videos were released by this author which showed JZ Knight/Ramtha making racist and derogatory statements about Jews, Catholics, Mexicans, gays, and organic farmers.  While Knight/Ramtha claimed they were “edited,” she/it refused to release the “unedited” videos which supposedly would have placed the racist speeches in proper context.  Knight/Ramtha successfully threatened lawsuits against Youtube, Vimeo, and all other video hosting companies who would dare to show these videos, claiming they were “copyrighted.”  Knight even attempted a failed and aborted litigation against this author in Federal Court in 2014-2015, which she dropped once it became clear she was going to lose. 

Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse – they were the only Democrat choices for the Thurston County Commissioners – JZ Knight helped fund their campaigns, and they were both sued by the state Attorney General for violating campaign finance laws

JZ Knight is also the largest donor to the Thurston County Democratic Party in history.  The Thurston Democrats still refuse to condemn the JZ Knight/Ramtha overtly racist speeches and have squandered the large sums of money JZ Knight/Ramtha has sent to them in recent years.  It is probably no coincidence that the Thurston County Democrats are also in court for campaign finance violations brought by the Washington State Attorney General’s office (TC Court Case #17-2-00972-34).  Additionally, the two JZ Knight/Ramtha supported failed Democratic Commissioner candidates were also charged with serious campaign finance violations.  Failed candidate Jim Cooper is still in court (TC Court Case #16-2-04960-34), and Kelsey Hulse paid $2,920 in fees and fines on March 6 earlier this year as part of her legal settlement (TC Court Case #17-2-00848-34).

In a fit of cosmic rage, JZ Knight/Ramtha has joined forces with the troubled Thurston County Democratic Party and has filed another frivolous lawsuit against this author over her anger about robocalls which correctly and accurately identified JZ Knight’s racist history (she used her son and another follower as plaintiffs).  Most of her/it’s bottomless well of cash is obtained by followers who pay for the opportunity to listen to Ramtha’s timeless wisdom (and the odd endorsement of Donald Trump and alien flying saucers) as well as a secretive corporation she/it owns called “The Blu Room” (trademarked) which claims cosmic healing through use of UV blue light immersion in hidden rooms.   While Knight has been investigated by Federal agencies in the past, it is not clear that her belated endorsement of Trump will be enough to fend off the inevitable future investigations of her weird actions to control the local political process through the secretive assistance of Jay Manning and others.

 
This is only the early stages of fully understanding the Jay Manning/JZ Knight/Ramtha political triangle and the various violations of the law committed by them to hide the truth.  These are two (maybe three depending on how you categorize “Ramtha”) experienced political operators who know how to weather legal storms and exert influence by throwing money at their problems.  However, even a bottomless pit of cult cash can’t bury the truth forever.  This is just the beginning…

______________________________________________

OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

(Full Disclosure:  Ramtha and JZ Knight sued the author in 2014 in Federal Court for providing videos of various racist tirades she/it made in previous years to her/it’s followers as part of a public record to the Thurston County Commissioners (whose political campaigns she/it funded).  Ramtha/JZ Knight claimed that the videos were selectively “edited.”  She/it refused to release a full unedited video to prove the clips were edited out of context.  Finally, she/it wisely chose to drop the hopeless lawsuit in 2015 since it was obvious all JZ Knight/Ramtha claims were bogus.  Additionally, all the referenced PDC complaints were filed by the author against Jay Manning and the JZ Knight/Ramtha PAC he managed.  The author also filed the PDC complaints which led to AG litigation against the Thurston County Democrats, failed commissioner candidate Jim Cooper, and failed commissioner candidate Kelsey Hulse.  The author was hopeful to see common sense restored to Thurston County once again despite the large sums of money spent by JZ Knight/Ramtha and supervised by Jay Manning.  The author has been informed that Ramtha recently travelled through space and time to berate JZ Knight for wasting her money on the Democrats in Thurston County.  Life truly is stranger than fiction).

