United Food Commercial Workers Union caught and fined $40k for lawbreaking, concealing political contributions

The United Food Commercial Workers Union PAC was caught attempting to hide from the public over $279,000 in contributions to a variety of Leftist PACs, politicians, and other groups in 2017. They got caught this time.

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The UFCW Local 21 Union PAC was busted by the Public Disclosure Commission for attempting to hide from the public $279,000 in contributions to Leftist politicians

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Last week the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 21 PAC was fined $40,000 by Washington State’s Public Disclosure Commission.  The PAC had successfully concealed for over a year $279,076 of contributions made to Left-leaning organizations and politicians during the 2017 election season.  This carefully negotiated settlement was the most recent example of fines imposed by the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) on violators of the campaign finance laws originally exposed by this author’s efforts.

Just being myself…

I never really noticed the UFCW before, until they helpfully filed a PDC complaint on October 22, 2018 against this author during the 2018 election cycle (linked here).  Apparently, this union did not appreciate some flyers legally mailed by a PAC established by this author last year.  This friendly introduction inspired a few minutes of research, and I put together a far more helpful PDC complaint (linked here) which was filed against the UFCW Local 21 PAC on October 29, 2018. 

The complaint filed by the UFCW against this author resulted in a helpful reminder and dismissal (linked here). The complaint filed by this author against UFCW Local 21 PAC resulted in a $40,000 fine memorialized in this Memorandum of Understanding signed February 14, 2019 (linked here).  Just one more baby step towards improving compliance with Washington State’s amazing and wonderful campaign finance laws.  While the UFCW PAC only needed to cough up $20,000 immediately. The balance of the fine will be deferred for 4 years, assuming they don’t break the law again, which seems unlikely. Based on past history, it seems prudent for this PAC to budget accordingly. 

(Pro Tip Remember to report the cost of the attorneys who negotiated this generous settlement on the PAC C4 forms – failure to do so will be part of the next complaint filed against this PAC.  Most of these union PACS exposed for lawbreaking use the law firm of Schwerin, Campbell, Barnard, Iglitzen, and Lavitt out of Seattle.  As a point of professional courtesy –this author deserves a commission for all the new business I’ve sent their way)

Gov. Inslee signs HB 2938 (AKA the “Stop Glen Morgan Bill”), March 27, 2018, but he wasn’t happy doing this – maybe because this author filed this 168 page complaint on the governor too.

I began to learn about the joys and wonder of Washington State’s campaign finance laws in late 2016.  For more on the origin of this crusade go here.  Along the way, this author’s efforts triggered the state legislature into passing the “Stop Glen Morgan Bill” (HB 2938) during the 2018 legislative session.   So far, I’ve filed a paltry 433 PDC complaints against a wide swath of violators around the state.  To review some results, an updated list on the various PACs, politicians, unions, judges, and candidates which have been fined, sued, or dissolved due to these efforts – go here

After HB 2938 became law June 8, 2018, most cases have been resolved at the Public Disclosure Commission rather than picked up by the Washington State Attorney General or by Citizen Action (on behalf of the state).  Here is a quick list of a few additional (much smaller) fines which have been issued by the PDC over the past few months based on this author’s complaints:

