Sunday, March 23, 2008

Third Dan Pike PDC Complaint

February 28, 2007

Tim Paxton
Address redacted to protect privacy

Mr. Phil Stutzman
Director of Compliance
Public Disclosure Commission
711 Capitol Way #206
Olympia, Washington 98504-0908

Dear Mr. Stutzman:

Regretfully, my review of Bellingham Mayor Daniel V. Pike’s E-mail correspondence received from a public disclosure request submitted to the Skagit County Council of Governments have revealed what appear to be numerous violations of state campaign finance disclosure rules, including RCW 42,17, which states in part at (130), “ No elective official nor any employee of his/her office nor any person appointed to or employed by any public office or agency may use or authorize the use of any of the facilities of a pubic office or agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of any person to any office or for the promotion or opposition to any ballot proposition. Facilities of a public office or agency include, but are not limited to, use of stationary, postage, machines, and equipment, use of employees of the office or agency during working hours, vehicles, office space, publications of the office or agency and clientele lists of persons served by the office or agency.”

I understand that this prohibition does not apply to activities that are part of the normal and regular conduct of the office or agency.

WAC 390-05-273 defines normal and regular conduct to mean conduct which is (1) lawful, i.e. specifically authorized, either expressly or by necessary implication, in an appropriate enactment, and (2) usual, i.e. not effected or authorized in or by some extraordinary means or manner.

Skagit Council of Governments (SCOG) is a voluntary organization of local governments whose purpose is to foster a cooperative effort in resolving problems, policies and plans that are common and regional. SCOG serves as the lead agency for the Regional Transportation Planning Organization (RTPO) as enabled by Washington State law, and the Skagit Metropolitan Planning Organization (SMPO) as enabled by federal law. As such, it appears that SCOG employees fall under the jurisdiction of the state and local employee Hatch Act. RTPO is a state designation. MPO is a federal designation. SCOG also received Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to capitalize their economic development loan fund and other activities.

WAC 292-110-010 tells us in (6) Prohibited Uses: the state Constitution, state and federal laws and the Ethics in Public Service Act strictly prohibit certain private activity and certain uses of state resources. Any use of state resources to support such activity clearly undermines public confidence in state government and reflects negatively on state employees generally. This rule explicitly prohibits at all times the following private use of state resources.
(a) Any use for the purpose of conducting an outside business or outside employment.
(b) Any use for the purpose of supporting, promoting the interests of, or soliciting for an outside organization or group, including, but not limited to: a private business, a non-profit organization, or a political party (unless provided by law or authorized by an agency head or designee).
(c) Any use for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of a person to office or for the promotion of or opposition to a ballot proposition. Such a use of state resources is specifically prohibited by RCW 42,17,130 and RCW 42.52.180, subject to the exceptions in RCW 42.52.180(2).
(d) Any use for the purpose of participating in or assisting in an effort to lobby the state legislature or a state agency head. Such a use of state resources is specifically prohibited by RCW 42.17.190(3).
(e) Any use related to conduct that is prohibited by a federal or state law or rule, or a state agency policy; and,
(f) Any private use of any state property that has been removed from state facilities or other official duty stations, even if there is no cost to the state.

I respectfully submit the enclosed documentation to support my complaint of alleged violations by Daniel V. Pike during his campaign for Mayor of Bellingham. It appears that many e-mails were deleted from the account. Mr. Pike averaged less than one e-mail per day for 2007, when the national average of e-mail received and sent is thirteen per day per employee.

My research was made more difficult by the SCOG attorney, who heavily redacted a good portion of campaign related and other e-mail. Please note that Mr. Pike did have access to a personal e-mail account during the campaign. He did not have to send confidential SCOG work product to a campaign e-mail account that was monitored by campaign volunteers. Please do not destroy this packet in the event that you decide not to conduct an investigation. There are other agencies that are interested in reviewing these documents.


Tim Paxton

List of Alleged Violations as demonstrated through Mr. Daniel V. Pike’s SCOG e-mail account February 2007 through November 2007.

1. On Monday, February 26, 2007 at 8:26 am, Dan Pike e-mailed copies of “Pike for Mayor” graphics from his SCOG e-mail account to, his campaign e-mail address. Subject: Document 1. Attachments Doc1.docx. Pike for Mayor graphics.

