Attorney General Bob Ferguson at Central Washington University recently.  He had originally planned to just use the tool of the campaign finance laws against Republicans.
To receive the latest news from We the Governed delivered straight to your inbox

Last Friday, the Thurston County Democrats agreed to settle the lawsuit filed against them by the Washington State Attorney General’s office in 2017 for a wide variety of campaign finance violations (see settlement linked here).  The Thurston Democrats were found to have extensive campaign finance violations stretching back many years and were fined $16, 686 (with half suspended assuming they don’t break the law again over the next four years probationary period), plus they agreed to pay $10,740 in legal and investigative costs to the Attorney General’s office.  Since the total of the settlement exceeded the ability of the Thurston County Democrats to pay the fines and fees, a payment plan was arranged with the State of Washington which will be in effect for many years to come.

Thurston County Democrats at their January 23, 2017 meeting (Source: Facebook). Many of the attendees at this meeting were told there was nothing to see with this author’s PDC complaints against them.

The AG lawsuit against the Thurston County Democrats was originally initiated by a complaint filed by this author on January 3, 2017 (linked here).  The original lawsuit was filed by the Washington State Attorney General’s office on March 6, 2017 (linked here).  After the initial lawsuit was filed, additional violations of the Washington State campaign finance laws (RCW 42.17A) were discovered, and the lawsuit was updated twice to reflect these additional violations.  Some of these violations were discovered because this author continued to provide updates of additional violations to the Public Disclosure Commission (linked here, here, here, here, and here) as well as additional violations discovered by investigative staff at the AG’s office.  The final violations detailed in the final updated lawsuit (linked here) were as follows:

  • Substantial late reporting of contributions during all election years including 2015, 2016, 2017, and in 2018. This prevented the public and media from knowing who was contributing to the Thurston County Democrats during these election years.
  • Substantial late reporting of expenditures during all election years including 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. This prevented the public and media from knowing who the Thurston County Democrats were funding and how they were spending their resources.  Numerous specific examples were provided in the third amended complaint.
  • Late Reported debts and obligations were also commonplace. This included failure to accurately report during 2016, 2017, and 2018 election years.  Several examples were provided.  This prevented the public, donors and supporters from knowing the debts and obligations the Thurston Democratic Central Committee was incurring.
  • Failure to timely update their committee registration form in a timely manner in 2017 after they elected a new party chair. This also prevented the public from knowing who was in charge of the Thurston County Democrats.

Thurston Democrats – not the Only County Democratic Party breaking the law

The Thurston County Democrats are not alone in breaking Washington State’s Campaign finance laws.  For example, the following Democratic County Parties were also caught and exposed by this author for breaking the law:

  • Pierce County Democrats – Sued by AG on August 14, 2017, settled lawsuit on October 25, 2017 for $38,520. See story linked here
  • Kittitas County Democrats – Sued by AG on July 14, 2017, settled lawsuit on March 2, 2018 for $27,782. See story linked here
  • San Juan County Democrats – Sued by AG on June 29, 2017, settled lawsuit on April 20, 2018 for $13,105. See story linked here.
  • Spokane County Democrats – Sued by AG on May 11, 2017, still in litigation.
    Former Spokane County Democratic Party Executive Director Jim CastroLang was a pastor and willing to break the law to hide his income from the public. He is being personally sued along with the Spokane County Democrats.

    Probably the most egregious violator of the state’s campaign finance laws in this list.  Both the former Treasurer and former Executive Director have also been sued personally.  See article here, here, and here.

  • King County Democrats – Sued by AG on May 11, 2017 as well. Also still in litigation.  See article here.
  • Clallam County Democrats – Sued by author on behalf of the State of Washington on December 26, 2017, settled lawsuit April 18, 2018 for $12,100. See story linked here.
  • Clark County Democrats – Sued by author on behalf of the State of Washington on April 4, 2018, still in litigation. See story linked here.
  • Island County Democrats – Sued by author on behalf of the State of Washington on August 31, 2017, still in litigation, but County Party has “dissolved” in attempt to avoid liability. See story linked here.
  • Skagit County Democrats – Sued by author on behalf of the State of Washington on March 19, 2018, still in litigation.
  • Pacific County Democrats – Dissolved and gave all funds to State Democratic Party in effort to avoid liability for campaign finance violations. Not yet in litigation.  See story linked here.

Of course, Democratic Party organizations are not the only ones who violate the state’s campaign finance laws as the Clark County Republicans recently discovered with this recent settlement they made with the AG.

Thurston County Democrats – More than the Party – A Contagion of Lawbreaking exposed…

However, in Thurston County, the inability of Democratic Party leaders and political insiders to follow the state’s campaign finance and open government transparency laws appears to have reached epidemic proportions and raise troubling questions about government ethics by political insiders in the state’s capital.  A partial list of Thurston County politicians and political insiders who have been exposed by this author for their failure to follow the law, in addition to the Thurston County Democrats are as follows:

Jay Manning got caught – twice

While the Thurston County Democrats can console themselves with the knowledge that they are not alone in their lawbreaking, somebody should be taking a closer look at exactly what is happening in the state capital and political insiders when it comes to following the law.


How Did we get here?  It all started in Thurston County…

This recent 20 month exposure of widespread lawbreaking all began with the 2016 elections for the Thurston County CommissionThis author had been actively engaged in opposing oppressive land use regulations and exposing general incompetence and failures of the incumbent Democrat County Commissioners who decided to retire from political office.  With limited funding and time, this author used robocalls as a way to communicate to local voters about how unsuited for office candidate Jim Cooper was and also the problems associated with the Thurston County Democrats being funded by a disgraced local cult leader named JZ Knight (exposed in 2012 for her racist rants – videos released by this author at the time- while she channeled a 35,000 year old Lumarian Warrior spirit named “Ramtha).

