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

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

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

Taking cash from kids – scholarship money used for adults

Jim CastroLang juggles many responsibilities

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Spokane County Democrats make the choice of corruption or incompetence

Incompetence was their only defense against charges of corruption

Many people claim they are not crooks

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

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

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

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

Spokane County Democratic Chair Andrew Biviano has a tough job

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

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

Losing money on fundraisers and squandering cash on epic parties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Attorney General coming around and taking names

Some events become predictable…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It appears the Spokane County Democrats are adrift for a while

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

Recent articles about Spokane County Democrat Complaints

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

The Inlander -April 13 – “Dems in Disarray” 

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

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

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

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

Original Complaint filed against the SCDCC – March 16, 2017

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

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

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

 

Recent AG lawsuits and other pending complaints:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AG – Chopp to pay $6469 over campaign finance violations

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

The Olympian – Speaker Chopp earned his fine

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

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

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

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

Jay Manning skates away from transparency thanks public disclosure commission

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG press release about Jay Manning settlement

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

More Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

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

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

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

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

AG:  Eyman and Committees Violated Campaign Accounting and Disclosure Laws

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

Thurston County goes Independent, first time in state history

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

The Hirst Heist and our diminishing legislature

Futurewise has a plan to steal our water - who needs legislators when you can control the judges?

On October 6, 2016,  Futurewise, with the assistance of six Washington State Supreme Court Justices, managed to win the lawsuit lottery.  The Supreme Court ruled in Hirst v. W. Washington Growth Management Hearings Board (decision linked here) on a 6-3 vote in favor of Futurewise and against the people.  This ruling invented new land use rules approved by no legislature or elected official.  This litigious and aggressive environmental NGO funded by wealthy Seattle donors was able to end the historic private well exemption.   Instantly, tens of thousands of private landowners lost their ability to build a home, raise a family, or live independently.

While Futurewise, the Sierra Club, CELP, and Washington State’s Native Tribes celebrated the harm and suffering they had inflicted on the rest of the state, serious elected officials, farmers, property owners, and rural residents of the state struggled to find a rational work-around to an irrational policy prescription invented by six judges.  We wrote extensively about this situation here.  To quote from the dissent written by Justice Stephens:

“THE MAJORITY’S DECISION HINGES ON AN INTERPRETATION OF RCW 19.27.097 THAT IS UNSUPPORTED BY THE PLAIN LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE, PRECEDENT, OR COMMON SENSE.”

Average Citizens know the scales of justice in the Washington Court System are tilted in favor of special litigation interests like Futurewise

Our elected legislature weakly responds

Most observers were caught flat-footed by the Hirst decision.  Partly, this was because the envisioned result demanded by Futurewise seemed so absurd, partly because Futurewise lost at the appellate court level, and partly because nobody realized just how truly out of touch and unlettered in the separation of powers doctrine the majority of the Washington State Supreme Court had become.  People more familiar with water law and the strong financial forces supporting the Greenish agenda were expressing some concern, but they were voices in the wilderness.  Many had been warning of this scenario after localized efforts in Skagit, Kittitas, and the Dungeness Watershed were testing this model of stealing historic water rights.  After last October, the apathetic have began to wake up.

A majority of the Washington State Supreme Court is happy to surrender your freedom and your future

Many elected officials heard from constituents who could no longer build their homes on land they had purchased and saved money to build for many years.  In some instances, local residents got on their knees and begged their local officials and state legislature to fix this problem.  Initially, a flurry of legislation was offered to “fix Hirst.”  Some were genuine fixes which entirely reversed this harmful ruling like this one and this one.   Some were intended to muddy the waters more and create new layers of confusion.  Some were intended as compromise “solutions” that would kick the problem down the road for a few years and still allow some private wells under certain limited conditions.  The State Senate was able to pass out a bill like this here.

The Washington State Democratic Caucus refuses to help restore sanity

However, it has become clear that, with a few notable exceptions, the Democratic caucus is not willing to fix the Hirst decision.  While they weren’t brave enough to sponsor a bill to destroy the lives of rural residents, they are happy to outsource their jobs and let the Supreme Court do the dirty work for them.  The Futurewise donor base will surely reward them. This positions the Democrat caucus to create legislative“fixes” that are truly harmful and strongly resemble the wish lists of Governor Inslee, the Department of Ecology, and the Environmental Cartel.  Some Republicans believed in creating a compromise solution along the way – desperate to at least give the impression of passing a bill (any bill!) to “fix” Hirst.

A message from Futurewise

Compromise has failed and lacking the will for a massive political battle, a fix will not happen with the far more disciplined Democrats.  An uncompromising Republican battle to restore exempt well water rights is needed now.  Other issues may remain unresolved and the crumbs of bills granted by Speaker Chopp may not pass with such a strategy, but thousands of angry and disappointed Washington state citizens happen to think their water and property rights are worth the political fight.  Those rights should take priority in the legislature over the many silly and serious bills that have passed on a fast track flurry of legislative action.

This is the nature of the legislative process, and if you don’t want to know how the sausage is made, you may want to look the other way.  It isn’t a perfect system, and few expect it to be simple.  However, lost in the back and forth of amendments, vote counts, bill drafts, and hearings is a much more fundamental problem.   Our elected officials are diminishing in significance as they take a back seat to law making by judges and agency bureaucrats.

Elected officials are less consequential than judges

This partisan fight becomes less consequential when the judges prove they run the show

People often decry the fact that the political process has become awash in cash from campaign donations and lobbying budgets.  This is a rational outcome of the relentless growth of government into wider aspects of people’s lives.  Nobody can live without government dictating to them almost every element of how they live their lives.  The tentacles of bureaucracy touch everything.  Corporations, special interests, and powerful people have great incentive to influence this process to their benefit or to support their cause.  Politicians don’t mind because it ensures they can command lots of cash for their campaigns and get the attention they crave.  However, politicians have largely become figureheads in policy battles as exposed by the recent Hirst decision.

Theoretically, we can remove our elected officials and replace them with new people if we don’t like the direction government is taking.  This is a real problem for special interests who are achieving their goals with the system that currently exists.  In order to reduce the impact or value of uncertain elections, it is important to use alternative, more stable means to influence policy.  Hence, the logical path is to focus on influencing and controlling bureaucracy and the judicial system.

If you can’t get elected officials to support your policy goals through legislation, then the next most logical path is to focus on litigation.  However, the pesky problem of the constitution, case law, and judges who can read must be overcome.  Since Washington State elects judges, then these policy outcomes can be achieved by electing judges who are willing to ignore the constitution, flout common sense, and deny history in order to stretch and invent the desired policy of special interests like Futurewise.  This is why Futurewise so wisely spends their resources on the lawsuit lottery filing over 300 lawsuits against local government in order to obtain outcomes like the recent Hirst decision.

It is far cheaper to buy a judgement than elect a friendly legislature

Who needs state senators, legislators, or commissioners if you can just control a handful of judges in black robes?  This is indeed a wise use of donor cash, and most of the people who oppose the hostile policies of Futurewise, the Sierra Club, and tribes like the Swinomish are late to the party.  They are pleading with our elected officials to “fix” Hirst, not realizing that the majority of our elected officials have long ago ceded their power to a handful of judges.  Policy, it appears, will no longer be written by the legislators, but by the Black Robed in the Hall of Justice.  This is the outcome demanded by the donors who support the “environmental” agenda?  They really want, as Hirst dictates, thousands of families to suffer, and it doesn’t matter that these families use less than 1% of the water in Washington State.

Any bill – give me any bill – compromise and desperation

Everyone wants to get their piece of the water game

Politicians make promises to their constituents.  However, politics is often the art of compromise, and the process of drafting a solution is messy.  Unfortunately, most people won’t dig into the details, so they tend to only look at the headlines.  This is understandably part of human nature.  However, the process of amending bills and “fixing” problems means that those with the the most experience, access, and best threats will have the most influence on this process.

Behind the scenes, government agencies (like the Department of Ecology) have a lot more

Hoping for Cash Windfall from Hirst

sway on the policy drafts that come out of the legislature.  These agencies are always looking for opportunities to expand their budget, power, and mandate, so a manufactured “crisis” like Hirst is a golden opportunity for the Department of Ecology to expand their operations.  This is why they have demanded a lot of cash to grow their agency to “fix” or “address” Hirst.  Meanwhile, if anyone actually pays attention to the bureaucrats who work at the Department of Ecology, they would realize that the Hirst decision is not something they oppose.  The messier and more confusing the better for them.  This is the perfect opportunity to grow their budget.

Meanwhile, as the celebration winds down at Futurewise, Sierra Club, CELP, and the Tribal Casinos for the damaging and cheap victory they won with the Hirst decision, the environmental cartel is able to come back and threaten further litigation against any local government that dares to oppose their agenda.   These threats are taken seriously because the Supreme Court is heavily influenced by Futurewise and their big donors.  No rational person would trust their fate to those judges, so the tendency to cave in is very strong and understandable.

