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)
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.
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
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’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:
- Democrat Speaker of the House Frank Chopp (see complaint linked here)
- Democrat Senator Sam Hunt (22nd District) (see complaint linked here)
- Failed Democrat candidate for the Legislature (19th District) Theresa Purcell. (see complaint linked here)
- Failed Democrat candidate for the Thurston County Commission Jim Cooper (see complaint linked here).
- Failed Democrat candidate for the Thurston County Commission Kelsey Hulse (see complaint linked here).
- Puget Sound Partnership Leadership Council Director Jay Manning (see complaint linked here and the rapid $4800 settlement linked here)
- Republican Secretary of State Kim Wyman (see AG press release about lawsuit filed against Wyman here and the $10,000 settlement here).
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.
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)