AG Ferguson loses another legal skirmish with Tim Eyman – strangely, no AG press release

On Friday, in Thurston County Superior Court, Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office failed in yet another attempt to charge Eyman massive fines, and charge him with contempt over another dispute about discovery documents.  Thurston Superior Court Judge Dixon slapped down the state and ruled from the bench against the State and in Eyman’s favor.  Once again, as many have begun to notice, the AG’s office didn’t put out a press release or even a Twitter post to highlight their failure.  See original Motion of Contempt against Eyman (linked here).  See Defendant Eyman’s response (linked here).

The Attorney General was represented in the courtroom by Jeffrey Sprung.  Sprung is a former failed Democratic candidate for the Washington State Auditor’s office in 2016, when his election efforts were cut short with a poor showing in the primary (23%).  Sprung has been a vocal political critic of Eyman for years, so in the increasingly politicized AG department created by Ferguson, it makes sense that Ferguson would hire hyper partisan politicians with law degrees.  

It should be noted that Sprung is also a serial violator of Washington State’s campaign finance laws himself (see this complaint filed against Sprung by this author).  However, there is no requirement that the people working at the AG’s office in the campaign finance unit be free from violating those same laws themselves.  Perhaps the AG policy now is that it is best to hire people who break the law in order to prosecute others who might have broken them.

Andrew Villeneuve – Eyman Groupee and Critic

Groupees in the Courtroom

The courtroom audience on Friday was also filled with a cast of characters who seem to be orbiting around Eyman’s solar system of travails.  Of note was the presence of Walter Smith, a former AG employee who quit late last year once he decided it was unfair for the AG’s office to sue Democrats (he believed the AG’s office should only sue Republicans and people like

Walter Smith

Eyman).  Smith’s presence in the audience was logical because he had done a lot of legwork investigating Eyman when he worked at the AG’s office.  Additionally, long-time Eyman critic Andrew Villeneuve  sat in the audience.  Mr. Villeneuve appears to have an unusually obsessive fixation on Tim Eyman and Eyman’s initiative efforts to cut taxes in Washington State.  Villeneuve has clearly dedicated his life to Eyman as a permanent critic  and groupee of sorts (this was a long drive for him to come down from King County for such disappointing results).  According to an older Seattle Met article – he may run his website Northwest Progressive Institute from his parent’s basement, which is a very frugal platform from which to demand higher taxes from everyone else.  

The AG had also issued a Tweet bragging about this motion for contempt filed against Eyman, which inspired this article in the Seattle PI.  This is in addition to the nine Eyman press releases linked below. The fact that the AG’s Communications Director – Brionna Aho was attending the hearing along with KOMO news in the lobby implied the AG had great expectations that Eyman was going to get slapped with a contempt charge.  

Alas, the expectations were dashed in a few short minutes by Judge Dixon, and it isn’t clear if these expectations were ever warranted in the first place.  The AG spent months arguing with Eyman’s attorney, Mark Lamb, over various aspects of the discovery process.  As a result, the AG pushed the court to appoint a special “Discovery Master” who is former Thurston County Superior Court Judge Gary Tabor to fill this role.  The theory of this appointment is that the court can save itself the costs and expense related to arguments over discovery documents and have an appropriate judge sort out those details for the main show in the courtroom.  

“It is somewhat ironic that the Plaintiff (AG) complains loudly of the Defendants (Eyman) not following court orders in a motion that directly contradicts an order of this Court” (Eyman response to AG contempt motion p2 – Wa State vs. Eyman)
Retired Thurston County Superior Court Judge Tabor is the “Discovery Master” in the State vs. Eyman lawsuit

The weirdness of this recent motion filed by the AG against Eyman is that the AG complains throughout the document (linked here) that Eyman was not following the law or the rules of the court.  Yet, the very contempt motion filed by the AG’s office was an attempt to circumvent the very “Discovery Master” judge system that they had so eloquently demanded just a few weeks before.  In short, the AG breaks their own court rules while complaining that the other guy is breaking the rules.  

Usually we want to believe that law, practiced at this level, is actually an intellectual chess match of sorts with dueling sides presenting facts, evidence, and points of law hoping to prevail.  While perfect justice is a bit utopian and naive, we still wish to believe at this level of the legal system that these guys are professionals – skilled in their craft and capable in their skill set.  However, as Friday’s AG fumble in the courtroom demonstrates – some of these guys don’t know what is going on either.  

“In response, the Plaintiff (AG) seeks to distract from this cold reality with colorful diagrams, breathless press releases and pleadings that paint the Defendants (Eyman) (who have undergone five sworn interviews in the past four years – including just last month – and turned over thousands of pages of highly sensitive documents) as recalcitrant scofflaws.  The Plaintiff resorts to this hyperbole because its case is weak and, unless it can distract the Court with conspiracy theories and conjecture, it will lose at trial on the facts that have been established and known by both sides for four years…” (Eyman response to AG contempt motion p2 – Wa State vs. Eyman)

Friday’s courtroom drama should be embarrassing to the AG’s office.  It certainly was a waste of time for Mr. Villeneuve to drive all that way from King County.  However, this legal decision was really just a skirmish in a fairly major court battle between AG Ferguson and Tim Eyman.  Friday went well for Eyman, and if the AG’s office was capable of being embarrassed, they would go back and rethink their ways.  Unfortunately, it isn’t their own money they are wasting (it’s ours), so this behavior will probably be repeated in the future. 

“The relief Plaintiff (AG) seeks in its motion is as extreme as its rhetoric and just as revealing of its true purpose.  Plaintiff only brought this motion after it was served with discovery requests by Defendant Eyman last month, responses to which are due 10 days after this hearing.  The State seeks in its contempt motion that which it cannot achieve through litigation on the merits of this case:  crippling fines against the Defendants and dismissal of the Defendants’ counterclaims which are focused on the Attorney General’s unlawful and self-serving conduct in this matter” (Eyman response to AG contempt motion p3- Wa State vs. Eyman) 

The Battles of Tim Eyman continue

Years ago, long before I ever met Tim Eyman, I was given a video called “the Battles of Tim Eyman.”  It was a well-produced documentary style video which covered the circus and saga that Eyman evoked every time he filed another initiative or dressed in a gorilla suit, or made the media’s head explode with some new initiative crusade against the relentless effort of government to absorb more and more of our tax dollars.  It was a sympathetic portrayal.  Eyman isn’t perfect.  Nobody is.  The documentary included many interviews with Eyman’s critics – mostly politicians.  I was surprised at how bitter and angry most of them seemed to be when they spoke of Eyman.  That personal bitterness and enmity shows no sign of abatement. 

This recent AG lawsuit against Eyman should inspire someone to make another documentary to follow up the first.  It is clear that Ferguson’s office is attempting to make THIS battle against Eyman the last one, and based on Friday’s ruling, the AG’s office is just not doing a very good job of it.  Tim Eyman’s battles are far from over.

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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:

Eyman wins major court motion against Attorney General, Ferguson could be first AG in state history forced to testify under Oath

Seattle PI – Connelly:  AG wants Eyman held in contempt, fined $2,000 a day

AG’s Motion of Contempt Against Tim Eyman (January 2018)

Eyman’s Response to AG (January 12, 2018)

Jeffrey Sprung PDC Complaint #27563

History article about King County Initiative 18 (reduce size of council)

Seattle PI – Eyman is hit with $2.1 million campaign finance lawsuit

Kiro 7 – March 31, 2017 – Video of AG Ferguson talking about Eyman lawsuit

Seattle Met – Aug 19, 2011 – “Andrew Villeneuve Takes on Tim Eyman”

The Olympian Editorial- Oct 20, 2015 – “Send Eyman’s Ideas out with the Trash”

AG Press Releases about Tim Eyman over last year

AG Press Release – “Ferguson files $2.1M Campaign Finance lawsuit against Tim Eyman”

AG Press Release – “AG Ferguson Demands Documents be disclosed in Eyman Investigation”

AG Press Release – “AG asks courts to hold Eyman, Committees, in Contempt”

AG Press Release – “AG Subpoenas enforced by court in Tim Eyman probe”

AG Press Release – “In AG Investigation, Court Finds Tim Eyman violated June 29 Order”

AG Press Release – “Tim Eyman, Committees pay AG $20K in Costs and Fees for months of delay”

AG Press Release – “AG: Judge Orders Signature Gathering Firm to disclose documents in Eyman probe”

AG Press Release – “Court rejects motion to dismiss 2 Defendants in Eyman campaign finance case”

AG Press Release – “Eyman and Committees violated campaign accounting and disclosure laws”

Cult Leader JZ Knight fails in Federal Court

The nastiest litigation saga by the most litigious cult leader – JZ Knight – finally came to an end last month.   Knight lost her final legal effort in Federal Court to turn former cult member Virginia Coverdale into a perpetual indentured servant.  Federal Judge Brian Lynch wrote in his findings of fact filed December 15th:

Federal Judge Brian D. Lynch

“Overall, this Court’s conclusion is that JZK was intent on suppressing efforts by Coverdale to expose tenets and practices of RSE because it might cause serious damage to its reputation.  JZK attempted to use its superior financial resources to intimidate its dissident ex-students by its lawsuit.  Coverdale had the temerity to defend herself in a lawsuit pursued vigorously by J.Z. Knight and JZK.”  The 31-page court findings of fact and conclusions of law document (linked here) is a damning rebuke of JZ Knight’s abusive harassment of a former cult member.

Virginia Coverdale

JZ Knight claims to channel the 35,000 year old homicidal Lemurian warrior spirit named “Ramtha.”  JZ Knight claims to channel Ramtha from her compound, located near the City of Yelm in Thurston County, Washington State.  Virginia Coverdale was a former member who left the cult and attempted to warn local government officials and current cult followers about JZ Knight’s racist and bizarre behavior.  JZ Knight initiated aggressive legal action against Coverdale in an attempt to silence her and intimidate other followers from exposing the truth about Knight.  