The current political plan is to kick the can down the road until the Washington State Supreme Court makes another crazy ruling

There are politicians in Olympia who genuinely want change, but the solution is murky to most of them.  The halls of Olympia are not filled with elected officials who are experts on water law, and they generally believe what they are told by “experts” who are often the very agencies who have created the confusing and messy circumstances of law and policy.  Politicians know they need to “fix” this problem, particularly if they represent rural constituents.  They are under a lot of pressure to do “something.”

Mitigation schemes, kick it down the road and hope for the best

This is the perfect opening for more special interests to take advantage of the situation.  Knowing that most of the Democratic Caucus in both chambers are happy to destroy the lives of rural people, the real decision making and negotiation is made on the Republican side of the aisle with a few swing Democrats involved for bipartisan flavor.  Since Republicans barely control the state senate, and are only a few votes shy in the House, even a change of heart or stiffening of the spine by a few politicians makes a big difference in the final outcome.  At the same time, Futurewise and the environmental cartel only need to threaten and cower a couple of politicians to create the desired negative impact.

This is one person definately NOT represented in this political fight

Special interests generally opposed to the extermination of exempt well water rights like farming interests, developers and real estate agents have been very engaged in this process, but each of them have a natural willingness to compromise based on their member’s interests.  Some commercial farming interests see the Hirst decision as an opportunity to profit from the harm inflicted on their neighbors because they can sell some of their excess capacity water rights for big cash.  Generally,  big developers want the ability to negotiate mitigation schemes so that they can build and sell their homes, but they tend to be less concerned about the individual private property impact or the potential cost overhead impact to the average new homeowners.  Real Estate agents understandably want the ability for people to buy and sell homes, and they have tended to side most frequently with the concerns for property rights like Citizens Alliance for Property Rights (CAPR) on these issues.

“Mitigation” schemes are being pushed. There is a lot of cash in these scams for special interests willing to play

Since most people impacted by this recent court case are not yet aware of the harm caused by Hirst, the full anger and impact has not yet been felt by the elected officials.  Average citizens are only slowly awakening to how their future has been sold to the highest bidder by Six People in Black Robes.  The lack of awareness about the depth of this complicated decision is helping Futurewise, the Sierra Club, and the Tribes move quickly to consolidate the gains they obtained at the State Supreme Court and move to their next set of agendas – effectuating the need for mitigation schemes, metering all existing private wells, creating water banks (or “trusts”), and ensuring that only the wealthy and politically connected can live rurally.

A slow motion train wreck

Futurewise and other members of Gang Green are laughing

Every day a property owner discovers, one family disaster at a time, that their dreams of living independently or more rurally have been destroyed by unaccountable judges, bureaucrats, and special interests.    The wealthy donors to Futurewise and Sierra Club celebrate the harm they have inflicted on rural communities.  Farmers, builders, and municipalities try to seek exemptions or bless their good fortune that the supreme court didn’t destroy them this time – rarely aware that they are next on the target list at some future date with the collusion of a few Black Robes.  And just as rural people have always cautioned when asking for help and understanding in past regulatory takings, the warning is given to urban people; when they are finished ruining our lives and stealing our freedoms, they will come and take yours.  For government agencies and Gang Green, it will never be enough.

Politicians in Olympia are understandably desperate and flailing

Meanwhile our elected officials flounder in confusion, never realizing how their failures are only reducing their importance and significance to the people who worked so hard to elect them to office.  Political impotence is never pretty.  The checks and balances are not working.  A few Black Robes rule Olympia – everyone else is just a supporting character in a tragic play.  Futurewise and other wealthy special interests – the environmental cartel have wisely figured out long ago – if you own the judges then you own the state – everyone else is just background noise and bit players on the stage.  Freedom will continue to die one legal ruling at a time until the people and our elected officials wake up to this stark reality…and stand firm in their belief and willingness to fight for individual liberties and property rights.  Compromise will not work this time…

(Cindy Alia, from Citizens Alliance for Property Rights contributed to this article as well)

For citizens who want to restore their Freedoms and access to water, Heaven may be the only place where anyone is listening

This article has also been reposted on the Citizen’s Alliance for Property Rights blog site here.

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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

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

HB 1348 – Proposed bill in house which would fix Hirst

HB 1349 – Another proposed bill which would fix Hirst

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

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:

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

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

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

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 

The day the “Crap Tax” died

Three new independant commissioners in Thurston County. (L-R) John Hutchings, Bud Blake, Gary Edwards

“What a difference an election can make” said one Thurston County resident as he departed the Tuesday evening Thurston County Commission public hearing. “I’m not used to having elected officials actually do what they promised to do and listen to me.”  

We wrote about the Thurston County, Washington State “Crap Tax” which was a tax imposed on septic tanks last year in the waning weeks of the Romero/Wolfe Commission.  It was passed in December after they knew their chosen successors had lost their election efforts. Five months later it is now history.  

It was a full room with attendees testifying both against and for repeal of the Crap Tax

The public hearing included a room full of people speaking both in favor of the repeal and against the repeal.  As expected, the people who attended the hearing and spoke in favor of the repeal lived on properties where they had septic systems.  They pointed out that today’s $10 “fee” would become tomorrow’s $100 “fee” just like car tabs.   Another argument against the Crap Tax was the fact it only went to increase bureaucracy.  It would not improve the environment.  Finally, local residents were better stewards of their own property than remote bureaucrats.

Dead Spirits, Tribal Consultants, and Former Politicians Support More Taxes

Former Olympia Councilwoman Holly Gadbaw tried to convince Commissioners to break their campaign promises

Most of the people speaking in favor of the Crap Tax were people who lived in the City of Olympia.  This included one former Olympia City Councilwoman Holly Gadbaw who spoke eloquently about how other people should pay taxes she supports.  Holly was also concerned about the Thurston County Commissioners revisiting the entire septic management program for Thurston County and she wanted them to ignore their campaign promises to repeal the tax.

This paid consultant from Mason County represented the Squaxin Island Tribe who wanted others to pay the Crap Tax

While various people made a variety of comments on either the pro-tax or anti-tax side of the debate, two other testimonies stood out.  One Olympia resident claimed that she was speaking on behalf of a dead friend of hers who once lived at a home that used a septic tank.  This person then claimed to channel her dead friend and said he would support paying this tax if he were still alive.  This testimony was not very persuasive.  The other interesting testimony was a paid consultant from Mason County who spoke for the Squaxin Island Tribe.  She claimed Thurston County for the Squaxin Island Indian Tribe because it was their traditional hunting ground. She assured everyone that the Squaxin Island Indian Tribe really wanted the residents of Thurston County to pay this tax.  

Despite the dead spirits who would love to pay these taxes if they were still alive, despite the sacred nature of the Squaxin Island Tribe’s desire to impose a tax on other people, and despite the pleas of the former Olympia City Councilwoman Holly Gadbaw, the Thurston County Commissioners voted to repeal the Crap Tax.  After the vote, widespread applause came from the audience with some of the City residents who supported the tax remaining quiet.  

The “Crap Tax” is Dead

Tuesday night contained no high political drama.  It was just another public hearing in another local community where a small fraction of the population bothers to speak to their elected officials, but it was a clear demonstration that elections do have consequences – both great and small.  Commissioners Hutchings and Edwards ran on a platform of repealing this tax.  Commissioner Blake voted against the tax when it was passed last year.  Tuesday night’s repeal vote was unanimous.  This was one campaign promise fulfilled with more likely to come.  

Thurston County has changed, but it will be up to the people who voted for these commissioners to continue to communicate with them. Continue to support the Commissioners when they do the right thing.  Encourage them to do more, and let them know if they make mistakes.  Tuesday night was another demonstration that the future belongs to those who show up.

The repeal of the Crap Tax isn’t the only thing that has changed in Thurston County. Posters of the Pledge of Allegiance, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution now hang in the main meeting room – another fulfilled campaign promise

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

Related Articles:

Thurston County Discovers new Cash Cow in Crap Tax

The Olympian – Thurston County Commissioners ask for public health director’s resignation

Thurston County goes independant – First time in state history

The Truth about Jim Cooper

Thurston County Invents $42,000 pocket gopher tax for new homeowners

Thurston County Manager Cliff Moore quits, will now plague the City of Yakima

Thurston County punishes rural serfs again

Sandra Romero – the $200 million Commissioner

Thurston County discovers new cash cow in crap tax

Thurston County spends $18million and 18 years to make a $4million empty building worth $2million

A Plague of Consequences in Thurston County

Thurston County Bag Ban – Paper or Plastic?