JZ Knight channels “Ramtha” – a 35,000 year old warrior spirit and donates big cash to Democrats. Occasionally makes racist hate speech…

In a few weeks time, the Thurston County Commission elections were won by independents for the first time in Washington State history with no Democrats left on the Commission.  Additionally, this author was sued by the Washington State Democratic Party, JZ Knight (using her son and cult followers as plaintiffs), a PDC complaint was filed against this author by the Washington State Democratic Party, and a death threat against this author was made by a local Democratic PCO.



Democrat PCO Laurien Weisser threatened to kill this author

In a compressed time frame, a restraining order was issued by a Thurston County Judge against the Democratic Party PCO who made the death threat (not the brightest guy as he called from his home phone and left a voicemail death threat), the PDC complaint was dismissed, the Democratic Party lawsuit was settled (no money), and only the JZ Knight cult lawsuit was left to fester as a hangover from that election cycle.


This author was inspired to push back against the legal assault from three sources.  First, the Washington State Democratic Party had been using the state’s campaign finance laws extensively to file complaints against political opponents (not just this author) for decades.  Secondly, Senator Sam Hunt claimed this author was ignorant about the states campaign finance laws (he was right, which encouraged further research and effort).  Finally, Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s creation of a Campaign Finance Unit and a promise to enforce campaign finance laws was well known at the time and although he was mostly suing Republicans, the law was theoretically non-partisan.

Thurston County Democratic Party Chair Katie Nelson renounces violence, which was a new direction

The Thurston County Democratic Party Chair at the time was Katie Nelson, who was forced to go on KOMO news and officially renounce violence as a legitimate political campaign tactic.  Nelson resigned from the Party Chair position a few months later.  This resignation last year led to the election of Boudicca Walsh, a self-described Trans Radical Witch of Olympia, who wisely rejected taking any more cult cash from JZ Knight.

Boudicca Walsh was the new Thurston County Democratic Party Chair

Although Walsh has recently resigned (temporarily, we hope) from the chair position, the Thurston County Democrats have been struggling to comply with the state’s campaign finance laws since the original complaint filed by this author last year.  The party also hired Pacifica Law Group to defend them in their campaign finance lawsuit filed by the AG,  and has spent about $20,000 on legal costs alone over the last 18 months.  This turmoil and drama has not inspired strong or obvious Republican leadership locally, so while Independents and a Libertarian have stepped up to run for some local positions, the Democratic Party is mostly fighting amongst itself for political relevance, power and control.

Inspired by the Democrats and their attacks, this author was able to file almost 400 PDC complaints which have led to both a wave of litigation, but more importantly also some needed reform in the State’s Byzantine campaign finance laws.  This reform never would have happened if the Democrat legislators and senators hadn’t personally experienced the joys and wonder of Washington State’s campaign finance law.

Some of the political (and legal) drama is still unfolding, but we wouldn’t be where we are today without the Thurston County Democrats doing their part.  While it always feels good to settle a lawsuit, it will be four more years before they can truly put this behind them.  Not just because of the bi-annual payment plan, but also because their recent track record clearly indicates that the suspended $8,343 fine is likely to take another chunk out of their budget at some point over the next four years when they inevitably get caught breaking the law again.

For those around the state, wondering where the sudden attention to our state’s campaign finance laws came from, they need look no further than Thurston County.  It takes a cast of characters and a lot of attorneys to make a real mess, and it seems appropriate to point out that this campaign finance bonfire began in the home of the state capital.  There will be many more chapters to this story before this saga is done.




Additional Background articles and documents:

June 15, 2018 – Final Stipulation and Agreed Judgment against Thurston County Democrats (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-00972-34)

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

May 21, 2017 – Third Amended Complaint AG lawsuit against Thurston County Democrats (Thurston Superior Court #17-2-00972-34)

Author’s first PDC Complaint against Thurston County Democrats – PDC Case#11660, filed January 3, 2017

Author’s second PDC Complaint against Thurston County Democrats – PDC Case#13677, filed February 13, 2017

Author’s third PDC Complaint against Thurston County Democrats – PDC Case#15417, filed March 15, 2017

Author’s fourth PDC Complaint against Thurston County Democrats – PDC Case#18608, filed May 17, 2017

Author’s fifth PDC Complaint against Thurston County Democrats – PDC Case#24436, filed August 11, 2017

Author’s sixth PDC Complaint against Thurston County Democrats – PDC Case#34832, filed April 19, 2018

Attorney General’s updated list of Campaign Finance Settlements 

Thurston County Democratic Party sued by Attorney General for financial violations

Both failed Democratic Candidates for county commission violated laws and are sued by Attorney General

Thurston County goes Independant – first time in state history

How Democrats Ripped off “Ramtha” and wasted donor money

Clallam County Democrats break the law and settle lawsuit for $12k, promise to follow the law next time

San Juan County Democrats settle AG lawsuit for $13k, hope to do better next time

Democratic Party attacks campaign transparency in Washington 

Kittitas County Democrats settle AG campaign finance lawsuit for $28k in fines and penalties

Pacific County Democrats dissolve and commit fraud to avoid transparency

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

For Spokane Democrats and allied PACs -a financial reckoning for lawbreakers

Spokane Democrats take kids’ cash for secret salary and epic parties

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