Lawsuit and other pending complaints:

February 3, 2017 – Attorney General lawsuit against Jay Manning (Thurston superior Court)

February 9, 2017 – Jay Manning Stipulation and Agreed Judgement (Thurston superior Court)

May 10, 2017 – Jay Manning lawsuit “State of Washington, ex rel. Glen Morgan vs. Jay Manning”

Complaint #9044 – Jay Manning / People for Thurston PAC

Complaint #9995 – Jay Manning / People for Thurston PAC

Complaint #10006 – Jay Manning/ People for Thurston PAC

Complaint #11384 – Jay Manning/People for Thurston PAC

Complaint #11386 – Jay Manning/People for Thurston PAC

Complaint #12110 – Jay Manning/People for Thurston PAC

Complaint #12633 – Jay Manning – F1 and Illegal Lobbying complaint

Jay Manning fined $4800 by Attorney General for violating campaign finance laws

Jay Manning skates away from transparency thanks public disclosure commission

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG press release about Jay Manning settlement

Sampling of AG and Prosecutor documents to Jay Manning

170105 – AG2JManning – 3 CAN notices

Ltr – TCP – 20161020 NP – People for TC PAC

Ltr-20161202 -AG2PDC People TC (3 complaints)

Ltr-20161219-AG2JayManning

Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

PDC – Jay Manning 2012 Donation Report to Bob Ferguson for Attorney General campaign

AG Files Campaign Finance Complaints Against Budget and Policy Center, Thurston County Candidate Jim Cooper

State of Washington vs. Jim Cooper (TC Case #16-2-04960-34)

State of Washington vs. Kelsey Hulse (TC Case #17-2-00848-34)

State of Washington vs. Thurston County Democrats (TC Case #17-2-00972-34)

 

Background Articles on JZ Knight/Ramtha Campaign Finance Scandals

SPLC – Ramtha Riled article

Thurston Democrats ripped off “Ramtha” and wasted donor money

NPR – Ramtha Channeler JZ Knight channels $54,000 into Olympia elections

Seattle Times – Guess who’s a big Trump Fan?  Ramtha – as channelled by Democratic Donor JZ Knight

Ramtha, New Age Cult Leader, Unleashes drunken, racist, homophobic rants to large following

Western Free Press – C’mon JZ Knight, how many accents does Ramtha have?

Seattle Times – State Democratic Party will donate money from JZ Knight after offensive comments

Ancient Warrior Spirit endorses Democrats

Seattle Times – Democrats again under fire over JZ Knight donations

NPR – Washington Democrats reverse course, shed JZ Knight contributions

Seattle PI – Democrats do penance for JZ Knight donations

Will County Commissioner Candidates return racist Ramtha $$?

JZ Knight Tirade Videos Submitted to Politicians she supports

The Olympian – Romero to give away JZ Knight Campaign Cash

Thurston County Dems Accept Money from JZ Knight Again

Ancient spirit channeller buys Thurston County election – controls Democratic Party with big cash infusion

Anti-Semitic Cult Leader who channels ancient Lemurian warrior is “Democrat in Good Standing”

Thurston County goes Independent, first time in state history

Why we must abolish the Puget Sound Partnership scam 

Governor Inslee vetoes solutions for schools

In a strange, erratic decision, Washington State Governor Inslee vetoed part of a school siting bill this week.  Bill supporters were surprised, but very few accused Governor Inslee of being a logical or reasonable guy.  Bill number ESHB 1017 was considered a bipartisan compromise which passed 81-15 in the house and 37-11 in the Senate.  Many years in the making and originally driven by the problems discovered by the Bethel School District when lawsuits were filed against them by Futurewise-friendly “environmental” groups.  After five years of attempting to reform the law, a bipartisan “fix” bill was passed.