Stifling Human Ingenuity

Thurston County to Citizens:  Living here is a real gamble

Childish Political Leadership in Thurston County is costing Taxpayers Millions

Thurston County Demonstrates How Not to Build a Jail

Silence of the Gophers

Under a dark canopy of fir trees lie a blanket of moss and decomposing needles.  Scattered across this dark forest floor are hundreds of pocket gopher skulls and bones in a timeless scene only nature can create.  Based on the location and detritus, it appears that many generations of owls have flourished in this young stand of trees,

Pocket Gophers Are Now Taxed
Thurston County is infested with Pocket Gophers

nourished by the large population of nearby pocket gophers and other rodents.  Normally, this would just be another example of the natural cycle of life.  Perhaps this would be a scene that a biology professor would explore with students.  However, in south Thurston County, Washington State, these pocket gopher bones have become a symbol of the harm inflicted by the Endangered Species Act and the detachment from reality of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

USFWS office – Lacey, WA

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) the Mazama Pocket Gopher found in Thurston County is an endangered species, at risk of extinction.  Over the last few years, the USFWS has created a matrix of local planning rules (with the enthusiastic support of local bureaucrats and environmental groups) that have prevented people from building homes, school districts from adding classrooms, and local residents accessing their own property.  The USFWS claims the presence of humans will harm the pocket gopher and cause this rodent to go extinct.  Many regulations have been imposed by local Central Planners – including a $42,000 pocket gopher tax on new homeowners. There has been local resistance to these restrictions, but the USFWS tells locals that resistance is futile.

Outside the USFWS offices in Lacey, WA, pocket gophers also flourish- ensuring job security for these government employees

The regional office for the USFWS is located in Lacey, Washington between the Washington State Department of Ecology and St. Martin’s University.  Towering over their locked and secure offices are large Douglas fir trees.  The biologists who work at USFWS have reluctantly admitted these endangered pocket gophers also live in the grass and fields next door to their offices.  This inconvenient truth is glossed over by those who profit from the endangered gopher narrative.  

First, the government tried to exterminate the gopher

The pocket gopher has a long history of being labelled as a pest by the Federal government for many decades.  From the 1940s until the recent 1990s, the US Department of Agriculture had funded bounty programs attempting to exterminate this pocket gopher using poison and traps in Thurston County.  After 50 years of studies and government funded extermination efforts, the USDA concluded that the pocket gopher was virtually invincible and impossible to eradicate.  Most of their documented efforts around the country and in Thurston County proved that, while these control efforts might have a temporary impact, even small populations of gophers would expand their numbers rapidly.  Beyond Thurston County,  government funded efforts to exterminate the gopher continue around the country (See USDA source documents linked at the end of this article).

Gophers thrive on artillery ranges, airports, and amidst volcanic eruptions

At Ft. Lewis, it is unhealthy to wander around the artillery impact zone, but gophers thrive here among the churned, destroyed, and charred ground.

Recent habitat studies support the USDA conclusions.  In the nearby Ft. Lewis/McChord army base, the largest documented concentrated population of pocket gophers was found to be thriving in the middle of the artillery impact zone.  These thousands of acres have been regularly destroyed, bombed, burned and pulverized for over 100 years since World War I.   Despite being the most impacted piece of land in Washington State, the USFWS “scientists” and bureaucrats argue – usually with a straight face- that pocket gophers must be protected from human action like a tractor driving in a field, installing fence posts, irrigation, kids riding their bicycles, family pets, building a big toy in a back yard, and tree planting.  At the 2014 “public hearing” in which all the people, including biologists, who spoke against the listing were ignored,  the USFWS even claimed that agricultural activities could only be allowed during the months from November – March, under the belief that crops could be grown in the snow and the “agricultural activities” wouldn’t then impact the precious gopher during the summer and fall seasons.  

Even the eruption of Mt. St. Helens wasn’t enough to exterminate the pocket gopher

In addition to flourishing amidst the artillery barrages at Ft. Lewis,  this endangered gopher also thrives at the Olympia Regional airport, along Highway and Freeway easements, and in many other places where agricultural activities occur.  In a famous documentary produced in Washington State after the Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980, which had the force and impact of a major nuclear bomb destroying all animal and plant life for miles the first animal to appear from underneath the blanket of ash was the pocket gopher.  

Local control attacked by USFWS, politicians thrown out,  now threats of “sue & settle lawsuits”

Former Commissioner Romero did her best to harm the residents of Thurston County by giving USFWS control over local planning.

Eventually the gopher was listed as “threatened” by the USFWS.  Despite all evidence to the contrary, the USFWS was able to suppress a rebuttal effort by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) which was critical of the USFWS claims, but the listing proceeded just as the USFWS promised it would.  However, along the way, the USFWS was able to take advantage of an opportunity to completely take control of all land use policy in Thurston County.  This circumstance was enabled by the actions of three exceptionally incompetent county commissioners (Sandra Romero, Kathy Wolfe, and Karen Valenzuela). Additionally, planning staff at Thurston County eagerly sold themselves for Federal grant dollars.  With county government support, USFWS was able to implement their plan on Thurston County.

Ken Berg
USFWS Lacey, WA Director Ken Berg (on right) gets environmental award in Thurston County before he left the state

Eventually the patience of the local residents of Thurston County ran out.  All three of the commissioners who cheered the USFWS’s schemes were defeated at the ballot box or they quit.  Hand-picked successors were also defeated in the recent elections.  Many of the senior bureaucrats from the USFWS including former local director Ken Berg abandoned Thurston County so they didn’t have to live under the rules they were imposing on their former neighbors.  Similarly, many senior Thurston County central planner bureaucrats instrumental in imposing this destruction on their former communities also left including Don Krupp (currently County Manager in Clackamas County, Oregon), Cliff Moore (now City Manager in Yakima, Washington), and Scott Clark (moved to Arizona), among others.

Regular meetings like this are occurring in Thurston County as the new Commissioners work to extract the county from control by the USFWS agents (seated on right with backs to the audience)

The new Thurston County Commissioners are all on the record strongly opposed to the habitat mitigation gopher tax scheme imposed by USFWS through the Federally funded planning bureaucrats “employed” by Thurston County (but actually paid by Federal grant dollars through USFWS).  It was clear that voters of Thurston County are fed up by the gopher mania and ignorance on display by bureaucrats and zealous environmentalists who avoid the consequences of the damage they do to their neighbors.  To the bureaucrat, a $42,000 gopher tax bill for every home is perfectly reasonable.  Meanwhile hundreds of people in Thurston County can’t build their home, remodel their home, or live on their land.  One upset resident has threatened a hunger strike.  Most are just disgusted by the bureaucrats that have stalled or destroyed their dreams

USFWS doesn’t care.  They never have.  When asked how many gophers live in Thurston County, they can’t say.  When asked how may gophers in Thurston County would be considered “restored” they can’t say.  They won’t say.  USFWS bureaucrats refuse to pick a tangible number to which they can be held accountable.  If no goal is set, then they don’t have to worry about successfully “restoring” the gopher, and like they admitted, it isn’t about saving the pocket gopher anyway.  They do care about their budget and expanding their power.  They do care about making sure that they can set up the circumstances for more “sue and settle” lawsuits by environmental groups like Wild Earth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, and others to sue the government, thus allowing the government to make a secret cash settlement and “agree” to some new nest of arbitrary rules never approved by any elected official.   The USFWS can then hold up their hands and say “not our fault, give them your money.”  This is the scam, and Thurston County isn’t the first place this con has been played.  

USFWS – A long history of fake science

US Fish and Wildlife Service in action

The USFWS now exists primarily to push fake science.  Many scandals about “endangered” species abound in the United States.  In Eastern Washington, the White Bluffs Bladderpod incident was classic.  This was a common plant that the USFWS claimed was endangered.  As is their style, the USFWS refused to commit an act of science to justify their claims.  Instead, an agricultural group took plant samples and hired independant 3rd party scientists to evaluate the DNA of the “White Bluffs Bladderpod” only to find it is a common weed found in 7 western states.  The truth doesn’t matter to the USFWS, they are listing the plant anyway and the local property owners will be denied access to or use of their lands.  This is how USFWS operates.

The hapless Thurston County pocket gopher is a similar story.  A series of well-researched articles was written a few years ago by a local researcher named Melissa Genson exposing much of the fraud and incompetence behind the gopher madness.  It is hard to dispute the

This is the one sure method to produce excellent pocket gopher habitat

facts and the silliness of the current state of the pocket gopher scam in this community.  To many local residents, the term “pocket gopher” has begun to symbolize the incompetence and dishonesty of government, and this is why new county commissioners have been elected.  While the USFWS arrests local residents who trap a gopher and charge them with felonies – a few miles away, the owls are creating a veritable gopher holocaust.  Yet, somehow this gopher thrives in nearby yards, fields, and on the artillery impact range at Ft. Lewis.  