2. On Monday, February 26, 2007, at 8:27 am, Dan Pike e-mailed copies of “Pike for Mayor” graphics with “paid for by the committee” from his SCOG e-mail account to his e-mail account. Subject: paid for by the Committee. Attachments: paid for by the Committee.doc.

3. On Tuesday, February 20, 2007 at 2:21 pm, Dan Pike forwarded an e-mail received from Ed Delaney from his SCOG e-mail account to his account. Subject: FW: campaign.

4. On Saturday, April 21, 2007, at 8:31 pm, Dan Pike e-mailed a request for
Girl Scout troop leader financial aide from his personal e-mail account, to his SCOG account. The SCOG attorney redacted information, but a flash light will reveal the source e-mail address. This may have been a personal or private business matter, but it is impossible to know due to, the attorney’s redactions.

5. On Tuesday, April 24, 2007, at 4:53 pm, Dan Pike forwarded a copy of the Northern Neighbors Forum Questions from his SCOG e-mail account to his e-mail account. The subject is Northern Neighbors Forum Questions. Attachments Northern Neighbors Forum Questions.doc.

6. On Wednesday, April 25, 2007 at 10:28 am, Dan Pike received a campaign related e-mail from Jim Campbell offering to conduct a fundraiser. Subject: Fundraising (from Beth). Beth offered to hold a garage sale to raise funds for Mr. Pike, later, she offers to pay for bumper stickers.

7. On Sunday, May 6, 2007, at 9:54 pm, Dan Pike received an e-mail from Keri Shepard requesting assistance with her resume. It’s not clear if this is campaign related or perhaps part of Mr. Pike’s personal business. Mr. Pike and Ms. Boynton have a small business called BESTTEST in which Mr. Pike offers test preparation assistance for college bound students. Please see attached business license. Subject: Resume redo help.

8. On Friday, May 18, 2007, Dan Pike received a copy of an e-mail sent by a WWU employee, Preston Schiller advising Marian Beddill, a campaign volunteer, and Dan Pike that he does not want to receive campaign related e-mail at his WWU e-mail account. Subject: Re: (I like Pike) announcements list.

9. On Friday, May 25, 2007 at 4: 42 pm, Dan Pike forwarded from his SCOG e-mail account a copy of the UPWP 2008 draft of the Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) MPO and RTPO documents for transportation programs and activities to his account. This document is work product for projects that are funded by federal and state grants and loans.

10. On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, at 9:10 am, Dan Pike sent an e-mail from his SCOG e-mail account to Jim Campbell (Beth) regarding bumper stickers. Subject: Bumper Stickers. This is a campaign-related purchase of campaign bumper stickers that is being donated as an in-kind donation by Beth.

11. On Friday, June 15, 2007 at 1:59 pm, Dan Pike forwarded office expenses from his SCOG e-mail account to his account. Subject: Emailing: Office expenses-0407. Attachments: Dan Time sheet4-2007.xls, dan timesheet 5.2007.xls, James Timesheet 04-2007.xls, Kelley Timesheet 04-2007.xls, Mark Timesheet 4-2007.xls, Office Expenses -0407.xls. These are confidential files – why are payroll records and office expenses being forwarded to a campaign e-mail address? RCW 42.52.050 tells us Public employees must practice open and accountable government. They should be as open as possible about their decisions and action, and protect truly confidential information.

12. On Thursday, August 2, 2007, at 11:24 am, Dan Pike e-mailed additional time sheets to his e-mail account. I believe that this is a failure to protect truly confidential information about SCOG employees.

13. On Thursday, August 2, 2007, at 11:23 am, Dan Pike e-mailed Kelley’s timesheets from his SCOG e-mail account to his account. Again, I question the legality and ethics of sending employee timesheets to a campaign account that is monitored by campaign volunteers.

14. On Thursday, August 2, 2007, at 11:25 am, Dan Pike e-mailed Office expenses from his SCOG account to his e-mail account. Subject: Office Expenses-0607.xls. Attachments: Office Expenses-0607xls.

15. On Thursday, August 2, 2007, at 11:24 am, Dan Pike e-mailed Mark Sullivan’s timesheet for 7-2007 from his SCOG e-mail account to his account. Subject: Mark Timesheet 7-2007.xls Attachment: Mark Timesheet 7-2007. Time sheet is attached. It is for MPO/RTPO hours. (Mark’s salary is paid with state RTPO and federal MPO funds).