Coverdale had few resources and sparse legal representation during most of the five year legal drama.  JZ Knight spent nearly a million dollars to harass Coverdale over the past five years, and it is difficult to prevail in Washington State’s court system with such a disparity of resources.  Eventually Coverdale was forced into bankruptcy by Knight’s relentless legal harassment.  

“While JZK attempts to portray Coverdale’s primary purpose as an attempt to expose and discredit J.Z. Knight and RSE, that is a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.  There is more evidence that JZK used the lawsuit and the damages award as an attempt to dissuade Coverdale and other ex-RSE members from speaking out about RSE and J.Z. Knight’s statements, teachings and behaviors…”  Judge Lynch Dec 15, 2017 (Western District Federal Court Case No. 16-44453-BDL  “JZK , Inc vs. Coverdale”)

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

However, this wasn’t enough for Knight, who took the unusual step of attempting to force the Federal court to uniquely recognize Knight’s hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills as “non-dischargeable” debt.  If Knight had succeeded in this effort, Coverdale would have been forced to pay Knight for decades to reimburse the cult leader for it’s litigious harassment.  Knight claimed in court documents that Coverdale’s efforts to defend herself in court constituted “malicious defense.”  Federal Bankruptcy Judge Brian Lynch rejected Knight’s efforts in the scathing 31-page decision (linked here).

Obama and JZ Knight are close (JZ Knight/Ramtha on the right, with her granddaughter in the middle)

Knight was first publicly exposed in 2012 when videos were posted on Youtube showing her racist and hateful speeches about Mexicans, Catholics, Jews, and others.  Knight was one of the largest donors to the Washington State Democratic Party at the time, and was on President Obama’s state reelection committee.  Shortly after these videos were released, the Washington State Democratic Party divested themselves from JZ Knight and her Ramtha cash stash.  Coverdale released one of the original videos exposing Knight at the time.  This author, receiving additional videos from former cult members also released additional videos.  Litigation against everyone the spirit channeler didn’t like was JZ Knight’s reflexive response.  

US Federal CourtHouse in downtown Tacoma

Judge Lynch effectively summarized Coverdale’s JZ Knight lawsuit drama in his final decision.  This author’s lawsuit experience was less dramatic.  Just a wasteful and foolish effort by Knight to pretend she had some type of copyright protection for her racist speeches in Federal Court.  After floundering through the early stages of what was certain to be an epic legal disaster, Knight dropped her lawsuit against this author and the Freedom Foundation, which employed me at the time.  

Former Democrat Thurston County Commissioner Sandra Romero on stage at the Ramtha compound with JZ Knight seated behind her in 2012.

Knight spent an impressive fortune attempting to mitigate and reduce the public exposure of her racist tirades.  Her threats of litigation against Youtube, Vimeo, and other video service providers ensured that the videos would be hard to find on the internet.  Additionally, her threats against local governments also ensured they would not expose her weird, racist behavior.  

Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall’s political campaign was funded by JZ Knight

Her attempt to control the Democratic Party did not stop there, however.  The Washington State Democratic Party was wise enough to avoid overtly tainting themselves by further association with the cult leader and the ancient warrior spirit named Ramtha.  However, the Thurston County Democratic Party was less discriminating.  From 2014 to 2016 the Thurston County Democrats and their local candidates continued to accept over $216,000 worth of donations and support from Knight.  JZ Knight/Ramtha was the largest donor to the Thurston County Democratic Party in its entire history.  These local candidates included Olympia City Council member Jim Cooper, failed Thurston

JZ Knight gave lots of cash to Democratic politicians and the Thurston County Democrats

County Commissioner candidate Kelsey Hulse, Thurston County Auditor Mary Hall, and 22nd Leg District Representative Dolan from Olympia.  Additionally, Knight funded a local failed political action committee called “People for Thurston PAC” which was managed by Jay Manning, the former Director of the Washington State Department of Ecology and former Chief of Staff for former Governor Gregoire

 

The price for selling out to JZ Knight/Ramtha 

The association with JZ Knight and her shady political cash also appeared to have legal repercussions for most of the candidates she supported.  For example:

Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse – both Democrat candidates for Thurston County Commissioner seats in 2016. Both funded by JZ Knight, both lost their races, and both were sued by the Attorney General for campaign finance violations.
  • The Thurston County Democrats were sued by the Washington State Attorney General for campaign finance violations based on a series of complaints filed by this author.  They remain in litigation.  The previous chair, Katie Nelson resigned.
  • Olympia City Councilman Jim Cooper lost his 2016 campaign to become Thurston County Commissioner.  He was also sued by the Washington State Attorney General for campaign finance violations based on complaints filed by this author.  He remains in litigation today.  He has also continued to violate the law during his recent re-election campaign to the Olympia City Council.
  • Kelsey Hulse failed in her campaign to become Thurston County Commissioner in 2016.  She was also sued by the Attorney General based on a complaint
    Jay Manning speaking in Marrakesh, Morocco at a US government sponsored event on climate change. Jay Manning ran JZ Knight’s Cult Cash sponsored PAC in 2016, and was also sued by the Attorney General for campaign finance violations.

    filed by this author.  She recently settled this lawsuit after paying a fine.

  • Jay Manning, in addition to being sued by the Attorney General for his own failure to follow Washington State’s campaign finance laws based on a complaint filed by this author, was also forced to settle an additional lawsuit for a wide variety of campaign finance violations he committed while directing Knight’s failed Cult PAC effort in Thurston County.  Strangely, the Washington State Democratic Party financially bailed him out of the fines and penalties.

    Representative Laurie Dolan (22nd LD) took cash from JZ Knight
  • Representative Dolan is also a serious violator of the state’s campaign finance laws during her 2016 election campaign based on a complaint also filed by this author.

Knight’s efforts to control Thurston County after she had purchased the loyalty and support of the Thurston County Democrats appear to have failed for now, but she continued to litigate, threaten, and harass Coverdale in order to ensure that the steady stream of cult members who were leaving Ramtha’s orbit would remain silent as they departed.  No kiss and tell memoirs here.  The message was heard loud and clear, and to JZ Knight and Ramtha, it was worth the cash Knight squandered in the process.

JZ Knight is angry at the world and thanks to Virginia Coverdale won’t be viewed as just another eccentric, weird cult leader anymore.

The final effort to put Coverdale in permanent indentured servitude to Ramtha has failed.  Coverdale, a single mom who dared to stand up to a wealthy, powerful cult figure, should feel vindicated after this final stage of the legal marathon has concluded.  It has taken its toll on Coverdale for sure, but there are very few left in Thurston County who see Knight as just another weird, eccentric, harmless fringe mystic living behind the walls of her compound in Yelm.  Most people now see this Cult leader as the weird, racist, vindictive person she is.

Gordon (Boudicca) Walsh is the new Thurston County Democratic Party Chair, and while Walsh self identifies as a Trans Radical Witch – not a big fan of Cult leader JZ Knight

Even the Thurston County Democrats are avoiding the allure of cult cash this time around.  Recently elected Democrat Chair Boudicca Walsh, a self described Trans Radical Witch, is no fan of the JZ Knight/Ramtha Cult.  Boudicca appears to be steering clear of the drama and strings that cult cash would bring.  This is just another reason, among many, that Boudicca Walsh is this author’s favorite Democratic County Party Chair in the entire State of Washington.

The people of Thurston County and Washington State should thank Coverdale for persevering through this nasty, bullying legal assault by Knight.  Coverdale can finally move on with her life.  Knight will continue to fleece her followers of their hard earned cash during her secretive and hidden Ramtha channeling tirades – while hopefully making some effort to avoid too many more racist tirades.  

The Democratic Party will work hard to bury its past association with this diminishing cult leader (the cash was great while it lasted). It finally took a fearless woman willing to expose Knight for who she really was for people to notice.  It finally took a clear eyed Federal judge to put an end to the legal warfare conducted by this wealthy cult leader. And, finally it took a Trans Radical Witch to stand up to a racist Cult leader claiming to channel a 35,000 year old warrior spirit named Ramtha in order for the Democratic Party to go cold turkey from the cult cash.

Nobody can ever claim the political scene in Thurston County is boring.

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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 (Additional Source Docs Below):

Trans Radical Witch of Olympia Leads Democratic Party – Just Awesome

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

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

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”

Supporting Documents:

Federal District Court – JZ Knight, Inc vs. Virginia Coverdale – (Case No. 16-44453-BDL , FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW)

Thurston County Democrats Campaign Finance Lawsuit – Original AG lawsuit – March 6, 2017 – Thurston County Superior Court #17-2-00972-34 (Same Document can be downloaded from this site here)

Thurston County Democratic Commissioner candidate Jim Cooper Campaign Finance Lawsuit – Original AG lawsuit – December 19, 2016 – Thurston County Superior Court #16-2-04960-34 (Same Document can be downloaded from this site here)

Thurston County Democratic Commissioner candidate Kelsey Hulse Campaign Finance Lawsuit – Original AG Lawsuit – Feb 24, 2017 – Thurston County Superior Court #17-2-00848-34

Thurston County Democratic Commissioner candidate Kelsey Hulse Campaign Finance Lawsuit – Final Settlement – March 2, 2017 – Thurston County Superior Court #17-2-00848-34 (Same Document can be downloaded from this site here)

Jay Manning/JZ Knight SuperPAC “People for Thurston PAC” – Financial Disclosure Documents (C3) filed with the PDC August 11, 2017 – shows $5,320 donation from Washington State Party (Same Document can be downloaded from this site here)

Jay Manning/JZ Knight SuperPAC “People for Thurston PAC” – Final Settlement – August 24, 2017 – Thurston County Superior Court #17-2-02568-34 

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 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

(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.  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, and Senator Sam Hunt, among others.  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.  Life can truly be stranger than fiction).

