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Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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August 25, 2008 5:13 PM

Republicans agree to $15,000 PDC fine

Posted by David Postman

The Washington State Republican Party has agreed to pay $15,000 for failing to tell candidates about nearly $300,000 worth of last-minute campaigning the party did for them.

The party filed the right paperwork in 2004 and 2006 to the Public Disclosure Commission, but didn’t send the information to the candidates, including gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi. That meant that the candidates’ PDC reports failed to show, for example, $92,000 of expenditures for Rossi in ’04 and as much as $32,000 spent on behalf of a legislative candidate.

Staff of the Public Disclosure Commission negotiated a proposed stipulated agreement with the state Republican Party. The commission will consider the proposal at its meeting this Thursday.

The agreement calls for the party to admit multiple violations of the public disclosure law by not informing candidates that it had done work on their behalf. That work included a mailing done on behalf of Rossi in the weeks of his campaign against then-Attorney General Chris Gregoire. Gregoire won the governor’s race and the two are now facing off in a rematch.

There were also 13 Republican legislative candidates who were given in-kind contributions they say they didn’t know about. At least most said they didn’t know anything about the work done on their behalf. Toby Nixon, who lost his 2006 race for state Senate, told PDC staff he was aware of the contribution. The staff report says:

However, in the confusion of closing a campaign and without the information from the WSRP the reporting of the contribution was overlooked.

Why didn’t the party tell the candidates the money had been spent? No one could really answer that question for the PDC staff. Party officials said they believe the notices to the candidates were prepared, “but they have been unable to locate copies of those notices.”

The agreement also says the party has “instituted specific written procedures to make certain timely notice is now given to the candidates.”

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