A strong case for eliminating the USFWS, restore local control

Many people are learning that the USFWS is out of control. This is a billboard in North Carolina

An effort to reorganize the Federal bureaucracy is beginning in Washington DC.  There is understandable skepticism that this process can be successful.  However, opportunities are created by the incompetence and corruption of government agencies and departments like the USFWS.  The USFWS exists under the department of the Interior.  However, this agency is almost entirely redundant.  Every state has an equivalent state agency that does basically the same function – manage wildlife, and they are far more effective and more likely to be aware of local problems and needs.  Secondly, the USFWS manages and supervises a variety of wildlife refuges around the nation.  These could easily be transferred to the states and managed more cost effectively and responsibly by the local agencies.  Finally, the USFWS has a group of specialists who focus on the inspecting and managing the importation of specialized items involving endangered species and related products.  This department’s employees and skills could be transferred to the Customs Department.

This change could also begin the process to clean up the corrupt sue and settle schemes that are widely directed by the USFWS today and operate as legal kickback schemes to their accomplices in the environmentalist scene.  Restoring local control over the natural resources will ensure a more rational approach to both protecting species and supporting local communities.  State agencies and local government will be less likely to apply a one size fits all top-down approach to solving local challenges.  Property owners could be rewarded for creating the natural habitat where endangered species can survive rather than be punished for being good stewards of their land.  Perhaps, without the USFWS pushing politicized fake science, real science could once again be used to study and understand unique and rare animals.  Perhaps this energy and these resources could be directed at animals that don’t thrive in artillery impact zones.  

Citizen stands outside pocket gopher hearing in Thurston County

Although it may cost the jobs of some Federal bureaucrats, strengthened state wildlife services would ensure a more rational and local approach to protecting wildlife.  Until that time, Thurston County Commissioners fight back against the dream-devouring Leviathan of the USFWS.  Until that time, local residents watch their dreams of homeownership die, schools remain crowded, trees go unplanted, and the frustration with the incompetence of government grows.  Environmentalist cheer the harm they inflict on their fellow man while hoping for a cash payout in their future lawsuit.  A hunger strike begins.  The gophers continue to thrive and die by the thousands in the talons of the owls, in the dark quiet of the woods, the silence of the gophers…

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

Related Background Articles about Pocket Gophers in Thurston County:

Thurston County invents a new $42,000 pocket gopher tax for new homeowners

Gophers, Artillery, and US Fish and Wildlife

Gopher wins ESA Listing Based on Genitalia Size

Can a Well-Endowed “Endangered” Gopher Really Drive a Tractor?

Shooting Owls, Counting Slugs, and Fighting Evolution, USFWS hard at work.

Washington State Protects Gophers Better than Cops, Citizens

International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature Behind Pocket Gopher Hoax

Secret Gopher Map Reveals Washington Agency’s Power

Government Claims About Pocket Gopher Protection Remain Flawed

Outdated Essays on Pocket Gophers Reveal Lack of Evidence for ESA Listing

Washington State Fish and Wildlife “FAQ” sheet about pocket gophers

The Olympian – Thurston County Couple at wit’s end over county delaying new home

Tri-City Herald – Endangered claim for White Bluffs Bladderpod questioned

South Thurston Journal – The Great Gopher Hoax – How I Uncovered the ESA fraud

Sue and Settle – Regulating Behind Closed Doors

Environmental Groups keep suing – despite vast ESA settlement agreements

USDA and other Federal Govt Source Documents about efforts to eradicate pocket gophers

2017- USDA – “Identifying possible alternative rodenticide baits to replace strychnine baits for pocket gophers in California”

2000- USDA – “Integrated management tactics for predicting and alleviating pocket gopher (Thomomys spp.) damage to conifer reforestation plantings”

1999- USDA’ -“Trapping Considerations for the Fossorial Pocket Gopher”

1992- USDA – “SUMMARY OF A USDA FOREST SERVICE POCKET GOPHER TRAPPING CONTRACT”

1992- USDA presentation – “FIELD EFFICACY EVALUATION OF DIPHACINONE PARAFFIN BAIT BLOCKS AND STRYCHNINE OAT GROATS FOR CONTROL OF FOREST POCKET GOPHERS”

1990- USDA presentation – “ANIMAL DAMAGE PROBLEMS AND CONTROL ACTIVITIES ON NATIONAL FOREST SYSTEM LANDS”

1990 – USDA presentation – “REPRODUCTION AND POPULATION STRUCTURE OF POCKET GOPHERS FROM IRRIGATED ALFALFA FIELDS”

1990 -Proceedings of the Fourteenth Vertebrate Pest Conference – “ACQUIRED STRYCHNINE TOLERANCE BY POCKET GOPHERS”

1990 -Proceedings of the Fourteenth Vertebrate Pest Conference-“A COMPARISON OF SEVERAL POCKET GOPHER BAITS IN THE FIELD”

1984 – USFWS presentation -“HAZARDS TO GOLDEN-MANTLED GROUND SQUIRRELS AND ASSOCIATED SECONDARY HAZARD POTENTIAL FROM STRYCHNINE FOR FOREST SECONDARY POCKET GOPHERS”

1982 – USFWS presentation – “EVALUATION OF ZINC PHOSPHIDE BAIT FOR POCKET GOPHER CONTROL ON FOREST LAND”

1980 – USFWS presentation – “HAZARDS TO SMALL MAMMALS ASSOCIATED WITH UNDERGROUND STRYCHNINE BAITING FOR POCKET GOPHERS”

1978 – USFWS presentation – “”VEXAR” PLASTIC NETTING TO REDUCE POCKET GOPHER DEPREDATION OF CONIFER SEEDLINGS”

1976 – US Forest Service presentation – “INCREASING POCKET GOPHER PROBLEMS IN REFORESTATION”

1970 – US Forest Service presentation – “POCKET GOPHER PROBLEMS AND CONTROL PRACTICES ON NATIONAL FOREST LANDS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGION”

1962 – Proceedings of the 1st Vertebrate Pest Conference- “CONTROL OF POCKET GOPHERS”

The Devil made them do it – Spokane Democrat Party in serious legal trouble

Andrew Biviano is still in denial about the seriousness of the charges against the Spokane County Democratic Party

Last Friday, the Spokane County Democrats received a Public Disclosure Commission complaint about serious campaign finance violations.  The initial response by the newly elected Spokane County Democrat Chair Andrew Biviano was to deny any wrongdoing and reassure the members that all was well.  His statement couldn’t be more wrong.  Donors and Democratic Party members should be worried.

It is true that a complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) can allege anything. This doesn’t make the claims true.  However, as the author of this complaint, I will point out that every allegation is based on records either filed with the PDC or as exhibits attached to the complaint itself.  These are easy to review and verify (see original complaint linked here).  In summary, these are the allegations in this complaint, and all are supported by the documents provided or found in the public record:

1). Elected Chair and paid Executive Director and acting Treasurer Jim CastroLang Falsified C4 expenditure reports to hide Spokane County Democratic Central Committee (SCDCC) payments of at least $17,260.36 to himself from the PDC.  (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235, .750(2)(c))

2). Failure to accurately report large donations, attempt to hide large donations, attempt to disguise and hide overlimit donations from PDC, and failure to return overlimit donations (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235, .705(2)(c))  – This included hiding a $5000 donation from the WEA, hiding multiple overlimit donations from the Spokane Firefighters, and hiding $3000 of a donation from the Spokane Tribe.  

3). Failure to register political committee, illegally “borrowing” funds from unregistered political committee, failure to report $7000 of debt (Violation of RCW 42.17A.240, .705(2)(c)).

4). Failure to timely file C3 contribution forms (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235).  From January 11 to August 22, 2016 zero reports were filed.  Later 161 late reports were filed – many over 200 days late. This included just under $100,000 of donations reported extremely late, and inaccurately (see#2 above).

5). Failure to timely file C4 expenditure forms. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235).  Again, from January 11 to August 22, 2016 zero expenditure reports were filed.  Of the 14 reports filed in 2016, only two were filed on time.  Included about $100,000 in expenditures (and inaccurate anyway – see #1 above).

6). Knowingly Filed with willful malice at least 208 forged documents with the Public Disclosure Commission (Violation of RCW 42.17A.750(2)(c), .240, .235).  Jim CastroLang filed all these documents using the name of a previous Treasurer who had resigned long before CastroLang filed these documents.

7). Failure to Update corrected C1PC form within 10 days of change (Violation of RCW 42.17A.205(4), .750).

8). Failure to list all members of the political committee on C1PC form. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.205 (2)(c), see WAC 390-05-245).

9). Failure to accurately file expenditure reports (C4) by deadline. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235).  This details the various problems in 2015 with late and inaccurate expenditure reports.

10). Failure to accurately file contribution reports (C3) by deadline. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235).  

There were additional violations made by the Spokane County Democratic Central Committee during these years, but the volume of the already documented violations seemed significant enough that additional detail was merely repetitive.