Shelton City Council candidate says two of his favorite things are cocaine and half naked girls

Jason “Dangercup” Coots (Source: Facebook)

(Disclaimer – images and content may not be appropriate for young or sensitive viewers – reader discretion advised) 

In Washington State, City Council candidate Jason “Dangercup” Coots is on the ballot for the special election February 13th in the City of Shelton. In addition to aspiring to become one of Shelton’s next City Councilmembers, Mr. “Dangercup” Coots, according to his Facebook account, also says that two of his “…favorite things are cocaine and half naked girls.”  It remains to be seen whether the voters of Shelton share Mr. “Dangercup” Coots’ passions, but we will find out next month.

Mr. “Dangercup” Coot’s quixotic campaign for public office began last year.  The City of Shelton was one of the last cities in Washington State that still had a traditional three commissioner form of government.  Last November, city voters approved “Proposition 1” which changed the structure of the city government from three elected officials to seven.  This means that in February, the new four elected positions are on the ballot, and the free-for-all scramble to fill the positions is happening next month.  

All four positions are contested with at least three candidates running for each position.  For position #4, Jason “Dangercup” Coots is facing two other challengers, which means this race will be a primary election and the top two vote getters move on to a general (final) election in April.  Judging from the recent political scandals and drama in Shelton, this election is sure to be colorful and entertaining.  Jason “Dangercup” Coots helps add additional drama to the local political scene, beyond the cool nickname.  While “Dangercup” is prominently displayed in his campaign logo, sign, and website, he dropped it for his ballot listing, and is running for office under the more pedestrian name “Jason Coots,” which might confuse some people.

According to Jason’s Facebook page, despite living in Shelton, he considered moving to Miami a few years ago because his two favorite things were “cocaine and half naked women.”  Additionally, when throwing parties in Shelton, he claims to have invited the state’s sex offenders to a party with “hookers, drugs, guns, live music, you name it.”  If Mr. “Dangercup” Coots is successful in his effort to become Shelton’s newest councilmember, his extra curricular activities may ensure you will never look at Pineapple juice the same again.  Mr Coots did not attempt to purge and scrub his Facebook account of any references to cocaine, drugs, sex offenders, hookers, half naked women, and other entertaining subjects, which allows them to be viewed by anyone with access to Facebook.

The City of Shelton has been rocked by scandals related to violations of the Open Public Meetings Act, some Public Records Act violations and some serious fiscal challenges, which led, in part, to the motivation of the voters to change the local form of government.  This is a classic case of a local scandal producing real change.  According to Mr. “Dangercup” Coot’s website, he was heavily involved in exposing these problems with the council, and he also filed a PDC complaint (linked here) against one of the incumbent council members.  

We’re fans of local citizens getting involved in local politics.  We also support local citizens exposing problems in local government.  While “Dangercup” may not fit the mold of a typical political candidate, at least the voters of Shelton can’t claim their candidates were “all the same.” Mr. “Dangercup” Coot’s website carries the tagline “Everyone is a tough guy till it’s time to do tough guy stuff.”  We will have to wait until February to see if the voters of Shelton believe Mr. “Dangercup” Coots is tough enough for the Shelton City Council.

(Please note, this article was changed after it was originally posted – the candidate, Mr. “Dangercup” Coots contacted the author and he has clarified that he did not scrub or erase anything from his Facebook pages, and it is all still there (he has multiple pages), also the original story erroneously identified 5 positions up for grabs, when there are actually 4)

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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 links:

Election Results November 2017 – Prop1 in City of Shelton

Explanation Sheet for Proposition 1 (2017) in Shelton

PDC complaint filed by Jason “Dangercup” Coonts against Shelton Commissioner Gary Cronce

List of candidates running for the Shelton City Council (February 2018)

Interview with Jason Dangercup on Youtube (iFiberone News Radio)

Jason “Dangercup” Coots website (campaign site too?)

 

 

The phony water crisis continues, legislative style, Hirst Heist rolls on

Everyone wants a piece

Yesterday, the Washington State Legislature started the new Legislative session with great ceremony and fanfare in Olympia.  On the first day of session, every year, the legislators walk down the aisle, Democrats on the left, Republicans on the right as they stride to their respective seats.  The flag ceremony, the anthem, new leadership sworn in, newly electeds recognized by their peers, and the visitor’s gallery is filled to capacity.  Thus begins the clock for the countdown to the end of the “short” session.  Every second that ticks by, a certain sense of urgency grips the state.  From long, painful experience we know our freedoms and our pocketbooks will not be safe as long as the legislature remains in session in Olympia. Most people are hoping this session will indeed be “short” and adjourn on time in early March, because in the words of Gideon J. Tucker, “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.”

Environmental groups and government agencies have taken this to heart

However, there was unfinished business from the “long” session in 2017, and one of the more controversial issues to resolve was how to respond to the “Hirst Decision.” In fact, the first hearing scheduled in the State Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources, and Parks Committee was dedicated to SB 6091, which was misleadingly titled “ensuring that water is available to support development.”  It was trumpeted by Washington State Democrats as a “Hirst Fix,” but the details in the proposed bill (linked here), fixed nothing.  However, they do make the damaging fallout from the Hirst decision worse.

The Hirst Heist – inventing legislation by the Supreme Court

The Hirst decision was just another terrible example of the Supreme Court ruling in favor of well-funded special interests and inventing new law by legislating from the bench.

The Hirst Decision was another terrible Washington State Supreme Court decision and we’ve written about it before (linked here and here).   The Washington State Supreme Court issued the decision October 6, 2016 (linked here), which effectively threw out over 100 years of water law in Washington State, destroyed Washington State’s exempt well statute, and has provided one more tool for the state to abuse rural residents of Washington State.  This lawsuit originated in Whatcom County and was one of hundreds of lawsuits filed by Futurewise using the Growth Management Act to destroy small communities.

Futurewise claims to be an “environmental” organization, but appears to just enjoy forcing people to live the way their wealthy donors demand and they clearly relish the harm they inflict on the poorer residents of this state.  In fact, based on the testimony at this hearing, Futurewise, Sierra Club, and CELP (another part of Gang Green) seemed to try to outdo each other in an effort to demand even greater pain and suffering be inflicted on the property owners of the state. Their collective minds were angered by the possibility that property owners would be allowed to water gardens or even have enough water to live outside of urban apartment complexes.

The Washington State Department of Ecology was involved and strongly supported this bill, of course, in no small part because the $200 million bonded debt would help inspire another DOE spending spree on studies and “mitigation” grant scams around the state.

Dept of Ecology Director Maia Bellon

Director Bellon was more circumspect this time around than she was in her testimony December 12th when the first proposed draft of this harmful bill was unveiled.  At that hearing, Director Bellon was rightfully castigated for offering to find a “modicum” of water which she would deign to “allow” chosen property owners to have.  Maybe.  If she thought them worthy.  These agencies will tell you what they really think if you pay attention.  In their world, we are all just peasants and perhaps they will let us eat cake with a drop of water or two.

 

The hearing room on Monday looked like this for the first hour as the Senators failed to show up. The packed house audience was waiting.

Tardy Senators – Let the people wait

One of the more obnoxious aspects of yesterday’s hearing (video link here) was the fact that the hearing room was filled past capacity with standing room only and the Senators were nowhere to be found.  Apparently there was a Senate rule fight (The new Democrat Majority couldn’t find 25 votes) the first few minutes of the legislative session and the people who had driven many hours from Spokane, Whatcom, Kitsap, King, and Skagit counties had to twiddle their thumbs surfing their smartphones for over an hour before the Senators showed up.  This is an uncommon occurrence, and it was pretty insulting to regular citizens.  The lobbyists and special interests can hack it – they get paid to do so.  However, for the regular citizens whose freedoms and future are so casually trampled by the bureaucrats and politicians, this was not a great way to start the session. A variety of organizations were strongly opposed to the bill including Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (where this author is the Executive Director), Kitsap Alliance for Property Owners, the Farm Bureau, and a variety of building and agricultural groups.  All property owners who attended and spoke at the hearing were opposed.

Of course, sometimes you just have to step back and look at this whole “water crisis” and see it for what it is.  A manufactured “crisis” about nothing real, but a lot of special interests believe they can use it to their advantage and profit.

Are we really running out of water?

Let’s look at the “water crisis” which the “enviro” groups claim is upon us.  Are we really running out of water?  On a planet-wide basis, of course not.  Despite the lack of education on the subject, and purposeful science-denying ignorance being fostered by the environmental special interests, nature has been recycling long before it was cool and a part of a virtue signaling lifestyle.  The water cycle ensures that between evaporation, precipitation, gravity, and other natural functions, our water stays on our planet and with the possible exception of our space program and the occasional alien conspiracy theory, we can use it to survive and thrive forever.

In addition to the water cycle ensuring we keep the water we have on our planet, this chart below also clearly illustrates the absurdity of the Hirst controversy. 71% of the surface of our earth is covered by water, and 96.5% of that water is salt water in our oceans. Only 2.5% of the water in the world is considered fresh water.  Of that 2.5%, about 68.7% is frozen in glaciers or the ice caps.  Over 30.1% is in the ground, and only about 1.2% is considered surface or other freshwater.  Of that 1.2%, only 0.49% can be found in rivers and streams.

