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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Strategy book from Washington State Democrats

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

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

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

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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

Additional Background articles and documents:

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

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

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

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

Letter from the Island County Democrats claiming they have now dissolved

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

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

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

Original PDC complaint filed against Pierce County Democrats

Washington State Attorney General’s list of campaign finance settlements

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

Thanksgiving spirit – bringing Democrats and Republicans together in King County

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

The Scorched wasteland of Washington State’s campaign finance laws

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

June 23, 2017 – AG’s Office demands documents be disclosed in campaign finance case

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. Good point, Glen. Podlodowski needs to consider PRECEDENCE. As chair of the state party, she’s got to have more in her tool kit than knee-jerk reactions to current problems. She’s responsible for long-range strategy, but such operation is clearly beyond her current skill and experience level.

    The State Ds are in a bad pickle by having someone so inexperienced as chair. Podlowdowski’s solutions might be far more damaging to them than your complaints.

    Insert cartoon of wheels coming off wagon with Podlowdowski holding reins.

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