Seattle political consulting firm Moxie Media is amending its campaign disclosures in response to a complaint filed by Rep. Sen. Jean Berkey, the Everett Democrat who says Moxie’s mailers against her deceived voters by hiding their funding source.
Oddly enough, the new money trail leads to a South Sound race miles away from the one where Berkey is asking to have her primary election defeat thrown out over the mailers.
Before the Aug. 17 primary, voters in the 2nd Legislative District straddling Pierce and Thurston counties received mailers that said they were paid for by PACs called For The People and 2nd Defense, both managed by Moxie founder Lisa MacLean.
The mailers attacked political newcomer J.T. Wilcox and praised his opponent, longtime Rep. Tom Campbell, who disassociated himself from the mailers. Both are Republicans but Wilcox has the support of much of the Republican establishment and ended up beating Campbell by 17 percent in the primary. Their rematch Nov. 2 will decide whether Campbell will be sent packing.
So what does this have to do with the Everett race? Berkey’s complaint there has been based on the fact that the PACs that attacked her, Conservative PAC and Cut Taxes PAC, didn’t report any money coming in or out. Voters couldn’t figure out who was funding the mailers, other than Moxie. (Jerry Cornfield of the Herald has been covering the legal fight.)
Moxie explained in a statement it sent me late this afternoon that the money was tentatively supposed to come from 2nd Defense. Moxie said it has now learned it should have disclosed that, and it has updated its campaign filings to show a $9,000 pledge.
It wasn’t immediately clear why a PAC set up by Moxie to help Campbell and funded by organized labor, firefighters and others would have pledged money to a PAC opposing Berkey.
At any rate, Moxie says the anti-Berkey PAC never asked for the money, and today it got the $9,000 from elsewhere: a contribution directly from Moxie Media itself. The statement says:
Moxie Media has taken these steps as part of its good faith ongoing efforts to ensure absolute compliance with all disclosure requirements and to remedy any inadvertent disclosure deficiencies.
The Public Disclosure Commission continues to investigate; a PDC spokeswoman said tonight she doesn’t know whether the new disclosures will answer investigators’ questions.