And if that’s not enough water, consider some recent findings reveal that somewhere between one to three times the world ocean’s equivalent of water is locked-up in the mantle transition zone from 410 to 660 km deep. So our world is literally saturated in water, yet because of the state’s terrible Supreme Court “Hirst” Decision we are fighting over a tiny microscopic percentage of surface water, which thanks to the water cycle, is seasonally flowing in our streams and rivers.

Fake science leads to stupid policy and even worse legislation

We all appreciate this water, but due to some very faulty and fishy pseudo-science and sloppy studies from the 1970s through the 1990s, an effort to catalog “minimum instream flow” was invented and assigned to many of these rivers and streams.  Few questioned the validity or significance of these taxpayer subsidized studies at the time.  Without much attention paid to seasonal changes, natural climate change, or historical realities, the opportunity to use this data as a way to invent a permanent, frozen-in-time statistic, this faulty data is now used as a club to beat rural property owners.

Since rural property owners used permit exempt wells to survive, water their animals, water their gardens, and live, and they were dispersed across the landscape, they would be the first victims of the new “water crisis.”  After all, they take water deep from under the ground.  Perhaps, over time, some of those molecules of water removed by a rural well could have a molecule of impact on a stream or river somewhere.  Maybe.  It can’t really be proven, but computer models insist it is so. In fact, a court decided that if it was even distantly possible, it must be a “threat” to the water level in the river and therefore of the salmon swimming in that river.  Despite the fact that under almost all serious reviews, the total exempt well water usage in Washington State is at most less than 1% of the total water being used, THIS, above all else, must be stopped.  It must be regulated.  It must be reduced.  It must become a source of profit for the water bankers.

The absurdity has only expanded from there.  Like a bunch of ravenous hyenas, a variety of special interests are seeing green in the ability to steal water from the rural property owner, despite the de minimis impact they could ever conceivably have on the salmon habitat.  These special interests are primarily driven by Gang Green (Futurewise, Sierra Club, CELP, etc), their temporary allies the Tribes (particularly the Swinomish, Lummi, among others), the Department of Ecology (anything to grow the budget, power, and size of the agency), and water speculators hoping to profit from water banking and mitigation schemes around the state.

But let’s back up and challenge some of those initial assumptions on which Hirst was decided. Remember that 30.1% of ground water mentioned above? The vast majority of that water flows sub-surface into the ocean, not rivers and streams. The Hirst decision blatantly ignores that fact. You can’t make a decision about where water “should” go if you don’t know where it actually goes. So when rural property owners use wells to lift water from a confined aquifer to the surface, they are actually increasing instream flow, not reducing it. This is a totally ignored aspect of hydrology, which needs to be disclosed and discussed this year when considering Hirst “fixes” in the legislature.

There is no water crisis.  We have plenty of water and in most cases rural wells are helping, not harming, instream flow.  However, in those cases where a shortage might exist in some specific location,  engineering solutions can be found.  They are genuine challenges that can be met and solved through human ingenuity and problem solving.  However, the profiteers and grifters who support Hirst wouldn’t be in business if they solved real world problems.  The legislature is in session, and our freedoms and pocketbooks are at risk, and the jackals are circling.  They have donated cash to most of the Democrats to ensure they get their way and their profits.  So abusing poor and helpless rural property owners seems like a safe and cheap bet.  Anything honest legislators can do to stop the Hirst Heist in progress right now would be greatly welcome.

____________________________________________________________________

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

Referenced Source Documents:

Washington State Supreme Court Decision (including Dissent) Hirst v.  W. Washington Hearings Board – Oct 6, 2016

If link to Supreme Court is down or they hide the case, you can also download it here

SB 6091 – Proposed Senate bill which will make the Hirst Fix worse (2018)

Video link to SB 6091 – January 8 public hearing (author speaks at 1:14:25)

HB 1348 – Proposed bill in house which would fix Hirst (2017)

HB 1349 – Another proposed bill which would fix Hirst (2017)

SB 5239 – Senate bill which did pass Senate only – which would partly, temporarily address Hirst (passed on mostly partisan vote) (2017)

Spokane County Public Notice regarding Hirst Decision

Whatcom County temporary response to Hirst Decision

Western Water Law and Policy Reporter (May 2015):  article after Futurewise lost in appeals – interesting reference before Supreme Court Decision

Other Commentary on Hirst Decision:

The Capital Press – “Democrats’ well bill seen as too stingy with water”

Spokesman Review – “Landowners need more than a ‘modicum’ of water”

The Capital Press – “Key Republican pans House Democrats’ new Hirst plan”

The Hirst Heist and our diminishing legislature

Hirst Decision by supreme court unleashes the wrath of Futurewise upon property owners

The Daily World:  “Hirst decision is about control, not water”

Seattle Times Opinion:  Fix Cout Decision:  Property Without Water is Worthless

Capital Press:  Fallout over Water Ruling Heats up in Washington

The Lens:  Potential “Hirst Fix” passes Washington State Senate

Washington State Wire “Hirst could be the tipping point for state’s endangered rural Democrats”

Futurewise Press Release about Hirst

Capital Press:  Washington Supreme Court casts doubt on new wells

Washington Policy Center:  Washington Supreme Court takes the liberty to make a policy decision it should not have made

Yakima Herald – Yakima County eyes fees on new wells

Other Background articles:

Whatcom County Planning Director hired by City of Bellingham (before he filed lawsuit against Whatcom County)

Gang Green and the Government Staff Infection

Stifling Human Ingenuity 

Don’t forget – Futurewise and the Gang Green crew have their Green eyes on you and what they can take from you

Washington AG forced to sue labor group, keeps $36K settlement very quiet

The Washington & Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers PAC recently settled a campaign finance lawsuit brought by the Washington State Attorney General’s office in Thurston County Superior Court (linked here), based on a campaign finance complaint filed by this author (linked here).  The final settlement was signed September 22nd of last year.  The AG issued no press release about this settlement, made no Twitter announcement, and waited three months to post the final settlement information on their successful campaign finance enforcement page (linked here).  

AG Ferguson wants to keep suits against Democrats quiet

The lawsuit included a $30,695 fine ($15,347.50 payable to the state immediately, with the rest suspended assuming they do not violate the campaign finance laws again over the next four years), plus payment of $5,615 for the state’s attorney fees and costs.  This labor council PAC had committed the following violations of Washington State’s campaign finance laws:

  • Failed to file timely and accurate reports of contributions – totalling more than 20 reports over 2,893 days late, which were designed to hide a total of $350,855.06 in donations from public scrutiny
  • Failed to file timely and accurate reports of expenditures (mostly donations to candidates) – totalling more than 16 reports over 2,526 days late, which were designed to hide and obscure at least $226,600.00 in contributions to political candidates or committees

The Attorney General was forced to file this lawsuit based on a Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) complaint filed against this political committee by this author on May 22nd of last year (original complaint linked here).  The AG filed the lawsuit on August 1st of last year (linked here).

Background on this lawsuit

Attorney General Bob Ferguson campaigned for reelection in 2016 in part on his willingness to more aggressively pursue violations of the state’s campaign finance law.  This author was inspired, in part, to help point out the many violations committed by a variety of politicians and political committees in the state by AG Ferguson’s campaign promises.  Local Democrat State Senator Sam Hunt, also provided encouragement to better understand these laws.  In additional, the Washington State Democratic Party also helped inspire this effort in their own way by filing lawsuits and PDC complaints against this author last year (in addition to a documented death threat by one of the local Democrat Party officials). 

A proposed new logo for the Washington State Democratic Party

One unanticipated outcome of this effort was the large number of politicians and committees affiliated with the Washington State Democratic Party who had committed serious violations of the state’s campaign finance law.  Most of these organizations and politicians endorsed Ferguson during his election campaign in 2016.  This fact created tension at the AG’s office as at least one attorney quit because he felt it was “unfair” to sue Democrats.  Additionally, the AG’s office has, for now, stopped suing Democrat politicians or candidates since last August despite being formally notified of over 100 well-documented campaign finance cases which, based on the significance and size of the violations, would normally have merited legal action by Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office in the recent past.  

Going media silent on successful lawsuits against Democrats and affiliated organizations.

Interestingly, the Attorney General’s office has quietly implemented a “media silent” campaign about settlements and lawsuits against Democrats and Democrat supporting organizations.  This is particularly notable for Ferguson because his office has been so prolific with media press conferences, press releases and public announcements in most of his legal cases.  Traditionally, the AG would issue press releases for every successful settlement or lawsuit filed by the campaign finance unit.  

When Republicans or conservative/center leaning groups were sued, they often benefited from large volumes of press releases.  For example, Kim Wyman, Republican Secretary of State received excellent coverage (press releases here, here, and here).  Another example would be the 9 press releases gleefully issued about Tim Eyman (the initiative guy hated by Democrats) linked at the end of this article.  Also, the Freedom Foundation received extensive AG press coverage (see here, here, and here).  However, when settlements of lawsuits have been made against the Pierce County Democrats, Senator Sam Hunt (D, Olympia), Rep Strom Peterson (D), Snohomish Superior Court Judge LarsonRepresentative Jeff Morris (D),  and now the Washington Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers PAC there were no press releases issued.  Not one.  A few were announced briefly on Twitter, but for the most part, the AG is keeping these litigation successes as quiet as possible.

It is also worth noting, while the Washington State Democrats have attempted to orchestrate a fraudulent conveyance scheme among their local political committees in order to avoid legal liability for the sin of violating the state’s campaign finance laws, they can once again learn from their friends and financiers at the Washington & Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers PAC about how to properly and legally settle these types of cases without resorting to fraudulent behavior.

