On July 25, 2008, two former Washington State Supreme Court Justices, Faith Ireland and Robert Utter, along with A-1 Builders of Bellingham and others, alleged in a 45 day Citizen Action Letter to WA State Attorney General Rob McKenna, that the Building Industry Association of the State of Washington used Return on Industrial Insurance (ROII) program proceeds to illegally fund campaigns. http://www.biaw.com/Documents/how_program_works.pdf
A Public Disclosure Commission staff report concluded the BIAW had illegally solicited, received and retained more than $584,000 from its local associations without registering as a political action committee. The report also determined that the group failed to report its contributions to ChangePAC.
Tom McCabe, Executive Vice President of the Building Industry Association of Washington claims that the BIAW has been singled out by the Public Disclosure Commission because it is supporting Dino Rossi, Governor Christine Gregoire's opponent in the 2008 race for Governor.
Brad Shannon, of The Olympian tells readers: "State campaign-finance regulators sent a pair of complaints against two powerful builder groups to the state Attorney General’s Office today for possible punitive action.
Members of the state Public Disclosure Commission appeared split on whether the Building Industry Association of Washington’s actions were “egregious,” as PDC chairman Ken Schellberg put it — or a one-time oversight and mistake, as commissioner Jim Clement appeared to view it.
At issue is $584,528 the Building Industry Association of Washington’s member services corporation solicited from local builder groups in July 2007, collected and then gave to a BIAW political action committee in August this year to spend on the governor’s race. 09-007
Also at issue is $707,950 that the Master Builders Association of King & Snohomish Counties collected from member contractors through its “Just 10 % Program” for use in campaigns. The names of donors through that program have not been made public." 09-008
Entire post can be read here: http://www.theolympian.com/politicsblog/story/585953.html
Public Disclosure Commission Reports of Investigation for the Master Builders and the Building Industry Association can be read here: http://www.pdc.wa.gov/home/enforcement/reports/enforcement.aspx?Title=2008&Page=http://www.pdc.wa.gov/home/enforcement/reports/2008.aspxRobert Faturechi of The Seattle Times tells readers: "A subsidiary of the Building Industry Association of Washington violated state campaign-finance laws, the state Public Disclosure Commission has ruled.The commission will pass its findings on to the state Attorney General's Office, which will decide whether to prosecute.The decision by the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) is a blow to the builders association, which stirred controversy in recent months with an ad campaign aimed at derailing Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire's bid for re-election.
After a complaint from a citizens group led by two former state Supreme Court justices, the PDC, which oversees campaign-finance regulations, began an investigation into the building association's political activity.
Monday's vote in favor of reporting the violations to the state Attorney General's Office follows a similar recommendation by the commission's staff last week."
The commission's 4-0 vote was unanimous.
The entire article can be read here: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008181318_webbiaw16.html By Robert Faturechi
Seattle Times staff reporter
Monday, September 15, 2008
Chris McGann, Capitol Correspondent for the Seattle Post Intelligencer writes: "The Public Disclosure Commission has determined that one of the state's most politically aggressive industry groups violated campaign finance law while amassing its multimillion-dollar campaign fund.
The Building Industry Association of Washington has spent more than $2 million through its political action committee ChangePAC in an effort to oust Democratic Gov. Chris Gregoire.
This summer a citizen group that included two former state Supreme Court justices filed a complaint through the state Attorney General's Office, alleging that the BIAW had illegally operated as a political action committee.
The complaint was forwarded to the Public Disclosure Commission for an investigation. A staff report concluded the BIAW had illegally solicited, received and retained more than $584,000 from its local associations without registering as a political action committee. The report also determined that the group failed to report its contributions to ChangePAC.
The complaint has been returned to the state Attorney General's Office, where it will be evaluated. Attorney general spokeswoman Janelle Guthrie said the office would make its decision about whether to file a lawsuit by Friday.
If the state does not take action, the citizens who filed the original complaint -- former Justices Faith Ireland and Robert Utter -- would be entitled to sue on behalf of the state.
Ireland called on McKenna to take the matter to court.
"Our campaign finance laws are among the best, but they are meaningless if they are not enforced," she said in a statement."
The entire article can be read here: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/379260_pdc16.html?source=mypi