Jim CastroLang is the pastor for the Colville United Church of Christ while also part time paid Democratic Party operative

How Pastor Jim CastroLang got here

The title for Pastor CastroLang’s sermon, which seems appropriate

The pivotal actor in these violations was the former elected Chair of the Spokane County Democrats Jim CastroLang. He was elected in 2013 and again in 2015 and remained chair until late January 2017.  CastroLang is a part time pastor at a Colville United Church of Christ congregation, and has recorded sermons (like this one titled “The Devil Made Me Do it”).  CastroLang was able to convince the Spokane Democrats executive board to hire him part time for approximately $2000 per month to be a paid “executive director.”  This pay started in September of 2015.  It is not common for county level political parties to hire staff like this (Republican or Democrat).  While unusual, this is not illegal under Washington State’s campaign finance laws.  However, it is illegal to hide the payments made to employees.

Jim CastroLang juggles many responsibilities in addition to filing false information to the PDC

By late 2015, the Spokane County Democrats were regularly violating the campaign finance laws with late and inaccurate filings.  These violations were already more significant than any of the violations which have recently triggered lawsuits by Attorney General Bob Ferguson against Speaker of the House Frank Chopp, Senator Sam Hunt, the Thurston County Democrats, Theresa Purcell, Jim Cooper,  or Secretary of State Kim Wyman.  However, rather than improving the professionalism or growth of the Spokane County Party, compliance by the SCDCC with campaign finance laws degraded.  In 2016, the lack of compliance descended to what appears to be a malicious and intentional effort to deceive the PDC and the public.

It is unclear if the Spokane County Democrat Executive Board fully knew about CastroLang’s decisions to hide his personal payments from the PDC filings and also hide significant donations from the WEA, the Spokane Firefighters Union, and the Spokane Tribe, among others.  According to SCDCC minutes from 2016, it appears that CastroLang would report semi-accurate information to the executive board, but would falsify the documents filed with the PDC.  After the Spokane Democrat Party Treasurer, Justin Galloway, officially resigned in July of 2016, CastroLang failed to update any paperwork with the PDC, and began filing all official reports under Galloway’s name – over 208 of them, which is clearly against the law.

While CastroLang hid most of the payments made to himself from the public and the PDC, he did report on some of the money taken out of his paycheck for taxes and L&I.  It took purposeful effort and wilful action to file reports hiding this financial information from the public.  During 2016, it also appears, according to executive board minutes that CastroLang borrowed $7000 from another account called the “Drumheller Fund.” It appears this money was used to ensure he received his paychecks during this time, and while it was a violation of the SCDCC bylaws, there were no consequences for CastroLang for playing fast and loose with the finances and violating bylaws.

New Chair Andrew Biviano wishes away the scandal.

The Biviano family has been involved in the Spokane Democratic political scene for many years.  Andrew Biviano was elected Spokane County Democratic Party Chair after an unsuccessful effort to run for Spokane County Commissioner in 2016.  Andrew’s wife Amy Biviano ran unsuccessfully for the Washington State Legislature in 2012 (while bringing international news to that year’s legislative election).  She also made an unsuccessful attempt to become Spokane County Treasurer in the 2014 elections.  

This is not the best policy to follow right now

Andrew Biviano is an attorney.  He is also well versed in filing complaints with the PDC and the Washington State Attorney General’s office as he did a few weeks ago filing this complaint against the Freedom Foundation.  He clearly supports the AG investigative and litigation process.  Despite his background, Biviano is in the denial phase of the current investigation as he attempts to convince donors and political insiders that he can negotiate with the PDC.  He can’t.  The seriousness of the charges and the clear evidence supporting them ensure this is no longer in the hands of the PDC.  It is possible that some allegations can be explained away, but no legal tap dance is going to change the fact this complaint ends up in court with a fine and attorney’s fees.

Did the devil make Jim CastroLang do it?

CastroLang bears most of the responsibility here

Andrew Biviano is attempting to do damage control, but he can’t be blamed for the historic violations that occurred at the SCDCC.  It is clear that Pastor Jim CastroLang is the central character responsible for most of these violations.  It is also evident the checks and balances the SCDCC had in place to prevent this type of behavior failed.  The bylaws were ignored with no consequences.  The former executive board was either kept in the dark or unwilling to ask questions.  Now there is a price to be paid for this laxity.

As Pastor CastroLang is well aware, there are consequences for our actions.  All have sinned and fallen short.  It is now his turn to demonstrate this eternal truth for the rest of us.  There should be no gloating when sins and human failings are exposed.  However, there are lessons to be learned.  CastroLang’s sermon “The Devil Made Me Do it” may be an appropriate theme for the Spokane County Democrats right now, but the law doesn’t recognize the Devil.  The law only recognizes the violations.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson  is a featured speaker at this weekend’s Tom Foley dinner in Spokane, a major fundraiser for the Spokane County Democrats.  It seems odd that Ferguson would be helping an organization raise funds while they are being investigated by his office for hiding funds and ignoring the law, but they will need all the money they can get to pay the inevitable fine.  The Devil may indeed have made the Spokane Democrats violate the law, but unlike the Devil, the Attorney General doesn’t want their souls.  Angel donors with cash will be needed to give the Devil and the AG his due this time.

Sometimes you have to pay the devil his due, even if he made you do it

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

Recent articles about Spokane County Democrat Complaints

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

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

Original Complaint filed against the SCDCC – March 16, 2017

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

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

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

Recent articles about Frank Chopp Complaints

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

AG – Chopp to pay $6469 over campaign finance violations

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

The Olympian – Speaker Chopp earned his fine

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

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

Recent AG lawsuits and other pending complaints:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jay Manning skates away from transparency thanks public disclosure commission

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG press release about Jay Manning settlement

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

More Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

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

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

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

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

AG:  Eyman and Committees Violated Campaign Accounting and Disclosure Laws

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

Thurston County goes Independent, first time in state history

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

Speaker Chopp pays fine, Senator Hunt just whines

Last week, Democrat Speaker of the Washington State House Frank Chopp paid $6,469 in fines and court costs to the state for a variety of campaign finance laws broken mostly during his uncontested election for the legislature in 2016.  This lawsuit was brought against Speaker Chopp by Democrat State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.  As both Chopp and the Editorial Board of the Olympian noted, he certainly earned his fines.  In summary, Chopp committed the following violations:

Frank Chopp paid his fine and got back to work
  • 28 days late in reporting $6,722 in expenditures in 2015
  • 14 days late in disclosing $5,150 in contribution in November 2016
  • 8 days late returning over-limit contributions last November
  • Travel and campaign debt were not timely disclosed during the 2016 campaign
  • Chopp was forced to refund his campaign $1287.13 in illegal campaign reimbursements which he had originally given himself.  

In a press release on the same day the Attorney General outlined the two legal cases currently in Thurston County Superior Court which had also been filed against both Democrat Senator Sam Hunt and the Thurston County Democrats (we wrote about these cases here and here).  While the Thurston County Democrats appear to be attempting to fight their charges before they settle the case, it looks like Senator Sam Hunt is still in denial.

Frank Chopp(L) and Sam Hunt are discovering that the Size of the Campaign Finance Violation matters too

Chopp and Hunt – contrasting styles

Regardless of what anyone thinks about Frank Chopp as a politician, observers must admit, he didn’t try to deny the truth.  He accepted guilt, paid his fine, and moved on to other political priorities.  This should be respected as the adult approach to dealing with a problem like this.  

Democrat Senator Sam Hunt (D-22nd district), whose district encompasses the City of Olympia was another matter.  Originally, Senator Sam Hunt would not comment, which was probably a prudent strategy.  Later Hunt was quoted as stating that his violations were not “willful” and that he might fight the AG over these charges.  While Senator Hunt is certainly entitled to enacting whatever legal defense strategy he desires, it really won’t matter.  As long as he didn’t lie on his reporting documents, he committed at least the violations for which he has been charged.

Many lobbyists and insiders in Olympia have contrasted the response of these two experienced politicians.   Frank Chopp admitted guilt, paid his fine, then moved on.  Senator Hunt has just been whining, made a last minute effort to change the law (not to reform the underlying statute – just to protect himself from future complaints), and is flailing in anger.

Sam Hunt is not yet sure the size of the inevitable fine

This disappoints us.  Senator Sam Hunt’s original letter to the PDC (linked here) that indicated this author was ignorant of the law was very inspiring.  All these complaints originated, in no small part, due to the inspiration of Sam Hunt.  Everyone currently involved with the PDC and the AG should thank Senator Hunt for encouraging this educational effort to learn about our campaign finance laws.

 

Democrats push for Draconian penalties

Attorney General Bob Ferguson is on a litigation spree and appears to be sticking to his campaign promise to rigorously enforce campaign finance laws, even if he is a bit more reluctant now that a handful of Democrats have been caught.  However, while his office may be trying to slow down the process a bit and help their friends settle quicker for less money, others on the Democrat side of the aisle appear to be demanding even more aggressive enforcement.