The cult of the Growth Management Act

The Growth Management Act(GMA) was adopted by the legislature in 1990, and it was largely modeled on the “Smart Growth” Central Planning Scheme from Florida.  Florida repealed their statewide “Smart Growth” Law in 2011, and got out of the Central Planning business.  However, Washington’s GMA scheme continues  to stumble backwards.  Most legislators who approved the Growth Management Act in 1990, never envisioned this central planning scheme would cause such harm to the state, but like most central planning efforts, the unintended consequences eventually become consequential.  Washington State’s school districts were discovering the pain of GMA the hard way when the combination of growing student population and smaller class size requirements started to accelerate the need for more schools.

The Priests of the GMA Cult – Futurewise, as always, testifies for in favor of inflicting maximum harm on local communities

 The Bethel School District was involved in a particularly egregious case where the school, in coordination with Pierce County and all county planning agencies, located and purchased property to build a new high school – right across the street from a fire station, next to existing bus routes, and with easy access to the necessary utilities.  Promptly, several extremist environmentalists (using the Futurewise model – a professional litigation operation which mostly files lawsuits against local governments to push their extreme agenda).  The school district paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend itself before the Growth Management Hearings Board (GMHB) and lost (case linked here).  This also led to another costly lawsuit by five local Pierce County School Districts against the county (lawsuit linked here).  The GMHB suggested the school use eminent domain in a local city and destroy people’s homes to build the school instead of using the vacant land the taxpayers had already purchased.  The Bethel School District decided to try to change the irrational law instead.  This author produced a short video in 2013 about this case a few years ago (linked here).

 

Soon, other school districts like Issaquah and Richland  were running into similar situations.  Eventually this led to the Washington State School Directors’ Association (WSSDA) prioritizing their lobbying efforts to focus on changing the GMA to allow for more flexible and less costly school siting options.  This author testified as an elected school director for the Rochester School District for many years in favor of this common sense and rational change.  Every time, organizations like Sierra Club and Futurewise demanded the cult of GMA rule supreme over all, and they refused to even consider flexibility for schools

Governor Inslee struggles to explain just how big the tax hike will be for average citizens of Washington

Taxpayers always lose with Inslee

The problem with all of these disputes is that taxpayers lose at every turn.  The school districts are funded with taxpayer dollars and much of it is wasted on lawsuits, extensive litigation, negotiations, and lobbying.  Meanwhile, the cost of building the schools are artificially inflated beyond their true cost, which further squeezes the tax base for no benefit to the community, the schools, and certainly not the children.  Clearly, the environmental organizations enjoy and profit from the harm they inflict on these communities.  However, we expect saner and more mature politicians to look for solutions.  Despite years of failure in the legislature, a few weeks ago a bipartisan bill was passed in both chambers.  Inslee chose to veto this bipartisan solution.

All this to justify an outdated, inflexible, Cold-War era central planning scheme which creates ample employment opportunities for lawyers and bureaucrats, but exists primarily to perpetuate itself.  Supporting the GMA at all costs has become the modern religion of the environmental Left.  The Cult of GMA is strong and Governor Inslee wants to be the high priest.  If schools, children, taxpayers, and common sense suffer – those are just “distractions” for him and the special interests who fund his political aspirations.

Inslee tries to explain the job of the Governor – apparently using bear analogies

Nobody has ever accused Inslee of being a genius.  Bumbling through the day, coloring with crayons, and botching policy has been common.  While it is easy to laugh at his fumbling ways, real people are harmed by his calloused incompetence, and the fact he just doesn’t care about the harm he inflicts.  The people of Washington State have suffered enough at the fumbling, careless hands of this guy.  It would be easier to laugh at this goof if we didn’t live here.  Inslee is damaging far more than just our schools.

Taxpayers of Washington can take great comfort knowing that Governor Inslee puts far more time into his artistic endeavors with crayons than in trying to help fix the abuses his agencies inflict on them.

