Perennial candidate Will Baker is scheduled to appear before the state’s Public Disclosure Commission this week, trying to avoid $800 in fines leveled against him for not filing required campaign forms.
Baker, who has unsuccessfully run for a slew of city, county and state offices going back to at least 1997, is on the ballot again this year, seeking to become the next Pierce County Auditor.
After getting dinged again this year for not submitting required candidacy forms, Baker — who didn’t show up at the PDC’s first hearing on the issue in August — recently asked the commission to re-examine its decision to penalize him, a spokeswoman for the commission reports. The commission ordered a $500 fine against Baker, specifically for not registering with the state as a candidate, and not filing a personal finances disclosure statement. Commissioners also re-instituted another $300 in penalties that they had previously suspended against Baker, when he failed to submit the same forms while running for Tacoma City Council in 2007.
Back then, commissioners gave Baker 10 days to get the forms filed, and after he did, they suspended the $300 fine. Commissioners told Baker the fine would remain suspended — so long as he followed the rules and correctly submitted the paperwork in the future.
This year, the commission gave him another chance to avoid the most recent $500 fine.
“He was assessed a penalty that would have been suspended entirely, if he would’ve just filed the forms within 10 days of the (commission’s) order,” said Lori Anderson, the commission’s spokeswoman.
The ten days came and went, but Baker didn’t file the paperwork, Anderson said. In fact, “he has still not filed the 2009 forms,” she said — even though he has requested the commission to reconsider the penalty.
Baker’s defense? I emailed him last night and put a call in this morning, but have yet to hear back. We’ll update the post once we do.
Known for his vocal, sometimes disruptive demeanor at Tacoma City Council meetings that in the past has led to his arrest, Baker ran a distant second to Deputy Mayor Julie Anderson in 2007 in his bid for council. His slogan that year: “Not as Nutty as That Other Guy.” (Robert “The Traveller” Hill, a past promoter of “World Masturbation Day” at City council meetings, ran third.)
The commission’s hearing on Thursday, which will be podcast live from Olympia, will give Baker the opportunity to tell commissioners why he hasn’t filed the forms, Anderson said.
According to the PDC, campaign records show Baker has run for the elected offices listed below. Given Baker’s track record of not filing candidacy declaration forms, even the PDC concedes this list may not be comprehensive:
1997 Tacoma City Council
1998 Pierce County Auditor
1999 Tacoma Mayor
2000 Secretary of State
2001 Tacoma Mayor
2002 Pierce County Auditor
2003 Tacoma City council
2004 Washington State Auditor
2005 Tacoma Mayor, Charter Review Committee
2007 Tacoma City Council
2008 Washington State Governor
2009 Pierce County Auditor
Running for office ain’t cheap – even for a candidate, like Baker, who does little more than get his name on the ballot.
“That’s a lot of filing fees,” Anderson notes. “It costs over $1,000 for the state offices. Filing fees run one percent of the (elected office’s annual) salary, so (running for) the county offices probably have cost him a big chunk, too.”