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Tacoma: PAC that sent attack mailer about Jack Connelly in 27th District state senate race still hasn’t reported it

Post by Lewis Kamb / The News Tribune on July 30, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
July 30, 2012 4:59 pm

At least 10 days have gone by, but a political action committee that recently distributed $8,000 worth of attack mailers against 27th District senate candidate Jack Connelly still has yet to file a report with the state’s campaign finance watchdog.

And that means the group, Tacomans for Integrity in Goverment, is likely running afoul of state campaign finance law.

“If they spend at least $1,000 in support or opposition to any candidate, the committee must file a special report within 24 hours of when the ad is presented to the public or on the first business day when the 24 hour deadline falls on a weekend/holiday,”  said Lori Anderson, spokeswoman for the state’s Public Disclosure Commission.

The mailer, which The News Tribune found accurately portrays Connelly’s ties to a Tacoma housing nonprofit that “wasted” $4.4 million in public grants, showed up in mailboxes by at least Friday, July 20.

The ad appears subject to state campaign finance law either as an independent expenditure or an electioneering communication, Anderson said. Whichever the case, the PAC should have reported it by now, Anderson said.

A week ago today, Ken Miller, who chairs the PAC that distributed the mailer, told me he was “in the process” of making a campaign finance report of the ad, which benefits Connelly’s opponent, state Rep. Jeannie Darneille, D-Tacoma.

Yet as of this morning, there’s still no report, Anderson said.

The mailer was distributed independently of Darneille’s campaign, but because it benefits her, its entire cost is attributable to her campaign in public finance records, Anderson said.

The four PAC members whose names appear on the mailer — Miller, Marshall McClintock, Sharon Coleman and John Bartolatz — along with Lonnie Johns-Brown, a Seattle lobbyist who serves as the committee’s vice chair — collectively have donated about $2,400 in personal contributions to Darneille’s campaign, records also show.

Should a complaint be made, the PDC could investigate the reporting issue and impose a fine of up to $10,000, Anderson said.

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