Attorney General Rob McKenna today filed suit in Thurston County against Moxie Media and its principal Lisa MacLean for mulitple violations of state campaign finance law.
The suit stems from a decision by the state Public Disclosure Commission to reject a staff-negotiated settlement with MacLean and ask McKenna to pursue civil litigation. The PDC has only limited capacity to fine those who violate the disclosure law and larger fines must be pursued in Superior Court.
The complaint alleges that MacLean failed to properly report the creation of political committees and the source of money to those committees in an independent expenditure campaign in Everett last summer. The campaign promoted a conservative candidate in order to take votes away from incumbent Democrat Jean Berkey and help a more-liberal Democrat Nick Harper. The funders of the effort – state trial lawyers, the Washington State Labor Council and the Washington Federation of State Employees – favored Harper because they deemed Berkey not liberal enough.
McKenna is a Republican. Two of the three PDC commissioners who voted to turn the case over to him are Democrats – Jane Noland and Jennifer Joly.
Here’s a pdf of the
Here’s the press statement from McKenna:
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF WASHINGTON
1125 Washington Street SE · PO Box 40100 · Olympia WA 98504-0100
For Immediate Release:
Oct. 29, 2010
Attorney General’s Office files suit against Moxie Media, others for multiple campaign finance violations
OLYMPIA – The Attorney General’s Office today filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court against Moxie Media and other defendants for multiple alleged violations of the state’s campaign financial disclosure law.
The suit stems from a complaint filed with the Public Disclosure Commission on Aug. 27, 2010, and a citizen action letter filed with the Attorney General’s Office on Sept. 3, 2010, both on behalf of Sen. Jean Berkey.
On Thursday, Oct. 28, at the PDC’s regular monthly meeting, commissioners heard staff reports on the investigation, which revealed multiple violations of the state’s campaign finance laws, including complex efforts to conceal the funding behind three last-minute independent expenditure advocacy activities in support of the Conservative Party candidate in the 38th District State Senate primary. The commission referred the case to the Attorney General’s Office.
The case is assigned to Thurston County Superior Court Judge Christine A. Pomeroy. A status conference is set for 9:00 a.m. on Jan. 28, 2011. The defendants must respond and file answers to the complaint against them within 30 days.
The Attorney General’s Office is seeking civil penalties and costs of investigation and trial, including reasonable attorney’s fees, injunctive relief and any other relief the court deems appropriate.