______________________________________________

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

Additional Background articles and documents:

Original PDC complaint filed by this author against the Washington & Northern Idaho District Council of Laborers PAC ( you can also download a copy linked here)

Original lawsuit filed by AG against WNIDCL PAC (you can also download a copy linked here)

Final settlement of AG lawsuit filed against WNIDCL PAC (you can also download a copy linked here)

Tukwila Firefighters for Democracy PAC – final stipulation and agreed judgement filed in Thurston County Superior Court December 11, 2017

Original PDC complaint filed with PDC  (you can also download a copy linked here)

Jay Manning fined for Cult PAC violations, State Democratic Party pays the tab

Democratic Party attacks campaign transparency in Washington

Dem PACs dissolve after campaign finance complaints

The Scorched wasteland of Washington’s campaign finance laws

AG Press Releases about Tim Eyman over last year

AG Press Release – “Ferguson files $2.1M Campaign Finance lawsuit against Tim Eyman”

AG Press Release – “AG Ferguson Demands Documents be disclosed in Eyman Investigation”

AG Press Release – “AG asks courts to hold Eyman, Committees, in Contempt”

AG Press Release – “AG Subpoenas enforced by court in Tim Eyman probe”

AG Press Release – “In AG Investigation, Court Finds Tim Eyman violated June 29 Order”

AG Press Release – “Tim Eyman, Committees pay AG $20K in Costs and Fees for months of delay”

AG Press Release – “AG: Judge Orders Signature Gathering Firm to disclose documents in Eyman probe”

AG Press Release – “Court rejects motion to dismiss 2 Defendants in Eyman campaign finance case”

AG Press Release – “Eyman and Committees violated campaign accounting and disclosure laws”

Tukwila Firefighters PAC settles campaign finance lawsuit for $23k, promises to do better

The Tukwila Firefighters for Democracy Political Action Committee recently settled a campaign finance lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court.  The final settlement was signed December 8th, and it included a $19,038.25 fine ( $4,759.56 payable to the state immediately, with the rest suspended assuming they do not violate the campaign finance laws again over the next four years), plus payment of $4,300 for attorney fees and costs.  The Tukwila Firefighters for Democracy PAC had committed the following violations of Washington State’s campaign finance laws:

  • Failed to file timely and accurate reports of expenditures and contributions – totalling more than 40 reports over 5,638 days late, which were designed to hide a total of $10,565 from public scrutiny
  • Failed to accurately report debt so that the public and other donors could understand to whom and for what these debts were owed
  • Failed to legally break down expenditures, which hid the true purpose of these expenditures from the public
  • Failed to accurately identify the officers who were running this PAC.  These documents hadn’t been updated since 2012, and the listed officers had moved out of the state. Secret PAC officers are not allowed to spend political funds.
  • Illegal expenditure of PAC funds by non-officers.  All the money raised and spent by this PAC was done by nobody the public could identify.  
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson says he cares about campaign finance laws, but he has been too busy to deal with all of the political committees who break the law.

Based on a Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) complaint filed against this political committee by this author in July, and the failure of the Washington State Attorney General’s office to prosecute this case, the lawsuit “State of Washington ex. Rel Glen Morgan vs. the Tukwila Firefighters for Democracy PAC” was filed in Thurston County Superior Court on October 19th.  

The suspended portion of this fine ($14,278.69) will remain suspended contingent on the ability of the Tukwila Firefighters for Democracy PAC to go forth and sin no more.  If no further violations of RCW 42.17A occur between now and December 8, 2021, then this suspended portion of the fine will be dismissed.  The fine is paid to the Washington State general fund, where it disappears like a drop in the ocean.  Nobody really knows where it goes from there.

While the Washington State Democrats have attempted to orchestrate a fraudulent conveyance scheme among their local political committees in order to avoid legal liability for the sin of violating the state’s campaign finance laws, they can learn from their friends at the Tukwila Firefighters for Democracy PAC about how adults settle these types of lawsuits.  

______________________________________________

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

Additional Background articles and documents:

Tukwila Firefighters for Democracy PAC – final stipulation and agreed judgement filed in Thurston County Superior Court December 11, 2017

Original PDC complaint filed with PDC  (you can also download a copy linked here)

Jay Manning fined for Cult PAC violations, State Democratic Party pays the tab

Democratic Party attacks campaign transparency in Washington

Dem PACs dissolve after campaign finance complaints

The Scorched wasteland of Washington’s campaign finance laws

Democratic Party attacks campaign transparency in Washington

A proposed new logo for the Washington State Democratic Party

In a stunning public reversal of their public statements about campaign finance laws, the Washington State Democratic Party is declaring war on the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.  Concerns have been raised by conservative and socialist activists alike, but Tina Podlodowski, chair of the Washington State Democratic Party appears determined to

Tina Podlodowski as Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party has been leading the attack on the Public Disclosure Commission now that she has been caught violating the law.

destroy the foundation of the state’s campaign finance laws by promoting and financially benefiting from the dissolution of local Democratic Party Political Committees in a conspiracy to evade legal liability.  If the Democratic Party succeeds in this fraudulent conveyance scheme, there will no longer be a reason for the Public Disclosure Commission to exist.

It is no longer a party secret that nearly every Democratic Party affiliated political committee has violated the state’s campaign finance laws.  This has been common practice for years.  However, this is the first time these violations have been exposed for public consumption.  This exposure of violations began as this author, following the law as defined in RCW 42.17A,  filed complaints against these organizations with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC).  Partly, these violations are habitual and partly they are just the culture of politics in Washington State.

Have the Campaign Finance laws become “Weaponized?”

The Democrats are not alone in violating the state’s campaign finance laws, as evidenced by a recent lawsuit filed by the State’s Attorney General’s office against the Clark County Republicans, however, this may be the first time since these laws were drafted in 1972 that anybody bothered to call attention to the serious violations committed by these political committees routinely for decades.  

Historically, the Democratic Party in Washington State was the leading organization filing complaints against Republicans, and they never complained in the past that the law was “weaponized.”  As just a small abbreviated sampling of a few examples:

State Democrats filed a PDC complaint against Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman in 2016 during her re-election.
  • State Democratic Party filed a 2016 PDC complaint against Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman which resulted in an AG lawsuit and settlement during her campaign for re-election last year (see AG press releases herehere, and here)
  • Paid State Dem Party staffer Mina Mercer filed many PDC complaints against Republican candidates or committees in 2016 (linked here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)
  • Paid State Dem Party staffer Alex Bond filed many PDC complaints against Republican candidates or committees in 2016 and 2017 (some examples are linked here, here, and here)
  • King County Dem Chair Bailey Stober filed PDC complaint against Republican JT Wilcox in 2017 (linked here)
  • The King County Democratic
    Republican Susan Hutchison received a large campaign finance complaint filed by the King County Democrats when she ran for the King County Council in 2009.  No Democrats complained about “weaponizing” the PDC back then.

    Party filed PDC complaint against Susan Hutchinson during her campaign for the King County Council in 2008 (see article linked here)

  • 40 different Citizen Action Notices filed by the Washington State Democratic Party against Republican legislators and Senators in November of 2017
  • State Democratic Party Chairman Jaxon Ravens filed PDC complaint against Republican candidate for Governor Bill Bryant in 2016 (linked here)
  • A variety of complaints filed by Democrat 7th Legislative District candidate Karen Hardy against Republican legislators in 2017 (examples linked here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)
  • Complaints filed by Jessica LeVigne, Washington State House Democratic Campaign Committee paid staffer in 2016 (examples linked here, here, here, and here)

The Republicans rarely, if ever, responded in kind, so the Washington State Democratic Party celebrated the work of the PDC and State AG Bob Ferguson’s more aggressive posture in enforcing campaign finance rules.  Filing complaints was just their civic duty.  All was well in the political world.

Now that the State Democratic Party, their affiliated political committees, candidates, politicians, judges, and even Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson himself  have been exposed by this author for violating these same laws, there is a hue and cry that the law has been “weaponized.” (see this recent article in the Spokesman Review).  However, it has become self-evident that these campaign finance laws are only “weaponized” when your political friends get caught.  If this was the extent of their reaction, this would just be another political story about hypocrisy.  However, the State Democratic Party decided to destroy the very campaign finance system they once claimed to support, and they are breaking many more laws in the process.

Power Grab by Democratic Party establishment?

There is something not very transparent in the State Democrat Party’s actions

As reported previously, the State Democrats have decided the best course of action is to dissolve many of their local political committees who have been caught violating the law.  In the process of this dissolution, the State Party becomes the recipient of the campaign funds these groups had in their bank account.  Additionally, the local committees shift the balance of these fund to the State Democratic Party’s subsidized law firm.  This is clearly illegal and is called fraudulent conveyance.  The Island County Democratic Party, the 43rd Legislative District Democrats, and the 11th Legislative District Democrats have all taken this questionable path based on the fraudulent conveyance scheme constructed by the state party.  

A new proposed slogan for the Washington State Democrats

However, many local Democratic Party committees have wisely rejected this option.  Some, including the Thurston County Democrats (who are currently defending themselves from a lawsuit brought by the AG’s office for their campaign finance violations, initiated by a complaint originally filed by this author) are publicly opposing this effort.  They rightly see this fraudulent conveyance scheme as a power grabbing effort by the state party to wrest local control from many of the local Democratic Party organizations.  Many of these groups are now being led by former supporters of Bernie Sanders.  The Bernie supporters understandably view their grip on political power as a bit tenuous and under frequent attack by the more “establishment” Democrat power brokers.

Attack on the PDC

The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) was established as the non-partisan and independent public entity which was tasked with both storing the campaign finance public records (over 5 million documents right now and growing), and with enforcing the statute when violations occur.  This fraudulent conveyance scheme invented and orchestrated by the State Democratic Party is a clear and present danger to the very existence of the PDC, and since 1972, no threat to the PDC has been greater than this scheme.  This is why.

