UPDATE: The five-member state Public Disclosure Commission rejected a stipulated agreement between its staff and Moxie Media’s Lisa MacLean. Instead, it will ask the state attorney general to push a civil action against MacLean.
The commission met this morning to decide whether to accept the deal. If accepted, MacLean would have paid $30,000 in fines and costs. The vote to reject was 3-0 with two members recusing themselves.
As part of the stipulated agreement, MacLean acknowledged that she committed multiple violation of state campaign finance law during this year’s primary.
MacLean was the coordinator of a late-primary effort to promote the candidacy of Everett conservative candidate Rod Rieger. The point wasn’t to elect Rieger but to help the candidacy of a Democrat put forward by labor unions, trial lawyers and other liberal organizations. That candidate is Nick Harper.
Rieger took enough votes to prevent Democratic incumbent Sen. Jean Berkey from getting into the top two November runoff. Berkey had been targeted by the groups because she was deemed not liberal enough and had cast votes that they disagreed with.
The settlement did not involve the strategy, but instead responded to MacLean’s attempt to delay the disclosure of the funders of the campaign.
While the PDC staff investigation found evidence of eight different violations, MacLean agreed to admit to three related to failure to report the source of money, failing to identify herself as an officer of the political action committees she created for the pro-Rieger campaign, and failing to identify her firm, Moxie Media, as the sponsor of the mailings and robocall.
The settlement did not appear to deal with the broader issue, that MacLean set up a series of PACs with the intent of disguising the actual source of the money for the Everett campaign. PDC says she should have reported the source as a PAC she created called 2nd Defense.
But the investigation found that the actual source – the entities that agreed that money they’d given to 2nd Defense should be moved to other PACs – were the Washington State Labor Council, the state’s trial lawyers association and the Washington Federation of State Employees.
Here is a link to the PDC website with the agenda to today’s meeting, including a link to the staff report on Moxie Media.