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)

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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 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)

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