Democrat Senator Van de Wege wants hard time for campaign crimes

Tina Podlodowski, recently failed candidate for Washington Secretary of State and recently elected Chair of the Washington State Democratic Party has been repeating her campaign talking points to encourage the state to be even more aggressive with bigger penalties and more bureaucracy.  

She isn’t alone. Democrat Senator Van de Wege (from the 24th Legislative District – Olympic Peninsula) even proposed a bill this session to increase the penalties including jail time for campaign finance violators. These suggested penalties seem a little harsh to this author, but we would like to be in the room while he tries to explain to Speaker Chopp why he  believes Chopp should be in jail for violating these laws rather than just pay a fine.  A penalty like jail time would ensure Senator Hunt would do far more than just whine.  

We disagree with our Democrat friends – jail time is not the answer

The need for Reform, not just punishment

These events all emphasize the need to reform the state’s campaign finance laws, but probably not travel down the road to sharia-like penalties as envisioned by Rep Van de Wege or Democrat State Party Chair Podlodowski .    Here are just a few examples of possible suggestions:

 

  • Simplify the reporting requirements.
  • Emphasize contributions more than expenditures or debt reporting.
  • In Statute – clarify minor vs. major violations – don’t leave this in the hands of a political appointee at the Public Disclosure Commission.
  • Standardize contribution limits (committees, individuals, and judges – why are the maximum amounts all different?)
  • Create a tiered penalty process that ratchets more significant for repeat offenders (and clarified in statute, not at agency level rulemaking – to avoid partisan bias)

We will probably discover more ideas for reform as we move forward.  Despite bizarre editorials by papers like the Tacoma News Tribune, there would never be a conversation about reforming these laws without examples to illustrate the need for reform in the first place. Fortunately, there are still plenty of examples to be shown.

_____________________________________________________________________

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

Recent articles about Chopp Complaints

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

AG – Chopp to pay $6469 over campaign finance violations

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

The Olympian – Speaker Chopp earned his fine

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

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

Recent articles about Spokane County Democrat Complaints

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

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

Recent AG lawsuits and other pending complaints:

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Jay Manning skates away from transparency thanks public disclosure commission

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG press release about Jay Manning settlement

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

More Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

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

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

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

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

AG:  Eyman and Committees Violated Campaign Accounting and Disclosure Laws

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

For More Background on Thurston County’s political drama:

How Democrats ripped off “Ramtha” and wasted donor money

Thurston Democrats plateau at peak paranoia

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

Democrat Party official threatens to kill me

How did the Democrats lose Thurston County?

Democrat Party now openly disavows violence

SPLC – Ramtha Riled article

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

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

ShiftWA – Will County Commissioner Candidates Return Racist Ramtha $?

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

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

Ancient Warrior Spirit endorses Democrats

Seattle Times – Democrats again under fire over JZ Knight donations

NPR – Washington Democrats reverse course, shed JZ Knight contributions

Seattle PI – Democrats do penance for JZ Knight donations

Will County Commissioner Candidates return racist Ramtha $$?

JZ Knight Tirade Videos Submitted to Politicians she supports

The Olympian – Romero to give away JZ Knight Campaign Cash

Thurston County Dems Accept Money from JZ Knight Again

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

Thurston County goes Independent, first time in state history

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

Thurston County Democratic Party sued by Attorney General for financial violations

On Monday afternoon at 4:34 pm, the Washington State Attorney General filed a civil lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court against the Thurston County Democratic Central Committee for a variety of campaign finance violations.  The lawsuit was filed after a preliminary investigation was completed by the Public Disclosure Commission based on two complaints filed by this author.  The civil complaint is linked here.  The primary charges against the Thurston County Democrats are as follows:

  • Thurston County Democrats Failed to timely disclose contributions they received to the Public Disclosure Commission on multiple occasions (violation of RCW 42.17A.235)
  • Thurston County Democrats on many and varied occasions, failed to disclose expenditures it made, including but not limited to debts and obligations as of the time they knew or should have known the amounts would exceed $250 in value, to the Public Disclosure Commission (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235)

    Thurston County Democratic Party Chair Katie Nelson is not starting 2017 on a high note (Photo:  KOMO News)

A tough year for Thurston County Democrats

For Thurston County Chair Katie Nelson, this is not the optimal way to begin her second term in leadership, and it has capped a not-so-stellar year for the local Democratic County Party.  This is particularly true because Nelson had repeatedly informed the Democrat PCOs that the “Morgan Complaint” had no merit and was frivolous.  Those promises are

Can all the cash be found?

now shown to be less than honest or accurate.  The Public Disclosure Commission and Attorney General’s office have given great deference and shown prosecutorial restraint, but clear and overt violations of the campaign finance laws can’t be ignored forever.  The time has come to clean up the books, come clean on any shady financial transactions, and start fresh.

 

Thurston County is home to the State Capital in the City of Olympia

Thurston County, which includes the Capital City of Olympia contains a variety of political legislative districts.  The 22nd District, which is made up mostly of the City of Olympia has been solidly in Democrat control since the early 80s.  The 2nd District (which also includes south eastern Pierce County) has trended solidly Republican.  The 20th District which includes a slice of south county has been solidly Republican for decades.  However, the 35th District, which is the western part of Thurston County has largely shifted to Republican control over the last few years.  Although the Thurston County Democrats spent money in the 35th and 2nd District races, there was no noticeable impact with their expenditures on the increasingly poor performance of the party’s candidates in these districts.  Other than the 22nd, the political trends in these districts appear to be shifting to the benefit of Republicans.

Three new independant commissioners in Thurston County. (L-R) John Hutchings, Bud Blake, Gary Edwards

To make matters worse for local Democrats, the Thurston County Commission – long controlled by the Democratic Party- has been entirely replaced by political Independents not officially affiliated with either the Republican or Democrat Party.  To the best of our research, this was the first time a major commission county in Washington State elected an entire commission independent of either political party.  However, this fact might be unknown if you attended Democrat Party functions since the label “Republican” has been tossed out as an epithet to describe the new commissioners.  Thurston County is not Trump Land.  Only 37.5% of the voters supported Donald Trump, yet a large majority of them also rejected the Democrat offering for local government.

Washington State AG Bob Ferguson cares about campaign finance laws which still apply in Thurston County

Attorney General Bob Ferguson seems serious about campaign finance laws

Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson campaigned on a platform to more rigorously enforce the state’s campaign finance laws.  This lawsuit against the Thurston County Democrats is just another example of his effort to fulfill this promise.  Here are a few other recent cases which the Attorney General has enforced just in the last few months when he isn’t suing Donald Trump:

The elections of 2016 were rough for Katie Nelson and the Thurston County Democrats. Their close affiliation with local cult leader JZ Knight, who claims to channel a 35,000 year old homicidal Lemurian warrior spirit named Ramtha and has warned about the impending invasion of the Lizard People among other prophesies has generated understandable concern.  In 2012, videos of JZ Knight making racist statements about Mexicans, Jews, and Catholics (and weirdly enough – organic farmers) surfaced, causing the State Democrat Party to divest itself from JZ Knight/Ramtha campaign cash.  However, since 2014, JZ Knight/Ramtha has given the Thurston County Democrats over $215,000 in campaign donations (including earmarked PAC cash).  Chair Katie Nelson was forced to go on KOMO News and renounce political violence during the 2016 election cycle in response to a publicized death threat by a local Democrat PCO against this author (see the news segment).  A judge issued a restraining order against the Democrat PCO.  Finally, the entire local Democrat Party leadership was recently ousted (with the exception of Nelson) in the party reorganization last year.  The new leadership has decided to move their meetings away from the Thurston County Courthouse now because it is no longer a “safe space” to meet since “Republicans” control the building now.  

New Leadership is in charge of the Thurston County Democratic Party, but they still have a legacy mess to clean up.

All of this recent drama is boosted by the fact that the Attorney General is investigating both recent Democrat candidates for the county commission seats, local State Senator Sam Hunt, and fined local Cult PAC director Jay Manning (former Director of Ecology and Chief of Staff for Governor Gregoire) $4800.  This recent lawsuit and investigation of the Thurston County Democrats is not optimal news for Katie Nelson.  This is probably why the proposed agenda for the next Thurston County Democratic Meeting (at a still undisclosed location – see document here) emphasizes “Unity” as the main topic of discussion.   The Washington State Democratic Party has offered to help with some of the legal defense, but there is some concern internally that the cost to defend this lawsuit may be a bit higher than originally anticipated.  Unity is a logical rallying cry for Nelson.

The previous Democrat County Commissioners Wolfe, Romero and Valenzuela helped lay the foundation for where the Thurston County Democrats find themselves today.  There are always consequences.