If the “dissolve and disappear” fraudulent conveyance scheme being orchestrated by the Washington State Democratic Party were to succeed, then there would be no reason to even bother filing any documents with the PDC.  Any group could just take a million dollars, launch a major political campaign, run the campaign for 4 months, get sued by someone for violating the campaign disclosure laws, and then the political group could just “dissolve and disappear” to avoid legal liability.  Then, the same group could start a new campaign

Gordon (Boudicca) Walsh is the new Thurston County Democratic Party Chair, and a self described Trans Radical Witch. Boudicca is one of the few local Democrat leaders willing to openly confront State Democratic leaders about their effort to destroy transparency. Sometimes it takes a witch to speak truth to power.

under a different name the next day and keep the roller coaster going.  Why would anyone bother to jump through the crazy hoops of following any campaign finance laws?  Obviously they wouldn’t.  This concern was expressed by this author during the recent public comment period at the PDC (video linked here, starting at about 8 minutes) and written comment was submitted as well (linked here).  

Despite frequent requests for public comment or position statements from the Washington State Attorney General’s office, there has been no public statement in opposition to this fraudulent conveyance scheme.  Just the sound of silence.

When the Chair of the Thurston County Democrats, Boudicca Walsh, confronted Tina Podlodowski on Facebook recently about this scheme and expressed concerns, Walsh made the statement, “This is not the political revolution I asked for.”

Boudicca and I most likely do not agree on much, but these actions by the Washington State Democrats attempting to destroy the very fabric of transparency in Washington State’s campaign finance laws certainly doesn’t represent the political revolution any of us asked for.

______________________________________________

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

Additional Background articles and documents:

Public Disclosure Commission – December 7, 2017 video (author makes public comment at about 8 minute mark)

Glen Morgan written public comment submitted to PDC December 6, 2017

Spokesman Review – “PDC complaints becoming weapons in political wars”

MyNorthwest.com – KTTH 770am – article and radio show about PDC complaint filed against Washington State AG Bob Ferguson

Dem PACs dissolve after campaign finance complaint

Woke Washington – “WA Dems team up with WA GOP to dismantle campaign accountability” (local Socialist writes detailed article with source documents – critical of this author (with is fine), but also providing more insight on this issue.

Washington State Democrats find hope in AG’s $38,520 fine against the Pierce County Democrats

Letter from 43rd Leg District Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Letter from the 11th Leg District Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Letter from the Island County Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Thurston County Democratic Party sued by Attorney General for campaign finance violations

Pierce County Settlement Document (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-04616-34 , filed October 27, 2017)  (if document is missing – you can download it here)

AG lawsuit against Pierce County Democrats (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-04616-34) filed August 14, 2017) (if document is missing – you can download it here)

AG’s press release about initial lawsuit filed against Pierce County Democrats (shortly after this, the AG stopped issuing press releases about settlements against Democrat politicians or committees)

Original PDC complaint filed against Pierce County Democrats

Washington State Attorney General’s list of campaign finance settlements

Tacoma News Tribune – Pierce County Democrats repeatedly violated campaign finance laws – Attorney General

Thanksgiving spirit – bringing Democrats and Republicans together in King County

The Empire always strikes back – State Democratic Party lashes out after widespread lawbreaking exposed

The Scorched wasteland of Washington State’s campaign finance laws

AG Attorney complains suing Democrat lawbreakers “unfair”, quits to sue Republicans

Tacoma News Tribune – “Is Olympia lawyer the Democrats’ champion in complaint-filing war?”

Tacoma News Tribune – “Pierce County Democrats to pay $20k for breaking campaign finance law”

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

Inlander – April 13, 2017 – “Dems in Disarray”

Jay Manning fined for Cult PAC violations – State Democratic Party pays the tab

Eyman wins major court motion against Attorney General, Ferguson could be first AG in state history forced to testify under Oath

The Tacoma News Tribune – October 30, 2017 – “Pierce County Democrats to pay $20k for breaking campaign finance law”

The Peninsula Daily News – September 28, 2017 – “Jefferson County commissioner answers complaint about funds transfer to Homes Now”

Seattle Times – August 6, 2017 – “State senator fined for violating campaign disclosure law”

The Olympian – August 4, 2017 – Hunt agrees to fine in campaign finance disclosure case 

SeattleMet – January 14, 2017 – Democrats dislike Democrats – Dwight Pelz attacks Tina Podlodowski and says she is not a good person to run the Washington State Democratic Party

AG Press Releases about lawsuits filed as a result of complaints filed by this author

August 18, 2017 – AGO settles Campaign Finance Complaint against Representative Strom Peterson for a settlement of $11,950.  Peterson pays $7, 595 with the rest deferred.Note- this was sent out as a tweet on August 21, 2017 in lieu of a press release

August 15, 2017 – AGO files Campaign Finance Complaint against Pierce County Democrats

August 2, 2017 – AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint against Washington & North Idaho District Council of Laborers PAC

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

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 – AG files Campaign Finance Complaints against Senator Hunt and Thurston County Democrats

Dem Representative Morris settles AG lawsuit quietly and cheaply

Just before Thanksgiving Washington State Representative Jeff Morris, a Democrat from the 40th Legislative District located in San Juan County, quietly settled the lawsuit filed against him by the Washington State Attorney General’s office earlier this year.  This lawsuit was initiated by a complaint filed against Morris filed by this author earlier in the year (lawsuit settlement linked here, original lawsuit linked here, original PDC complaint linked here).

Jeff Morris, attempting to explain how large his violations of the state’s campaign finances really were

 

Representative Jeff Morris was caught violating Washington State’s Campaign Finance laws, which are codified in statute here (RCW 42.17A).  He was fined $170 plus $960 in court, investigation, and attorney costs for a total payment of $1,130.  Based on a review of recent Attorney General settlements, this is the smallest fine ever given to a politician or political committee for violating the campaign finance laws.

AG Bob Ferguson is serious about campaign finance laws and was eager to litigate until he hit his quota of Democrat violators…

Attorney General Bob Ferguson campaigned for reelection in 2016 in part on his willingness to more aggressively pursue violations of the state’s campaign finance law.  This author was inspired, in part, by AG Ferguson’s campaign promises as well as local State Senator Sam Hunt, who also provided encouragement to better understand these laws.  The Washington State Democratic Party also helped inspire this effort in their own way by filing their complaints against this author last year.

One unanticipated outcome was the large number of politicians and committees affiliated with the Washington State Democratic Party who violated the law.  Most of these organizations and politicians endorsed Ferguson during his election campaign in 

2016.  This is why Ferguson was forced to “recuse” himself from these investigations and lawsuits.  18 lawsuits were filed against these Democratic Party affiliated groups before the AG’s office determined that they had reached their quota for lawsuits against Democrats.  The other complicating factor for the AG’s office was the fact that at least one hyper partisan attorney, named Walter Smith, quit the campaign finance unit because he didn’t want to enforce the state’s campaign finance laws against Democrats.

Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski (left) believed the campaign finance laws were only supposed to be used to choke out Tim Eyman (right) and Republicans.  Ferguson appeared to believe this as well.

The Attorney General’s office also implemented a “media silence” campaign about settlements and lawsuits against Democrats.  Historically, the AG would issue press releases for every successful settlement or lawsuit filed by the campaign finance unit.  When Republicans or conservative/center leaning groups were sued, they often benefited from large volumes of press releases.  For example, Kim Wyman, Republican Secretary of State received excellent coverage (press releases here, here, and here).  Another example would be the 9 press releases gleefully issued about Tim Eyman (the initiative guy hated by Democrats) linked at the end of this article.  Also, the Freedom Foundation received extensive AG press coverage (see herehere, and here).  However, when settlements of lawsuits have been made against the Pierce County Democrats, Senator Sam Hunt (D, Olympia), Rep Strom Peterson (D), Snohomish Superior Court Judge Larson, and now Democrat Representative Jeff Morris there were no press releases issued.  Not one.  Sometimes they are announced briefly on Twitter, but the AG is keeping these litigation successes as quiet as possible.

In some ways, Representative Morris was unlucky.  When the AG originally filed this lawsuit against him in early 2017, the AG was still serious about enforcing the state’s campaign finance laws.  Now that so many Democrat legislators, senators, and political committees have been caught violating this same law, the priority has shifted away from enforcing this law so rigorously.  It is unlikely the AG would file this same lawsuit against a Democrat politician today.

In other ways, Morris is very fortunate.  When Kim Wyman settled her case, she paid total fine of $12,090 for very similar violation of the statute (Wyman had more late reports, but the type of violation was the same).  However, the fines for similar violations are now dropping to much lower levels as a large volume of Democrats are exposed violating those same laws.  In theory, the law is written to be applied equally to everyone, but as Attorney General Bob Ferguson is demonstrating – some violators are always more equal than others.

The rules don’t exactly apply equally to everyone

______________________________________________

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

Additional Background articles and documents:

Dem PACs dissolve after campaign finance complaints

(added after article published):  Woke Washington – “WA Dems team up with WA GOP to dismantle campaign accountability” (local Socialist writes detailed article with source documents – critical of this author (with is fine), but also providing more insight on Democrats evading trasparency.

Washington State Democrats find hope in AG’s $38,520 fine against the Pierce County Democrats

Letter from 43rd Leg District Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Letter from the 11th Leg District Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Letter from the Island County Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Pierce County Settlement Document (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-04616-34 , filed October 27, 2017)  (if document is missing – you can download it here)

AG lawsuit against Pierce County Democrats (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-04616-34) filed August 14, 2017) (if document is missing – you can download it here)

Original PDC complaint filed against Pierce County Democrats

Washington State Attorney General’s list of campaign finance settlements

Tacoma News Tribune – Pierce County Democrats repeatedly violated campaign finance laws – Attorney General

Thanksgiving spirit – bringing Democrats and Republicans together in King County

The Empire always strikes back – State Democratic Party lashes out after widespread lawbreaking exposed

The Scorched wasteland of Washington State’s campaign finance laws

AG Attorney complains suing Democrat lawbreakers “unfair”, quits to sue Republicans

Tacoma News Tribune – “Is Olympia lawyer the Democrats’ champion in complaint-filing war?”

