SPOKANE, Wash. - A complaint filed with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission alleges a political action committee supporting mayoral candidate Ben Stuckart's campaign failed to disclose their top three PAC donors and has been doing so with "malicious intent."
Conservative activist Glen Morgan filed the initial complaint against Citizens for Liberty and Labor on Oct. 22, 2019.
Morgan accuses the PAC of failing to properly identify top contributors in their political advertisements on television, online and in independent expenditures. Morgan based part of his accusations on new sponsor identification requirements which kicked in on July 28 of this year.
The PDC's website says ads must now show:
- A list of the five contributors who made that biggest donations over $1000 to the PAC within the last year before the ad appears.
- If these "Top 5 Contributors" include other PACs, the ads also have to list the top 3 donors within these groups. If any of the donors include PACs, they also have to keep "drilling down" to reveal other contributors.
Citizens for Liberty and Labor responded to the allegations in a letter to the PDC on Sunday. They wrote they were unaware of the new law and admit they made a mistake in not disclosing additional donors but were working to fix the issue. The PAC also suggested that the PDC work with them to make sure these errors are corrected according to the law.
As of Wednesday, their YouTube ads now show the following as top donors:
Top five contributors: Spokane Firefighters Union PAC, SEIU Union WA State Council PAC, UFCW 21 PAC, Fuse Votes, Washington Conservation Voters Action Fund.
Top three donors to PAC Contributors: SEIU, UFCW 21, Craig Mckibben
A day after the PAC's response, Morgan claimed all donors have still not been listed on "mailers, ads, videos, brochures, FB page, or any other political communication from this PAC."
Citizens for Liberty and Labor rebutted those claims, writing that Morgan misunderstood the new law and cited this breakdown from the PDC website.
They also wrote Morgan's "continued accusation of malicious intent is based on unsubstantiated hearsay," and that the alleged violations are "either unmeritorious or involve de minimis and technical violations that do not warrant judicial enforcement."
The PDC confirms they are reviewing this case but it is not under a formal investigation. Further action could be taken within 90 days of the initial complaint.
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