Many local observers believe that when this lawsuit is settled and the fines and legal fees are finally paid, the new Thurston County Democrats can make a fresh start and begin rebuilding their local party brand once again.  Thurston County has historically been friendly territory for the Democrats, and despite a cascade of recent setbacks, it seems likely they can rebuild and rebound from this setback.  In the meantime, Nelson may want to be more honest with party activists and leadership and perhaps get a treasurer willing to do a better job keeping the books.  If this can be achieved at some point in the future, then the recent tribulations and scandals will only serve to make the party stronger and more transparent than before.  That is a worthy goal for any political party.

In Thurston County, the show must go on with a local cast of characters involved in these campaign finance investigations and 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

Recent AG lawsuit and other pending complaints:

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

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

October 13, 2016 – Original PDC complaint against Theresa Purcell – PDC #8913

October 30, 2016 – Purcell response to PDC complaint PDC #8913

February 23, 2017 -Purcell response to AG 

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

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

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

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

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

Jay Manning skates away from transparency thanks public disclosure commission

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG press release about Jay Manning settlement

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

More Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

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

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

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

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

AG:  Eyman and Committees Violated Campaign Accounting and Disclosure Laws

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

For More Background on Thurston County’s political drama:

How Democrats ripped off “Ramtha” and wasted donor money

Thurston Democrats plateau at peak paranoia

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

Democrat Party official threatens to kill me

How did the Democrats lose Thurston County?

Democrat Party now openly disavows violence

SPLC – Ramtha Riled article

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

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

ShiftWA – Will County Commissioner Candidates Return Racist Ramtha $?

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

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

Ancient Warrior Spirit endorses Democrats

Seattle Times – Democrats again under fire over JZ Knight donations

NPR – Washington Democrats reverse course, shed JZ Knight contributions

Seattle PI – Democrats do penance for JZ Knight donations

Will County Commissioner Candidates return racist Ramtha $$?

JZ Knight Tirade Videos Submitted to Politicians she supports

The Olympian – Romero to give away JZ Knight Campaign Cash

Thurston County Dems Accept Money from JZ Knight Again

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

Thurston County goes Independent, first time in state history

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

 

 

Failed Democrat candidate Purcell fights Washington Attorney General, claims campaign finance laws are illegal

Theresa Purcell is pushing back against Attorney General Bob Ferguson

Theresa Purcell failed to win her race for the Washington State Legislature (19th District) in 2016.  Her defeat by Representative Jim Walsh, the first Republican to be elected in this district since World War II stunned many political insiders.  However, her election defeat won’t be the last word from this campaign.  She is now bitterly contesting a lawsuit filed against her by Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who has recently made national news and a name for himself litigating against Donald Trump.  The AG is suing Purcell because she failed to abide by various campaign finance laws during her failed campaign (see AG lawsuit linked here).  However, Purcell is fighting back.

Teresa Purcell during happier days campaigning for office (source KBKW radio, Aberdeen)

Theresa Purcell ran a campaign based on her “uncommon experience,”  which appears to have not helped the election, but it may apply to her battle with Washington’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson.  Purcell also ran a consulting business specializing in political campaigns among other support activities.  Her experience with political campaigns apparently didn’t include much knowledge of campaign finance reporting – a common mistake by political candidates.  Unfortunately for Purcell, a complaint filed by this author with the Public Disclosure Commission last October (linked here) reported a significant number of campaign finance violations with her campaign.  The Attorney General agreed and chose to file suit.  

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson campaigned on aggressive enforcement of campaign finance laws

AG Bob Ferguson aggressively litigates campaign finance violations

Bob Ferguson campaigned for office, in part, promising to more rigorously enforce the state’s campaign finance laws.  Not everyone thought this was a real promise, but he has been on a roll lately.  Here are a sampling of recent campaign finance cases:

Purcell is understandably upset about the campaign finance laws and rules.  She was annoyed with the AG as can be seen with her response to the original complaint (linked here) and her public comments since.  This is interesting because Purcell’s nephew works for the Attorney General – Solicitor General Noah Purcell- and he has been prominent in the lawsuit filed against Donald Trump.  Of course, there are hundreds of attorneys paid by the taxpayers working for the AG, but it doesn’t appear any of Purcell’s relatives are involved in the current litigation against her.  The primary charges by the AG against Purcell are as follows:

  • AG claims Purcell failed to timely and properly report debts, orders placed, and obligations as those debts and obligations were incurred (violation of RCW 42.17A.235 and .240)
  • AG claims Purcell failed to properly and timely report the required employer and occupation for those contributors providing more than $100 in contributions to her campaign (violation of RCW 42.17A.235 and .240)
  • AG further claims that Purcell’s actions were negligent and/or intentional
Pursuit of your passion is important, and Purcell is happy to fight this battle

Unconstitutional laws and the Attorney General’s “unclean hands”

Campaign finance violations are not uncommon.  AG lawsuits for campaign finance violations is becoming slightly more common, but the willingness to actually fight back, deny everything, and attack the Attorney General for having “unclean hands” and for attempting to enforce unconstitutional laws, now THAT is indeed uncommon (see Purcell response linked here).  “Unclean Hands” is a legal term defined as follows:

“a legal doctrine which is a defense to a complaint, which states that a party who is asking for a judgment cannot have the help of the court if he/she has done anything unethical in relation to the subject of the lawsuit. Thus, if a defendant can show the plaintiff had “unclean hands,” the plaintiff’s complaint will be dismissed or the plaintiff will be denied judgment.Unclean hands is a common “affirmative defense” pleaded by defendants, which must be proved by the defendant.” (found in legal dictionary)
We need more people willing to challenge the status quo

So, basically Purcell is arguing that the State Attorney General’s office has done something unethical and that the state’s campaign finance laws are unconstitutional.  I applaud her for her effort and will cheer her in this quest.  If she can succeed in this defense, Purcell will either overturn Washington State’s campaign finance laws because they are unconstitutional or prove that the Washington State Attorney General has committed some unethical action.  Either way, if she achieves one of these goals, she will become a trailblazer for future politicians and candidates who face similar campaign finance violations.

Common Violations can lead to Uncommon Experiences

In hindsight, the original complaint filed against Purcell was submitted when this author was less knowledgeable about the campaign finance laws (and was helpfully informed by Senator Sam Hunt of this fact).  After studying these laws more, it is obvious Purcell actually committed more violations that were missed during the first complaint.  At some point, this should be communicated to the AG in the interest of providing a complete and accurate scope of the violations.  However, none of these additional violations would change the Purcell defense strategy, which could have a significant impact on the state if she can prevail.  Over the next few years, observers of all political stripes should track the progress and final result of this case.  If Theresa Purcell is able to prevail over Attorney General Bob Ferguson, then this would be an uncommon experience indeed.   

_____________________________________________________________________

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

Recent AG lawsuit and other pending complaints:

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

October 13, 2016 – Original PDC complaint against Theresa Purcell – PDC #8913

October 30, 2016 – Purcell response to PDC complaint PDC #8913

February 23, 2017 -Purcell response to AG 

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

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

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

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

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

Jay Manning skates away from transparency thanks public disclosure commission

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG press release about Jay Manning settlement

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

 

More Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

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

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

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

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

AG:  Eyman and Committees Violated Campaign Accounting and Disclosure Laws

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

For More Background on Purcell’s campaign efforts:

How did a Republican win in the 19th District?  There are many possible reasons

Governor Inslee visits Kelso to campaign for Purcell

Theresa Purcell seeks District 19 position

Purcell expected to win 19th District House Seat, but too close to call

AG Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

 

Both failed Democrat candidates for county commission violated laws and are sued by Attorney General

Jim Cooper and Kelsey Hulse - they were the only Democrat choices for Thurston County

Both Democrat candidates for Thurston County Commissioner seats last year are now under formal investigation and litigation by the Washington State Attorney General’s office.  Last Friday, at 4:53pm a lawsuit was filed in Thurston Superior Court against Kelsey Hulse  and her campaign committee for violating campaign finance laws (copy of AG lawsuit linked here).  Although Hulse admitted to a variety of campaign finance violations, the primary claim in this lawsuit is that she failed to timely disclose debt incurred and in-kind contributions received (over-limit) to the Public Disclosure Commission (violation of RCW 42.17A.240)

Copious amounts of alcohol couldn’t keep the AG away

Two Thurston County Commissioner seats were up for election in 2016 – both seats were vacated by longtime Democrat incumbents and former legislators Cathy Wolfe and Sandra Romero.   However, despite the prediction by local Democrat party leaders that this election was to be a “coronation” rather than election, Thurston County voters rejected the Democrat candidates and voted for two politically independent choices instead (despite the fact that Trump only received 37.5% in this county).  New County Commissioners John Hutchings and Gary Edwards took office in January.  