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

Inlander – April 13, 2017 – “Dems in Disarray”

Jay Manning fined for Cult PAC violations – State Democratic Party pays the tab

Eyman wins major court motion against Attorney General, Ferguson could be first AG in state history forced to testify under Oath

The Tacoma News Tribune – October 30, 2017 – “Pierce County Democrats to pay $20k for breaking campaign finance law”

The Peninsula Daily News – September 28, 2017 – “Jefferson County commissioner answers complaint about funds transfer to Homes Now”

Seattle Times – August 6, 2017 – “State senator fined for violating campaign disclosure law”

The Olympian – August 4, 2017 – Hunt agrees to fine in campaign finance disclosure case 

finance violations

AG Press Releases about Tim Eyman over last year

AG Press Release – “Ferguson files $2.1M Campaign Finance lawsuit against Tim Eyman”

AG Press Release – “AG Ferguson Demands Documents be disclosed in Eyman Investigation”

AG Press Release – “AG asks courts to hold Eyman, Committees, in Contempt”

AG Press Release – “AG Subpoenas enforced by court in Tim Eyman probe”

AG Press Release – “In AG Investigation, Court Finds Tim Eyman violated June 29 Order”

AG Press Release – “Tim Eyman, Committees pay AG $20K in Costs and Fees for months of delay”

AG Press Release – “AG: Judge Orders Signature Gathering Firm to disclose documents in Eyman probe”

AG Press Release – “Court rejects motion to dismiss 2 Defendants in Eyman campaign finance case”

AG Press Release – “Eyman and Committees violated campaign accounting and disclosure laws”

Dem PACs dissolve after campaign finance complaints

Washington State Democratic Party Chair Tina Podlodowski tries to make her legal troubles go away

The Washington State Democratic Party has been promoting to their local party committees an unusual political and legal strategy over the past few months.  These recommendations primarily deal with how to strategically address situations where local county or legislative district committees are caught violating the state’s campaign finance

State Democratic Pary Chair Tina Podlodowski has been issuing multiple press releases about this author lately, but her legal advice to the local committees is the bigger story

laws.  One part of this endorsed and coordinated strategy is for the local Democrat Party organization to dissolve, send their money to the State Party (and their attorneys), and then claim they no longer exist.  Three local Democratic organizations (Island County Democrats, 11th Legislative District Democrats, and the 43rd Legislative District Democrats) have followed this path over the past few weeks.  Many more are also rushing to disappear themselves.

As discussed in previous articles linked below, many Democratic Party political committees have been caught and exposed for violating Washington State’s awesome campaign finance laws.  This author has only filed a paltry 96 complaints with the Public Disclosure Commission against political committees this year.  Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson campaigned to more aggressively enforce the state’s campaign finance laws, and Ferguson helped to inspire this author to do my civic duty and help.  As a result of this author’s complaints, the AG has filed lawsuits against the following for their egregious violations of this perfectly written law:

  1. Thurston County Democrats (5 complaints) – lawsuit filed 3/6/2017 (17-2-00972-34)
  2. King County Democrats –  lawsuit filed 5/11/2017 (17-2-02836-34)
  3. Spokane County Democrats (2 complaints) – lawsuit filed 5/11/2017 (17-2-02837-34)
  4. Eastside Democratic Dinner Committee– lawsuit filed 6/19/2017 (17-2-15750-3 SEA)
  5. San Juan County Democrats – lawsuit filed 6/29/2017 (17-2-03876-34)
  6. Kittitas County Democrats – lawsuit filed 7/14/2017 (17-2-04103-34)
  7. North Idaho District Labor Council – lawsuit filed 8/1/2017 (17-2-04408-34)
  8. Pierce County Democrats – lawsuit filed 8/14/2017 (17-2-04616-34)

    Walter Smith left the AG’s office once he found out he would have to sue Democrats and not just Republicans

The Attorney General’s office then decided that they had maxed out their quota of lawsuits against Democrat Party committees.  Apparently, there was also some concern they might lose more employees like Democrat activist Walter Smith, who quit the department recently because he thought he would only be suing Republicans when he took this job.

The Washington State Democratic Party,according to a variety of Democratic Party insiders, has been providing recommendations, support, and advice to local political committees who are caught violating the law.  The first recommendation is to beg the state’s AG to sue them.  Sweetheart settlements are being negotiated with Democratic committees (not so much for Republicans), and the recent Pierce County Democrat Party settlement result provides strong support for this strategy.  However, if this path can’t be taken, the next action they recommend is to transfer all their assets to the State Party law firm – or to the State Party itself.  Then, they are directed to declare themselves dissolved and they are to vanish into the ether like they never existed in the first place.  They can then pretend they never violated the law.

The theory is by dissolving themselves and disposing of their assets before a court judgment, they can avoid legal liability for their lawbreaking.  In an effort to assist Washington State in this critical duty of enforcing the campaign finance laws, I have been filing lawsuits on behalf of the State of Washington.  These help ease the burden on the overworked attorney general’s office.  The statutory fines collected through these lawsuits will disappear into the State’s general fund budget, which the Democrats should strongly support.  So far, about 8 cases like this have been filed incorporating about 17 complaints.  One case against the People for Thurston County PAC was settled recently (see complete story here).

New Strategy book from Washington State Democrats

This is unusual legal advice and new territory for the Washington State Democrats, but there might be some self-serving reasons for doing this.  First, by convincing these committees to transfer to the funds to the state party, it helps the state party with their fundraising efforts (at least one Socialist activist appears to agree with me on this).  Secondly, by transferring these funds to the state party law firm, they can keep the legal advice flowing as well.  The Washington State Democratic Party recently has switched law firms because their law firm of choice – Seattle based Perkins Coie, appears to be under federal investigation for violating federal campaign finance laws for the Hillary Clinton campaign and for some bizarre Russian collusion efforts and for lying to Federal agencies among other unsavory scandals. The state party realized they needed a new law firm, and they were fortunate to find this new Seattle firm to ably represent their interests.

As wide as this disappearing act strategy appears to be spreading throughout the Democratic Party in Washington State, it isn’t clear yet if it will succeed.  Like the Cheshire Cat in Alice and Wonderland, the cat might disappear, but the smile still hangs in the air.  These political committees have existed for decades, they appear to still be raising funds, and it seems unlikely that the courts will allow political committees to disappear themselves out of existence to avoid the legal consequences for their lawbreaking.

At this time, the Attorney General’s office has been silent on whether this legal strategy is supported by their department.  If it is approved, then Tim Eyman, among others has a perfect, low-cost solution to their legal campaign finance woes.  Just disappear and return with a different political committee.  As these cases wind through the court, we will see if the judges accept this political magic trick conjured up by the Democrats.

______________________________________________

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

Additional Background articles and documents:

(added after article published):  Woke Washington – “WA Dems team up with WA GOP to dismantle campaign accountability” (local Socialist writes detailed article with source documents – critical of this author (with is fine), but also providing more insight on this issue.

Washington State Democrats find hope in AG’s $38,520 fine against the Pierce County Democrats

Letter from 43rd Leg District Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Letter from the 11th Leg District Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Letter from the Island County Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

Pierce County Settlement Document (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-04616-34 , filed October 27, 2017)  (if document is missing – you can download it here)

AG lawsuit against Pierce County Democrats (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-04616-34) filed August 14, 2017) (if document is missing – you can download it here)

AG’s press release about initial lawsuit filed against Pierce County Democrats (shortly after this, the AG stopped issuing press releases about settlements against Democrat politicians or committees)

Original PDC complaint filed against Pierce County Democrats

Washington State Attorney General’s list of campaign finance settlements

Tacoma News Tribune – Pierce County Democrats repeatedly violated campaign finance laws – Attorney General

Thanksgiving spirit – bringing Democrats and Republicans together in King County

The Empire always strikes back – State Democratic Party lashes out after widespread lawbreaking exposed

The Scorched wasteland of Washington State’s campaign finance laws

AG Attorney complains suing Democrat lawbreakers “unfair”, quits to sue Republicans

Tacoma News Tribune – “Is Olympia lawyer the Democrats’ champion in complaint-filing war?”

Tacoma News Tribune – “Pierce County Democrats to pay $20k for breaking campaign finance law”

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

Inlander – April 13, 2017 – “Dems in Disarray”

Jay Manning fined for Cult PAC violations – State Democratic Party pays the tab

Eyman wins major court motion against Attorney General, Ferguson could be first AG in state history forced to testify under Oath

The Tacoma News Tribune – October 30, 2017 – “Pierce County Democrats to pay $20k for breaking campaign finance law”

The Peninsula Daily News – September 28, 2017 – “Jefferson County commissioner answers complaint about funds transfer to Homes Now”

Seattle Times – August 6, 2017 – “State senator fined for violating campaign disclosure law”

The Olympian – August 4, 2017 – Hunt agrees to fine in campaign finance disclosure case 

SeattleMet – January 14, 2017 – Democrats dislike Democrats – Dwight Pelz attacks Tina Podlodowski and says she is not a good person to run the Washington State Democratic Party

AG Press Releases about lawsuits filed as a result of complaints filed by this author

August 18, 2017 – AGO settles Campaign Finance Complaint against Representative Strom Peterson for a settlement of $11,950.  Peterson pays $7, 595 with the rest deferred.Note- this was sent out as a tweet on August 21, 2017 in lieu of a press release

August 15, 2017 – AGO files Campaign Finance Complaint against Pierce County Democrats

August 2, 2017 – AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint against Washington & North Idaho District Council of Laborers PAC

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

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 – AG files Campaign Finance Complaints against Senator Hunt and Thurston County Democrats

 

 

Washington State Democrats find hope in AG’s $38,520 fine against the Pierce County Democrats

Last month, the Pierce County Democrats settled a lawsuit brought by the Washington State Attorney General for $38,520 for violating campaign finance laws.  This lawsuit was initiated by a complaint filed by this author on May 11 of this year.  This legal settlement raises a variety of questions from close observers, and it also brings hope to an embattled state Democrat Party, which has been struggling with the public exposure of widespread violations of the state’s campaign finance laws in recent years (see this article about some of these cases).