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OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Background Articles and Source Documents:

Stifling Human Ingenuity

House Republicans Press Release:  McCauslin school siting bill headed to Governors Desk 

The Lens – Lawmakers lift restrictions on school siting

The Lens – Governor’s Veto Creates Challenges in School Siting Decisions

Washington State Wire -Representative McCaslin and Taylor release statement following governor’s partial veto of school siting bill

New Geography – Florida Repeals “Smart Growth” Law

Video:  Tales of Tyranny – Bethel School District Story

House Bill 1017 – School Siting Bill – As passed the legislature

Growth Management Hearings Board CASE NO. 12-3-0002c – ruling against Bethel School District

5 Pierce County School Districts sue Pierce County after GMHB case Case #16-2-09641-2

Spokane Democrats take kid’s cash for secret salary and epic parties

Jim Castrolang in happier days as Chair leading a Spokane County Democratic candidate forum

Jim CastroLang, part time pastor and paid executive director of the Spokane Democrats, resigned a few weeks ago. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Unfortunately, recent articles written by this author and multiple investigative articles published recently by Daniel Walters of the Pacific Northwest Inlander exposed a sordid tale of chaos, confusion, and significant problems inside the Spokane County Democratic Party. As bad as this situation appears, it will only get worse over the next few months as Spokane County, Washington State becomes ground zero for exposing campaign finance violations.

Taking cash from kids – scholarship money used for adults

Jim CastroLang juggles many responsibilities

As reported in the Inlander (linked here) from April 14th, a scholarship fund had been established by the Spokane Democrats over a decade ago using money donated to the party by longtime Spokane County Democrat icon Betty Drumheller after her death in 2000. The original amount was $83,000.  Much of it was frittered away, but beginning in 2009, the majority of the funds left from this donation were set aside as a scholarship fund for kids in the community. It was not intended to pay for parties or to cover the cost of paying Jim CastroLang’s salary as the new executive director.

Unfortunately, despite the clear 2009 board meeting minutes, and the best of intentions by historic boards and Party activists, the recently resigned executive director Jim CastroLang did exactly this. The recent complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) by this author (linked here) referenced the missing $7000 from the Drumheller account as one of many campaign finance violations committed by CastroLang. There are internal disputes over how and when this money was spent. There are also many questions over what happened to the rest of the money. It appears this fund was never reported to the PDC, which was also illegal. However, regardless of how the money vanished, one fact is clear: the kids won’t be getting their scholarships.

CastroLang promised to make the party go pro, but instead went amature fiasco

Spokane County Democrats are a train wreck
You just can’t look away

The sales pitch from CastroLang to justify the expense of hiring him for the Spokane County Democrats primarily revolved around making the party more professional and effective at fundraising. He claimed he would “turn Spokane blue.” Local political parties are typically run by volunteers and rarely function like slick operations. Improving their professional image might improve fundraising.  This claim was made by both CastroLang and earlier this year by the newly elected chair Andrew Biviano. However, political parties, PACs, activists, and the whirlwind of activities that surround them are intended to help elect candidates. They don’t need to be pro, but simple competency is nice.

Reality is a harsh instructor, and despite the happy talk, professionalism for the Spokane County Democrats took a sharp turn to amateur hour once CastroLang took charge and collected a regular paycheck. This is far more than just the wholesale systemic collapse of any effort to comply with the PDC rules.  Belatedly, when an effort was made in late 2016 to correct the record, significant expenditures (CastroLang’s salary) and donations (WEA, Spokane Tribe, Spokane Firefighters) were suspiciously left off the reports. As detailed in the complaint (linked here), and discussed in this article, the party descended into fiscal fiasco buried by a facade of good intentions.

The Spokane County Democrats make the choice of corruption or incompetence

Incompetence was their only defense against charges of corruption

Many people claim they are not crooks

After receiving the complaint, the priority of newly elected chair Biviano was to assure party members, donors, and the public that the Spokane County Democrats were not crooks. Specifically, it was very important that CastroLang be exonerated as a good guy. The challenge with this damage control was crafting a believable explanation for the breathtaking scope of violations. This was a real challenge. When threatened by accusations of corruption, the Spokane County Democrats vigorously claimed they were not crooks, just spectacularly incompetent.

