Republican state Rep. Mark Hargrove must pay a $300 fine over a Legislative Ethics Board finding he violated the Ethics in Public Service Act by filming a campaign video in the House Republican Caucus Room during the special legislative session that ran from late November to mid-December last year.
See the board’s formal stipulation, which lays out accusations brought by Democrats as well as the facts, here. Hargrove signed stipulated agreement for the fine and the facts determined by the board. A link to the video in question has been disabled on YouTube.
Hargrove, a first-term social conservative from Covington, is facing a challenge this fall from Democrat Bud Sizemore in the 47th Legislative District, and he led Sizemore by a 54-percent-to-46-percent margin in the primary.
Tony Yuchasz of the House Democratic Campaign Committee filed the complaint.
Among the findings in the case is that House Republican Caucus staffers were not involved in the video production and that Hargrove was actually told by staff that “it was House policy not to use public resources to produce videos for use outside a member’s legislative district. Respondent was also advised that legislative issues may be discussed in a campaign and non-public funds could be used to discuss legislative issues.”
The settlement document says there was no evidence Hargrove actually asked staffers to produce the video.
And it says Hargrove’s campaign paid FastTrax, a private campaign firm, $3,416 on Dec. 2 to produce the ad and for a three-week airing on television through Comcast.
Fines for legislators are relatively rare, and many complaints filed during election seasons are dismissed – like the one against state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, last week.