16. On Wednesday, August 22, 2007, at 1:18 pm, Dan Pike entered into a five e-mail discussion with Bobbi Krebs-McMullen regarding McShane for Mayor Campaign update. All of the content is campaign related. In the Thursday, July 19, 2007 at 11:09 am e-mail, Dan Pike tells Bobbi Krebs-McMullen that “I put in a word on your behalf with Kelley, should I leave this post…” Offering a job to reward an individual for campaign support is illegal under federal law and perhaps also under state law. Please see Title 18 below.

US Code Title 18 Crimes and Criminal Procedure – Chapter 29 – Elections and Political Activities; reads: “Whoever, directly or indirectly, promises any employment, position, compensation, contract, appointment, or other benefit, provided or made possible in whole or in part by any Act of Congress, or any special consideration in obtaining any such benefit, to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party in connection with any general or special election to any political office, or in connection with any primary election or political convention or caucus held to select candidates for any political office, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.” Bobbi Krebs McMullen was providing campaign information to Mr. Pike about Mr. McShane, his opponent.

17. On Thursday, July 26, 2007, at 10:44 am, Dan Pike received an e-mail from Barbara Ryan, Bellingham City Councilor on his SCOG e-mail account regarding Single Family Issues Sehome et all. The Subject is single family issues Sehome et all. Attachments: Conoboy email chain.doc.htm This message was sent to all Bellingham City Candidates and is campaign-related.

18. On Wednesday, August 22, 2007, at 11:30 am, Dan Pike received an e-mail from Erin Malone, Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship congratulating him on strong showings in his race.

19. On Tuesday, November 13, 2007, Dan Pike received an e-mail from Preston Schiller, a WWU employee discussing a transition strategy and potential deputy mayor for Mr. Pike, once the election is ratified by the Whatcom County Auditor (The election was not certified by the Auditor until later in the month). This was one of a dozen or more e-mail on this subject that appeared to be sent back and forth between Schiller and Pike in November. Apparently, a number of the e-mail was deleted, because there are breaks in the numbers. The election was not certified until November 27, 2007.

20. On Wednesday, November 14, 2007, at 11:31 am, Dan Pike e-mailed copies of the 2008 MPO/RTPO draft budget from his SCOG e-mail account to his e-mail account.

21. On Monday, December 31, 2007 at 3:31 pm, Jon Ammons, wrote the PDC and requested that all further PDC campaign-related correspondence should be sent directly to Dan Pike at his City of Bellingham Mayor’s e-mail

22. A collection of personal e-mail received by Mr. Pike indicating that he used his SCOG computer routinely for personal banking and investing.

In closing, please accept the enclosed copies of Mr. Pike’s SCOG e-mail as documentation for the complaint against Dan Pike. I request that the PDC investigate and evaluate this matter. I ask that SCOG be required to provide full disclosure of all of Mr. Pike’s e-mail from January 2007 through November 2007, without redactions, including all deleted e-mail. The public disclosure request lists 256 sent and received E-mail from January 2007 to November 2007. (Less than one e-mail per day). This number appears low when the national average of e-mail for U.S. employees is thirteen e-mails per day. I am requesting that SCOG and Mr. Pike be held accountable (with appropriate penalties) for denying the public full access to campaign-related communications on a publicly owned computer.

I am aware that Mr. Pike and the Bellingham media have characterized previous Pike PDC complaints as some sort of a campaign stunt or personal vendetta by former Dan McShane supporters, so I want to be clear about my motivations for filing a complaint. In the early 70’s, Initiative 172 provided a means for citizens to file complaints in order to ensure that Washington campaigns are conducted openly and honestly.

I am not bitter, nor am I vindictive. Nor should any citizen that takes the time to file a PDC complaint be characterized as such by the media, a candidate or any state agency. I was not a member of the McShane campaign team, nor did I contribute funds to either candidate’s campaign. I am a firm believer that candidates running for public office should obey campaign laws. We can not have a level playing field when one of the candidates is using his Skagit Council of Governments office to conduct campaign activity for a period of ten months.

I have also filed complaints against Mr. Pike with the Federal DOT, WSDOT, federal CDBC and EDA. The U.S. government prohibits political activity in federal, state and local public agencies that are partially or wholly funded by federal funds; and also with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (Hatch Act Unit) for alleged violations under the state and local employee Hatch Act.

Thank you for your thoughtful consideration of my complaint. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you require additional information.

Tim Paxton
e-mail redacted to protect privacy

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