The incompetence was breathtaking and impressive. They claimed incompetence at filing paperwork. They were dumbfounded by the software program (used effectively by many other Democratic Committees). Party leadership was blissfully unaware that no PDC documents were being filed for eight months. When the documents were finally filed egregiously late, nobody noticed that major donations and expenditures were missing.  Strangely, nobody noticed that the financial documents presented to the Board was very different than the financials presented to the PDC.  Despite resignation of the unpaid treasurer in July, nobody noticed that CastroLang continued to file hundreds of documents (including the falsified ones) under the name of the resigned treasurer.

The message to the Democrat Party faithful is,” We are not crooks, but just a bunch of clowns.”  Several challenges are created by this defense strategy, even if people believe it. First, donors, activists, and supporters who are the lifeblood of any political party are unlikely to engage if you convince them you are really this incompetent.  Secondly, the Attorney General is investigating these problems, and claims of incompetence won’t prevent the inevitable litigation and penalties. Many other committees and candidates have been charged for far less significant violations just in the past few months. Here are a few examples directly from recent Attorney General press releases – here, here, here, here, and here.  These are not happy times for those who break these laws.

New Chair Biviano – living in denial and trying to plug the leaks

Spokane County Democratic Chair Andrew Biviano has a tough job

Andrew Biviano has a tough job. Nobody should doubt this. However, the job is made more difficult when denying reality. Unfortunately, denial is in the air around the Spokane County Democrats. The first mistake was to deny any real problems, but that silly phase on the road to recovery has passed.

The more urgent problem is plugging the leaks and mitigating the damage. Based on emails sent by Biviano to his Executive Board, he is trying to convince them to “…consider what you write and whether you’d like to see it on Morgan’s blog…” and his internal emails reference this author and Daniel Walther from the Inlander – knowing that we will end up reading Andrew’s correspondence regardless. This is depressing for anyone in
Andrew’s position, but more significantly, a paranoid mole hunt won’t resolve important problems. If there are any moles inside the party, they are less likely to leak if there are fewer problems and less corruption.  The priority should be on fixing the problems not squashing internal dissent.  This only breeds paranoia.

Losing money on fundraisers and squandering cash on epic parties

Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaks at the Tom Foley Dinner last month while Spokane Dem Chair Biviano sits on his right. The goal was to raise funds, apparently to pay the fine that the AG will impose on the Spokane County Dems for attempting to hide their campaign dollars last year. However, it was a great party.

Lost in the drama of the AG investigation, is the significant problem the Spokane County Democrats have created in regards to fundraising. The recent Tom Foley Dinner is the

Bob Ferguson spoke at the Tom Foley Dinner last month, but it seems unlikely that he will go easy on the Spokane Dems just because they made a fawning video about him

primary fundraising event of the year for the Spokane Democrats. However, based on recent financial filings, they lost money ($1200 in the hole to be exact – assuming their reporting is exact at all). This, despite a sold out event, high profile speakers, and an $11,000 in-kind donation for a special tribute video to Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Yes, the same guy currently investigating the Spokane County Democrats for massive campaign finance violations. This was awkward because Attorney General Bob Ferguson was helping the Spokane County Democrats raise money while they were being investigated by his office for attempting to hide money from the public.

This appears to be a trend in Spokane. Not the AG investigation (at least not yet). The tendency to organize massive expenditures on fundraisers and parties that don’t help the party achieve its goals of electing Democrats appears to be a common theme. This fact was addressed in the recent Inlander article with the following quote from a local Democrat activist:

He’s (Lambert) still irritated that at that same meeting, the Democrats’ vice-chair was celebrating a 2008 election-night bash that put the party in the red.

“Fantastic election night event,” the minutes read. “Put us in the hole financially, but it was amazing.”

Lambert wants the party to spend less on election-night celebrations and more on achieving election-night wins worth celebrating.