Bob Ferguson is serious about campaign finance laws and appears eager to litigate, but he is happy to create special deals for supporters

According to the Attorney General, the Pierce County Democrats (strong supporters of Attorney General Bob Ferguson during his 2016 re-election campaign) were primarily caught violating the campaign finance laws in the following ways (original complaint linked here, and original lawsuit linked here):

  • Failed to timely disclose $63,643 in contributions it received on 92 separate reports, up to 179 days late.
  • Failed to timely disclose $90,357.95 in expenditures (e.g. political donations) made on 16 separate reports, up to 171 days late. For example, the committee contributed $15,000 to a Pierce County candidate before the 2016 general election. The committee was required to report this contribution a week before the election and did not do so until December — more than a month after Election Day.
  • Failed to file any reports for 2017 until after the committee learned the Attorney General’s Office was investigating. These 2017 reports were up to 146 days late.
  • Failed to timely disclose debts and obligations in 2016. No corrective action has been taken to report these debts.

As the settlement documents (linked here) filed in Thurston County Superior Court prove, the Pierce County Democrats were fined $31,780, with $15,890 of this fine suspended for four years, contingent upon not committing any additional violations of the state’s campaign finance laws. This fine is sent to Washington State’s general fund where it promptly disappears like the rest of the state budget. Additionally, the Pierce County Democrats reimbursed the Attorney General $5000 in attorney costs, $1500 in investigative costs, and another $240 in court costs.  This totalled $38, 520 in fees and fines.

Several aspects of this case uniquely stand out for political insiders tracking these types of legal settlements.  

First, the Pierce County Democrats have been put on a payment plan for the $22,630 portion of this settlement which must be paid to the state.  According to the terms outlined in the agreement, the Pierce County Democrats must pay $3,000 on Jan 1st and July 1st of each year starting in 2018, until the total amount is paid in 2021.  This is a sweetheart settlement payment plan which is unique in the history of campaign finance settlements.  A partial list of these settlements can be found here, and no other organization was given such generous payment plan terms.  It is hoped by the dozens of political action committees and candidates who also violated these laws that payment plans similar to the Pierce County Democrat settlement can be created for them.  Most of these organizations were supporters of Attorney General Bob Ferguson in his 2016 election campaign, and payment plans like this one will help demonstrate how wise that political support was.  It is unclear if similar payment plans would be extended to Republicans who did not support Ferguson.

This settlement was greeted with particular joy by the Spokane County Democrats who committed significantly more egregious violations of the campaign finance laws and were concerned about their ability to pay the inevitable fine.  The other bonus to new settlement deals like the Pierce County case is that current board members of the political committees (who often only serve two year terms) can kick the payment can down the road into the next elected board’s lap.  Democrat Party insiders are understandably celebrating this windfall.  This is why most Democratic political committees and candidates are begging Democrat Attorney General Bob Ferguson to sue them as part of their legal strategy.  No similar settlement plan has been offered to any Republican candidate or organization who committed similar violations.  

Sam Hunt was fined by the Washington State AG’s office, but the AG didn’t issue a press release about it

Secondly, consistent with a recent trend, the Attorney General’s office has stopped issuing press releases when a Democratic affiliated organization is caught violating the campaign finance laws or a settlement has been reached with them.  For example, this Pierce County Democrat settlement was announced only via tweet.  A recent settlement with Democrat Legislator Strom Peterson was also announced exclusively via tweet (and the settlement is still not included the AG’s list of campaign finance settlements). (*update 11/30 – after this article was published, the AG finally updated their list in response).  A recent settlement with Democrat State Senator Sam Hunt didn’t merit either a tweet or a press release.  This stands in stark contrast to press releases released when a legal appeal was won against the Freedom Foundation (see here, here, and here), or the three press releases about Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s campaign finance lawsuit (linked here, here, and here).  This also stands in particularly unique contrast to the press release storm for Initiative activist Tim Eyman, who merits a press release almost monthly for his campaign finance lawsuit (see below for 9 recent examples).

Former PDC Director Evelyn Fielding Lopez (photo: Tacoma News Tribune)

Finally, it should be noted that the attorney representing the Pierce County Democrats is the former Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) Executive Director Evelyn Lopez, who recently lost a political campaign during the primary for Mayor of Tacoma last summer.  Lopez was accused by the Republican State Senate and House Caucuses of exerting partisan bias while managing the PDC.  I was able to interact with former Director Lopez on several occasions last year and early this year before her departure, and I found her to be professional and courteous.  

However, political insiders believe her departure was fueled by the Republican Caucus accusations of partisanship.  Her recent foray into partisan legal representation, and her outspoken political statements on Facebook appear to provide additional evidence which supports those Republican accusations and some Republican conspiracy theories about political bias at this agency.  

Regardless, this settlement is cause for celebration among the other Democrat Party political committees who can expect similar kid glove treatment from the Attorney General who they supported during his recent election campaign.  Meanwhile, the Attorney General’s office is continuing to prosecute an unemployed cobbler and a retired judge in Grant County for $454,000 for a $3900 anonymous 2014 local political mailer.  

It is good to see consistency and proportionality in the enforcement of our state’s campaign finance laws.

This is the Washington State Democratic Party’s new slogan

______________________________________________

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

Additional Background articles and documents:

Pierce County Settlement Document (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-04616-34 , filed October 27, 2017)  (if document is missing – you can download it here)

AG lawsuit against Pierce County Democrats (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-04616-34) filed August 14, 2017) (if document is missing – you can download it here)

AG’s press release about initial lawsuit filed against Pierce County Democrats (shortly after this, the AG stopped issuing press releases about settlements against Democrat politicians or committees)

Original PDC complaint filed against Pierce County Democrats

Washington State Attorney General’s list of campaign finance settlements

Tacoma News Tribune – Pierce County Democrats repeatedly violated campaign finance laws – Attorney General

Thanksgiving spirit – bringing Democrats and Republicans together in King County

The Empire always strikes back – State Democratic Party lashes out after widespread lawbreaking exposed

The Scorched wasteland of Washington State’s campaign finance laws

AG Attorney complains suing Democrat lawbreakers “unfair”, quits to sue Republicans

Tacoma News Tribune – “Is Olympia lawyer the Democrats’ champion in complaint-filing war?”

Tacoma News Tribune – “Pierce County Democrats to pay $20k for breaking campaign finance law”

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

Inlander – April 13, 2017 – “Dems in Disarray”

Jay Manning fined for Cult PAC violations – State Democratic Party pays the tab

Eyman wins major court motion against Attorney General, Ferguson could be first AG in state history forced to testify under Oath

The Tacoma News Tribune – October 30, 2017 – “Pierce County Democrats to pay $20k for breaking campaign finance law”

The Peninsula Daily News – September 28, 2017 – “Jefferson County commissioner answers complaint about funds transfer to Homes Now”

Seattle Times – August 6, 2017 – “State senator fined for violating campaign disclosure law”

The Olympian – August 4, 2017 – Hunt agrees to fine in campaign finance disclosure case 

SeattleMet – January 14, 2017 – Democrats dislike Democrats – Dwight Pelz attacks Tina Podlodowski and says she is not a good person to run the Washington State Democratic Party

AG Press Releases about lawsuits filed as a result of complaints filed by this author

August 18, 2017 – AGO settles Campaign Finance Complaint against Representative Strom Peterson for a settlement of $11,950.  Peterson pays $7, 595 with the rest deferred.Note- this was sent out as a tweet on August 21, 2017 in lieu of a press release

August 15, 2017 – AGO files Campaign Finance Complaint against Pierce County Democrats

August 2, 2017 – AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint against Washington & North Idaho District Council of Laborers PAC

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

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)

2009 – Hutchison PDC complaint filed by King County Democrats

Kim Wyman AG Press Releases and PDC complaint

Original PDC complaint filed against Kim Wyman by Jaxon Ravens and the Washington State Democratic Central Committee

October 4, 2016 – AGO files campaign finance complaint against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

October 4, 2016 – AGO clarification on Wyman campaign finance case

January 20, 2017 – AG: Secretary of State Kim Wyman to pay $10,115 over campaign finance violations

AG Press Releases about Tim Eyman over last year

AG Press Release – “Ferguson files $2.1M Campaign Finance lawsuit against Tim Eyman”

AG Press Release – “AG Ferguson Demands Documents be disclosed in Eyman Investigation”

AG Press Release – “AG asks courts to hold Eyman, Committees, in Contempt”

AG Press Release – “AG Subpoenas enforced by court in Tim Eyman probe”

AG Press Release – “In AG Investigation, Court Finds Tim Eyman violated June 29 Order”

AG Press Release – “Tim Eyman, Committees pay AG $20K in Costs and Fees for months of delay”

AG Press Release – “AG: Judge Orders Signature Gathering Firm to disclose documents in Eyman probe”

AG Press Release – “Court rejects motion to dismiss 2 Defendants in Eyman campaign finance case”

AG Press Release – “Eyman and Committees violated campaign accounting and disclosure laws”

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