Even the Green Party endorsement couldn’t carry Hulse to victory

However, the election drama has not ended for failed Democrat candidate Jim Cooper – who has been in court defending himself from a wide range and variety of campaign finance violations since before Christmas.   Now failed Democrat candidate Kelsey Hulse has the opportunity to share Cooper’s experiences, which could be a bonding moment of sorts.  Like Mr. Cooper, Hulse committed a variety of campaign finance violations.  Unlike Cooper, however, 2016 was the first time Hulse has run for office.  Both the Public Disclosure Commission and the Attorney General’s office appeared to appropriately provide her more forbearance and understanding than the experienced politician Cooper.  Unfortunately for Hulse, the extensive campaign violations

Campaigning isn’t easy, and it isn’t for everyone

accumulated to the point where Attorney General Bob Ferguson was compelled to file suit on Friday. 

Jim Cooper’s legal travails have been discussed in more detail here.  While most observers expect that a settlement will be negotiated eventually, it isn’t clear when that will happen, and more violations have been discovered since the original lawsuit was filed (see PDC Case #14388, PDC Case #13695, and PDC Case #11392 ).

Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Campaign Finance Roll…

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson cares about campaign finance laws

Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson campaigned last year, in part, on a platform of more rigorously enforcing Washington State’s campaign finance laws.  Some recent lawsuits Ferguson has filed include:

Where have all those political friends gone?

Kelsey Hulse will probably find the negotiated settlement process a bit easier to navigate than Cooper.  However, several outside observers are wondering where the established Democrat politicians have gone who recruited and convinced her to run for office in the first place.  It seems odd that they not only failed to provide her adequate mentoring and help with her campaign finance documents, but they seem to flee from her side once she lost the race and became entangled with the Attorney General’s office.  Fascinating how political “friends” can be quite fickle and hard to find during the tough times.  The real test of a true political friend is one who will stay by your side even when you lose a campaign and the Attorney General files a lawsuit against you.

Kelsey Hulse remains understandably perplexed by campaign finance laws and the abandonment of her former political allies (source: Hulse campaign website)

_____________________________________________________________________

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

Recent AG lawsuit and other pending complaints:

February 24, 2017 – Attorney General lawsuit against Kelsey Hulse (Thurston Superior Court – #17-2-00848-34)

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

December 19, 2016 – Sam Hunt – original PDC  complaint #11378

November 22, 2016 – Sam Hunt – original response to first PDC complaint

October 22, 2016 – Sam Hunt – original PDC complaint #9205 (very weak)

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

December 28, 2016 – Original PDC complaint (PDC Case #11338) filed against Frank Chopp 

Speaker Chopp response to Morgan Complaint (PDC Case 11388)

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

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

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

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

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

Direct link to the original complaint filed by AG against Jim Cooper

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

Public Disclosure Commission – Case #8928 – report on investigation – December 16, 2016

Original complaint filed against Jim Cooper – PDC Case #8928 – filed October 17, 2016

PDC warning letter to Jim Cooper – Case #8928 – December 16, 2016

More Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

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

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

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

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

AG:  Eyman and Committees Violated Campaign Accounting and Disclosure Laws

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

For More Background on this story (Thurston County Drama):

The Truth about Jim Cooper

Olympia City Councilman Jim Cooper was Pitchman for Drug Dealer’s Securities Fraud

How did the Democrats lose Thurston County?

County Commission Race Turns Ugly with PAC-funded Robocalls and Mailers

Last week it was a death threat – this week he is getting sued for election Robocalls

Man investigated for death threat told deputy he was “fed up” after robocall

Lawsuit filed against Property Rights Activist over Robocalls

Five candidates battle for Thurston Commissioner Seat, but who are they?

Thurston County goes independant – first time in state history

Thurston County Auditor bends rules to help Allen Miller (and Jim Cooper)

Attorney General sues Democrat Senator Sam Hunt for violating campaign finance laws

On Friday, at 4:56pm , Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court against Democrat Senator Sam Hunt (22nd Legislative District, Olympia) and his candidate’s authorized campaign committee for a variety of violations of Washington State’s campaign finance laws enshrined in RCW 42.17A (copy of complaint filed in court linked here). The lawsuit has three core claims:

  • Sam Hunt failed to timely and properly report debts and obligations/orders placed as those obligations were incurred (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235 & .240)
  • Sam Hunt failed to properly and timely report the value of the mailing list he obtained from the Washington State Democratic Party (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235 & .240)
  • Sam Hunt failed to timely report expenditures he made during the 2016 election campaign (again, Violation of RCW 42.17A.235 & .240)
Sam Hunt is unsure about the size of the inevitable fine which will be imposed by the AG

This lawsuit began with a complaint filed by this author on December 19, 2016 with the Public Disclosure Commission (see original PDC complaint linked here).  However, the origins of this campaign finance violation actually began even earlier.

During a hotly contested race for the Thurston County Commissioner seats, the Thurston County Democrats and their chosen candidates were expecting to cruise to a “coronation” since Democrats had dominated the Thurston County Commission as long as anyone could remember.  However, two independent candidates for these offices (soon to become Commissioner John Hutchings and Commissioner Gary Edwards) were still campaigning hard and some were starting to recognize this was going to be a serious race.  I participated in the campaign process with a micro PAC and some Robocalls, which upset the political establishment who preferred that political opposition remain silent and unheard.  This included Senator Sam Hunt, who gave me the original idea for the Robocalls in Thurston County due to his history of attack Robocalls in the past.  

Representative Sam Hunt had contacted the Olympian to complain about my Robocalls and to claim that I had violated a host of campaign laws.  Dueling Public Disclosure Complaints ensued.  My first complaint against Sam Hunt was pretty weak (linked here) and Representative Sam Hunt (soon to be Senator) wrote a letter to the PDC claiming that I was ignorant about campaign finance laws (linked here).  Sam Hunt was right.  I was ignorant.  So I resolved to educate myself – a process that appears likely to take many years, but which helped me file the complaint which led to the current lawsuit by the Attorney General’s office against Senator Hunt. 

Bob Ferguson is serious about campaign finance laws and appears eager to litigate

Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson campaigned last year, in part, on a platform of more rigorously enforcing Washington State’s campaign finance laws.  Some recent lawsuits Ferguson has filed include:

In Senator Hunt’s original letter he bragged about never having a PDC complaint filed against him in 24 years in public office.  That streak is now over (and wasn’t entirely accurate as was pointed out in the second complaint).  

Sam Hunt has inspired a greater interest in Campaign Finance Law

Eventually, Sam Hunt will pay a nominal fine plus some investigation and attorney fees to justify the bureaucracy’s efforts.  Attorney General Ferguson will do this with little fanfare.  Hunt’s future campaign paperwork will certainly improve and get a lot less sloppy.  However, this author owes a debt to Senator Sam Hunt for his willingness to point out my lack of education on campaign finance law and for encouraging me to become more educated in the process.  

This inspiration has created the opportunity to learn so much, and share this knowledge with the Attorney General’s office and the Public Disclosure Commission, which in turn has kept Attorney General Ferguson true to his campaign promise to more rigorously enforce the campaign finance laws.  In the end, Senator Sam Hunt’s penalties and fines will be a small price to pay if his mistakes and failures lead to the self-improvement of others.  Perhaps his errors will improve transparency and the campaign finance laws for everyone else.

_____________________________________________________________________

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

Recent Sam Hunt lawsuit and other pending complaints:

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

December 19, 2016 – Sam Hunt – original PDC  complaint #11378

November 22, 2016 – Sam Hunt – original response to first PDC complaint

October 22, 2016 – Sam Hunt – original PDC complaint #9205 (very weak)

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

December 28, 2016 – Original PDC complaint (PDC Case #11338) filed against Frank Chopp 

Speaker Chopp response to Morgan Complaint (PDC Case 11388)

February 24, 2017 – Attorney General lawsuit against Kelsey Hulse (Thurston Superior Court – #17-2-00848-34)

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

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

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

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

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

Direct link to the original complaint filed by AG against Jim Cooper

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

Public Disclosure Commission – Case #8928 – report on investigation – December 16, 2016

Original complaint filed against Jim Cooper – PDC Case #8928 – filed October 17, 2016

PDC warning letter to Jim Cooper – Case #8928 – December 16, 2016

Background articles on Attorney General lawsuits:

Can political insiders violate campaign finance laws with no consequences?

AG Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against 19th District House Candidate

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

AGO Files Campaign Finance Complaint Against Secretary of State Kim Wyman

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

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

AG:  Eyman and Committees Violated Campaign Accounting and Disclosure Laws

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

For More Background on this story (Thurston County Drama):

The Truth about Jim Cooper

How did the Democrats lose Thurston County?

County Commission Race Turns Ugly with PAC-funded Robocalls and Mailers

Last week it was a death threat – this week he is getting sued for election Robocalls

Man investigated for death threat told deputy he was “fed up” after robocall

Lawsuit filed against Property Rights Activist over Robocalls

Five candidates battle for Thurston Commissioner Seat, but who are they?

Thurston County goes independant – first time in state history

Thurston County Auditor bends rules to help Allen Miller (and Jim Cooper)

 

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