Why would anyone (other than unions and tribes) donate money to an organization that is so wasteful with the money they receive? Why would any group trust their money to this organization when the leadership has been willing to pilfer funds from the Drumheller scholarship fund for kids and use it on epic parties and secret paychecks to Castrolang? It will take a serious sales job and years of amnesia to win back this lost trust.

The Attorney General coming around and taking names

Some events become predictable…

However, looming over the structural problems, the historic incompetence, and the current leadership chaos is the Attorney General investigation. It doesn’t look good for the Spokane County Democrats. This started as a complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission, however it is entirely in the hands of the Attorney General’s office, which is handling the investigation exclusively at this point. As the AG pours through two and half years of bank statements, emails, cancelled checks, and phone interviews, the truth will be harder to hide.

Biviano’s new Facebook Profile Image changed right after AG informs him he was under investigation. Nice try

Biviano is attempting to placate the Attorney General’s office in an understandable effort to reduce the seriousness of the inevitable penalties and fines. For example, the fawning $11,000 tribute video to Bob Ferguson played for Bob Ferguson at the Tom Foley Dinner (you can watch the video here). Biviano changed his Facebook profile to include Ferguson in Biviano’s profile photo, which was weird and a little creepy. Most observers believe Ferguson is planning to run for Governor in a few years. Ferguson is unlikely to trash his future political plans because a screwed up county political party tried to butter him up.

A dawning sense of dread permeates the Spokane County Democratic Party.  Leadership voted to assign $6000 for the legal defense (including $1000 for the recently “resigned” CastroLang). Someone failed to get their insurance for the directors and officers. Finally, the acceptance that legal action is coming has changed the defense strategy from denying the violations and claims of incompetence to a heroic effort to beat the “wilful and malicious” element of the violations which brings additional penalties. If they can avoid this label, it will be a serious victory.

A warning for all:  Don’t be like the Spokane Democrats

The ripple effect of this mess is only beginning. It will get worse. Even as this disaster unfolds into exposure of incompetence and corruption, there are still lessons to be learned from this political party’s nightmare. Some may watch the unfolding revelations with awe, others in secret glee, but all should realize this type of behavior is probably not unique to the Spokane County Democrats.

First, as the author of this complaint, I frequently wondered why the Republicans didn’t file this type of complaint. Theoretically, the Democrats and Republicans are political rivals in the endless partisan game of politics. To some extent the current PDC system is complaint driven and exists partly with the expectation that political rivals will hold each other accountable. While true in theory, it only matters if both sides are paying attention. This should serve as a wake up call not just to the Democrats, but also the Republicans to stay aware of their surroundings.  It isn’t enough to keep your own house in order.  It is probably wise to make sure the other guy is doing the right thing as well.

Secondly, the investigation initiated by the complaint exposed the nightmare scenario that is always possible when a largely volunteer organization abandons the basic checks and balances. The Spokane Democrats had adequate bylaws and policies that should, in theory, prevent this type of disaster from unfolding. However, those bylaws and policies are only as good as the people who are on the board and running the show. If they abandon their responsibilities, accept trust without verification, and hope for the best, this type of fiasco is ultimately inevitable. The names and the details might change, but human nature does not. If the Spokane County Democrats forget this event or pretend it is somebody else’s fault, then it will certainly happen to them again.

Finally, we may never really understand why Jim CastroLang did this to the party he claimed to love and lead. In the middle of this unfolding drama, before it became common knowledge, Jim preached a sermon titled “The Devil Made me Do it” (linked here).  To date, nobody has publicly blamed the devil, but there is something universal and timeless about the fallen nature of man. Eternal vigilance combined with a variety of checks and balances are the only way to prevent this type of event from becoming even more common. If men were angels, we wouldn’t need rules, laws, government, or political parties. It is precisely because men are not angels that we believe in the rule of law and the recognition that government should be as limited in scope, intrusiveness, and size as possible. If a local political party can be this screwed up so easily – imagine how bad things must be in our larger institutions where the stakes are much higher.

