OLYMPIA–On Friday, the 19th, the Attorney General’s Office filed two lawsuits— one against the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties (MBA-K&S) and the other against the Building Industry Association of Washington’s Member Services Corporation (BIAW-MSC)—both for alleged violations of the state’s campaign finance disclosure law.
The suits stemmed from a citizen action letter from the law firm of Smith & Lowney received by the Attorney General’s Office on July 25, 2008. Upon receipt of the letter, the office immediately referred the case to the Public Disclosure Commission for investigation.
On Monday, Sept. 15, the PDC held a special commission meeting to hear the staff reports on the investigation. At that meeting, the commission referred both cases to the Attorney General’s Office.
The Attorney General’s Office accepted both cases, reviewed the investigations and confirmed there was sufficient evidence to file. Complaints in both cases were filed in Thurston County Superior Court today.
In the Master Builders’ case, the office agreed with the PDC’s recommendation that “evidence of the investigation supports the allegation the MBA-K&S’ “Just 10%” program failed to register and report contributions and expenditures required under state law and committed multiple apparent violations” of the states’ campaign finance disclosure law. The court assigned the MBA K&S case to Judge Gary Tabor and scheduled a status conference for Dec. 19, 2008.
In the BIAW-MSC case, the office also agreed with the commission’s recommendation that “evidence of the investigation supports “the allegation that BIAW-MSC committed multiple apparent violations” of the law “by failing to register as a political action committee and report contributions it solicited, received and retained from its local associations in 2007, and by failing to reports expenditures to ChangePAC in 2008 with the contributions received.” The court assigned the MBA K&S case to Judge Christine Pomeroy and scheduled a status conference for Dec. 19, 2008.
Both parties must respond and file answers to the complaints against them within the next 30 days.
The Attorney General’s Office is seeking civil penalties and costs of investigation and trial, including reasonable attorney’s fees, injunctive relief and any other relief the court deems appropriate.