Or, "Covering Fanny" (you're all familiar with the acronym - "CYA)"
In the Public Disclosure Commission staff report to the Commission, Phil Stutzman, Director of Compliance, recommended that the full Commission dismiss Professor Todd Donovan's complaint regarding $19,038.23 that was not reported by RQL PAC or by Pike's campaign.
I find the lack of reporting especially troubling -- because I know from past experience, that Bellingham voters cast ballots based on the source(s) of a candidate's funding.
$19,038.23 in a local election is not chicken feed. It is a sizable amount of money that has the ability to persuade voters to cast a ballot for a particular candidate. Especially when the in-kind mailers are mirror images of the candidate's own mailers.
When contributions of this size go unreported, people get elected under false pretenses. Or, as Joel Connelly of the PI said, "Big bucks are a clue to officeholders' alliances, growth management votes, and -- if not of politicians being bought -- at least who's being rented."
Yesterday, Sam Taylor told readers that the PDC did not consider the contribution to be an in-kind contribution.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
But like me, Sam Taylor has a personal bias. Taylor is a strong supporter and admirer of Mayor Dan Pike. And I respect his friendship with the mayor. But friendship or a "misguided sense of loyalty" does not give Sam Taylor the right to misrepresent the facts about a case.
I filed a complaint against Mayor Pike during the last weeks of the campaign, in an attempt to draw the public's attention to the fact that the Pike campaign had a pattern of reporting errors. A fact, that in my opinion, prevented voters from determining the true source of his campaign funding.
Professor Donovan, who has much more experience in this arena than I do, did an analysis and determined that 54% of Pike's contributions remained undislosed to the public before the election.
Pat Mooney, former Port Commissioner for Anacortes was removed from office for hiding 40% of his contributions. Apparently, uniform enforcement of PDC laws is not a priority at the PDC. Behavior that gets one candidate ousted from office is tolerated and encouraged with other candidates. Go figure.
Pike has demonstrated a history of not being able to report contributions and expenditures on time. A pattern that appears to be continuing -- sadly, the only thing that's changing is the level of sophistication that he is using to cover his tracks.
Here's an excerpt from the PDC Staff Report. The excerpt can be found on page two of the staff recommendation document listed at the bottom of the page.
The 2007 Dan Pike campaign received what staff determined to be in-kind contributions from the Realtor's Quality of Life PAC, valued at $19,038.23. However, staff found that the Pike campaign attempted to avoid coordinating its activities with the Realtors Quality of Life PAC and believed the expenditures to be independent expenditures.
During the campaign, Perry Eskridge, a representative of the local Whatcom County Association of Realtors (WAR), contacted the Pike campaign manager, Sati Mookherjee, and requested digital images. The campaign manager provided the images, and when additional, high resolution images were requested, the campaign manager delegated the duty to a campaign volunteer who provided the images to Mr. Eskridge. On or after October 16th, 2007, upon receiving invoices from Mr. Eskridge, the Pike campaign was unsure of the purpose of the invoices and how to report the information. Mr. Pike's campaign manager contacted PDC staff.
Based on their discussion, PDC staff told the Pike campaign that this expenditure appeared to be an independent expenditure and might not be reportable by the Pike campaign.
The 2007 Dan Pike Campaign did not violate RCW 42.17 in a manner that would warrant enforcement action. O.k., let's examine this statement closely, "did not violate in a manner that would warrant" (That means he violated the statute - but the PDC is not taking enforcement action against Pike, based on the discussion between PDC staff, and members of the campaign... Dictionary.com defines "in a manner" as in a manner, so to speak; after a fashion; somewhat.
You can read the Pike campaign's testimony to the PDC in the previous blog. That is, if you really want to get nauseated...
2007 Dan Pike Campaign (PDC Case NO. 08-102) - Staff recommends that the Commission dismiss the allegations against Dan Pike. Dismissal is appropriate because the Pike campaign attempted to avoid coordinating its activities with the Realtors and RQL PAC and believed the expenditures to be independent expenditures. In addition, the Pike campaign did not report receipt of an in kind contribution for the mailings based on advice it received from PDC staff.
A hearty thanks to the PDC for really messing up our 2007 Mayor's election!
Dan Pike couldn't have gotten into office without you! First, the leaking of Randy Unruh's e-mail; and, second, a PDC staffer informs Pike's campaign manager that she does not have to report a $19,038 in-kind contribution from the Realtors.
So, tell me members of the PDC, are you sure you don't want to file an in-kind contribution report on behalf of the Pike campaign?
Enforcement Matter - Realtors Quality of Life PAC, Case #08-103•
Report of Investigation•
Report of Investigation Exhibits 1-16•
Report of Investigation Exhibits 17-43•
Notice of ChargesEnforcement Matter -
Dan Pike, Case #08-102•Report of Investigation•
Report of Investigation Exhibits 1-15•
Report of Investigation Exhibits 16-43•
The above links can be found here: http://www.pdc.wa.gov/home/enforcement/reports/enforcement.aspx?Title=2008&Page=http://www.pdc.wa.gov/home/enforcement/reports/2008.aspx
Documentation of other Public Disclosure Commission mistakes regarding this campaign: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/102/v-print/story/222827.html