SPOKANE, - A series of complaints have been filed with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission regarding digital advertisements placed in support of Nadine Woodward’s mayoral campaign.
The complaints, filed by Guy Thompson on July 17, state advertisements endorsing Woodward did not disclose how they were paid for.
The PDC said they have received the complaints and they are under review. A formal investigation has not been launched.
Thompson lodged five identical complaints; three were aimed at third parties that have donated significant amounts of money in favor of Woodward’s election. Thompson’s complaints cite the Washington Realtors Political Action Committee, Spokane Good Government Alliance and Concerned Taxpayers of Washington State, which are all classified as independent expenditures on the PDC’s filing site.
One complaint names the Washington Association of Realtors. A fifth was aimed at the Woodward campaign.
The complaints read “As you can see from the attached advertisements they do not contain either Sponsor ID Text or the top five contributors line. Each one of these ads, of which there are thousands flooding the internet, should be seen as a separate violation. The public has no idea who paid for these ads or who is contributing to the PAC that paid for these ads.”
According to the PDC, an independent expenditure is a contribution in support of or against a political candidate that the candidate themselves does not endorse.
The PDC requires sponsor identification, including a statement indicating “No candidate authorized this ad. It is paid for by (name, address, city, state).”
The Spokane Good Government Alliance responded to Thompson’s complaint. In a letter to the PDC, SGGA representative Jake Mayson said the group was able to determine that none of the advertisements referenced in the complaint were produced, paid for, or displayed by their organization.
Mark Lamb, attorney for the Washington Realtors Political Action Committe, responded with the following statement:
"All of the ads in question were compliant because each provided a link to the required sponsor identification for any reader who engaged with the advertisement consistent with the provisions of WAC 390-18-030(3)."
"The complainant clearly either did not engage with the advertisements or, did so and elected to leave this out of the complaint as including it would render the complaint facially invalid," Lamb concluded.
Woodward's campaign has not yet responded to the complaint.
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