The devil indeed can make a lot of people do it, but the real lesson most political observers are repeating right now is a bit more mundane – Don’t be like the Spokane County Democrats…

It appears the Spokane County Democrats are adrift for a while

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OUR CONSTITUTION BEGINS WITH THE PHRASE “WE THE PEOPLE.”  IT WAS THE FOUNDER’S INTENT THAT GOVERNMENT BE CREATED BY THE PEOPLE, TO SERVE THE PEOPLE.  IT WASN’T THEIR INTENTION FOR THE PEOPLE TO SERVE THE GOVERNMENT.  IT WAS ALWAYS INTENDED THAT GOVERNMENT WHICH FAILED TO SERVE THE PEOPLE SHOULD BE “ALTERED OR ABOLISHED.”  UNTIL WE RETURN TO THE FOUNDER’S INTENT, WE REMAIN WE THE GOVERNED

Recent articles about Spokane County Democrat Complaints

The Devil made them do it – Spokane Democrats in serious legal trouble – March 24

The Inlander -April 13 – “Dems in Disarray” 

The Inlander -April 14 – “Drumheller No!  Spokane County Dems used scholarship money for operations, leaving some members irate”

The Inlander – April 17 – “Unreported poll previewed a Condon vs. Stuckart mayoral battle than never was”

Spokesman Review – Western Washington Political Activist alleges financial disclosure violations on Spokane Democrats

Redoubt News – CastroLang and Spokane Dems violated Campaign Finance Laws?

Original Complaint filed against the SCDCC – March 16, 2017

Jim CastroLang sermon – “The Devil Made me do it” Feb 14, 2016

Daily Mail – Democratic Legislative Candidate revealed as former Playmate who posed for “Women of the Ivy League” spread when she was at Yale

Flashback – New York Times – Racial Slur Causes political turmoil for Democrats in Northwest

 

Recent AG lawsuits and other pending complaints:

AG – April 10 – AG files campaign finance complaints against two Democrat legislators and one failed Democrat Candidate

AG – AG files campaign finance complaints against Sam Hunt and Thurston Democrats

March 6, 2017 – AG lawsuit against Thurston County Democrats (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-00972-34)

December 19, 2016 -AG lawsuit against Theresa Purcell (Thurston Superior Court #16-2-04959-34)

February 24, 2017 – Attorney General lawsuit against Senator Sam Hunt (Thurston Superior Court – 17-2-00849-34)

February 24, 2017 – Attorney General lawsuit against Frank Chopp (Thurston Superior Court – #17-2-00847-34)

Tacoma News Tribune – House Speaker hit with campaign finance complaint in growing tug of war

AG – Chopp to pay $6469 over campaign finance violations

Tacoma News Tribune editorial – Stop the PDC from becoming the Petty Complaint Department

The Olympian – Speaker Chopp earned his fine

Seattle PI – Speaker Chopp will pay $6,469 in penalties for campaign reporting violations

Seattle Times – Frank Chopp pays $1700 fine over campaign finance violations

February 3, 2017 – Attorney General lawsuit against Jay Manning (Thurston superior Court)

February 9, 2017 – Jay Manning Stipulation and Agreed Judgement (Thurston superior Court)

Jay Manning skates away from transparency thanks public disclosure commission

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG press release about Jay Manning settlement

Copy of Complaint for Civil Penalties and for Injunctive Relief (State of Washington v. Jim Cooper) No #16-2-04960-34

More Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaints Against Budget and Policy Center, Thurston County Candidate Jim Cooper

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

AGO Settles Kim Wyman Campaign Finance Complaint with $10,115 settlement

This Washington State official overseas elections, and now she’s paying campaign fines

AG:  Eyman and Committees Violated Campaign Accounting and Disclosure Laws

Washington State Attorney General’s press release about lawsuit filed against Jim Cooper

Thurston County goes Independent, first time in state history

The Olympian – “Everybody is in violation of the PDC” says activist as the Attorney General files complaints

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