Democrat Representative Laurie Jenkins (27th LD) ran a “Dark-Money PAC” called “LM PAC” which violated the law
  1. 25th LD Democrats. Original PDC complaint filed by this author on October 29, 2018, linked herePDC issued a fine of $750, and drafted a Statement of Understanding and warning letter (linked here) on January 28, 2019.
  2. Active in Democracy PAC. Original PDC complaint filed by this author on October 29, 2018, linked herePDC issued a fine of $300, and drafted a Memoranda of Understanding (linked here) on January 18, 2019.
  3. Shir Regev candidate for state legislature (8th LD). Original PDC complaint filed by this author on October 29, 2018, linked herePDC issued a fine of $300, and drafted a Memoranda of Understanding (linked here) on December 12, 2018.
  4. George Hurst, candidate for Mayor on Lynwood City Council. Original PDC complaint filed by this author on April 11, 2018, linked herePDC issued a fine of $300, and drafted a Memoranda of Understanding (linked here) on November 9, 2018.
  5. $15 Now Tacoma PAC – Original PDC complaint filed by this author on June 21, 2018 linked herePDC issued a fine of $150 on September 14, 2018 along with a Memoranda of Understanding (linked here).
  6. Tamborine Borrelli candidate for State Senate (2nd LD). Original PDC complaint filed by this author on June 19, 2018 linked herePDC issued a fine of $300, and drafted a Memoranda of Understanding (linked here) on September 4, 2018. The PDC also sent over a formal Warning Letter on September 11, 2018 (linked here). This author has become a fan of this candidate since this fine was issued.
  7. LM PAC – Original PDC complaint filed by this author April 10, 2018 linked herePDC issued a fine of $300, and drafted a Memoranda of Understanding (linked here) on November 12, 2018. Note: This PAC was managed by Democrat Representative Laurie Jenkins (27th LD) (who signed the MOU on behalf of the PAC).

Obviously, due to the volume of complaints filed by this author which have not yet been adjudicated, more fines are coming (sorta like Winter).

UFCW PAC tried to stay in the shadows…

A few observations about this most recent PDC fine against the UFCW Local 21 PAC.  This union PAC attempted to hide how they distributed over $279,000 to change elections in 2017.  Mostly these were contributions this PAC made to other Leftist organizations around Washington State.  For example, the following contributions were hidden from the public:

  • $10,000 to Fuse Votes
  • $75,000 to Working families for Teresa Mosqueda (a successful 2017 candidate for the Seattle City Council)
  • $15,000 to Our Vote Counts
  • $15,000 to One America Votes Justice Fund
  • $10,000 to Political Destiny (this author is in court with this PAC on another case)
  • $80,000 to New Directions PAC
  • $44,600 to various political candidates in 2017 (mostly Democrats)
Peter Lavallee, Executive Director, Public Disclosure Commission

While the PDC deserves credit for issuing a fine of this size, the UFCW Local 21 PAC crew clearly got off easy on this one.  The scope and significance of the funds hidden by this union PAC were dramatic and far too large to ignore.  I appreciate the opportunity to become acquainted with this group now, and it seems likely that there will be more to uncover in the future.

Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General

Bob Ferguson, as Washington State’s Attorney General is in the process of crucifying Tim Eyman, for original claims of violations about this size.  However, unlike a $40,000 fine (with half deferred) by the PDC, the AG is pushing for a $2.1 million fine plus 7 depositions, years of discovery, tons of pointless third-party depositions to harass Republican donors, plus another $1.5 million in estimated attorney fees they will probably try to stick on Eyman, assuming the AG prevails.

It isn’t always fair to compare the PDC to the AG in how they treat campaign finance violators, but it is fair to notice when it comes to Washington State’s campaign finance laws – not everyone is treated equal.  Some are clearly more equal than others…

The rules don’t exactly apply equally to all

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

Background articles:

UFCW Local 21 PAC – Settlement for $40,000 with PDC – Memo of Understanding

Original complaint filed by Glen Morgan against UFCW Local 21 PAC – October 29, 2018 – PDC #42719

AG Ferguson’s persecutionof Tim Eyman, Eyman’s plea, and a creepy AG employee

Warnings, Fines, Records, and Chaos – the joys of Washington’s campaign finance laws

AG Ferguson loses another legal skirmish with Tim Eyman – strangely, no AG press release

Eyman’s Pro Se response documents filed in court Jan 18, 2019

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

Eyman wins lawsuit against State, exposing unconstitutional effort by legislature, saves initiative process

Leavenworth Echo – December 3, 2018 – “Tyranny of the Law” (AG didn’t like this article)

The Scorched Wasteland of Washington’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?”

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

1 COMMENT

  1. My mom said to me countless times when I was a child: Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. UFCW union leaders must not have heard this warning from their mothers. That’s unfortunate.

    The equality comparison between UFCW and Eyman is frightening. Ferguson reminds me of Donald Trump more and more each day.

Comments are closed.