Wanted: An Actual Attorney General for Washington state
Legal problems are becoming an issue for Washington State’s part-time Attorney General and full-time seeker of the Governor’s Office.
“Sideshow Bob”— the nickname he has earned on our show — uses the Washington State Attorney General’s Office as his own, personal PAC. Sean Robinson at The Tacoma News Tribune broke the story on how the Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson raises political donations every time he spends State money suing President Trump.
Bob Ferguson’s Mounting Legal Problems
Citizen activist and creator of WeTheGoverned.com Glen Morgan says he has filed 14 serious allegations of campaign finance law breaking by Bob Ferguson. One allegation, for example, claims Ferguson’s campaign accepted donations from companies outside the state.
“If you look at these companies, probably not surprisingly, three of them are law firms,” Morgan said. “These are firms that have no corporate ties or business in Washington state, as far as I’ve been able to find anywhere. Then there’s also an education group that did it, and another corporation … that it is a clear violation of the statute and his treasurer certainly knows this element of the law. They are supposed to vet these people and prevent them from giving them donations. It’s actually one of the questions they are supposed to ask, if it’s an out-of-state corporation that gives them money.”
The 14 complaints have 54 days to go through notice procedures. After that, a lawsuit can be filed based on the complaints. The attorney general’s office is supposed to review these complaints. In this case, it will have to hire an outside law firm.
These charges are not only detailed and considerable, they create a bind for Ferguson, who will have to mount an independent defense. This is going to make a busy time for Washington state’s part-time Attorney General. Bob Ferguson also faces the prospect of being the first state AG to ever be deposed in a lawsuit started by that office as a direct result of his attempt to bar activist Tim Eyman from practicing political speech.
An Activist, but Hardly An Amateur
Morgan has an impressive record of finding, detailing and taking to fruition campaign finance violations. In fact, Morgan has forced Bob Ferguson to file suit against Democrats for breaking campaign finance laws. Morgan has also gained standing to sue, on behalf of Washington State, King County’s corrupt Executive, Dow Constantine, who chose to lie on his campaign finance filings (Constantine pretended he was not on the board of the criminal syndicate known as Sound Transit). Hence, Morgan’s complaints against Ferguson carry considerable weight. They also create a real challenge for Ferguson; Ferguson used the State AG’s Office and personnel as his PAC, but he cannot use them to defend against these charges. Ferguson will have to find a lawyer in private practice–who does not have a conflict–to defend him. Perhaps most interestingly, Bob Ferguson, AKA “Sideshow Bob” will have to choose to plead guilty and pay fines, or try to fight charges that are arguably far more numerous and serious than those he chose to sue Eyman for over $1.5 million.
Fourteen Complaints Against Ferguson
Glen Morgan’s complaints, the basics of which appear below, show a pattern of Ferguson blithely ignoring campaign finance laws that he, as a candidate, promised to vigorously uphold. Glen Morgan will appear Monday on our show to explain each charge in detail.
1) Illegal use of candidate surplus campaign funds (Violation of RCW 42.17A.430)
2) Failure to file accurate, timely C3 and C4 reports. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235)
3) Failure to accurately, timely report debt. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.240 (8), see WAC 390-05-295)
4) Failure to properly break down, describe expenses. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235, see WAC 390-16-205, WAC 390-16-037)
5) State law prevents candidate committees from accepting contributions from businesses that do not do business in the state of Washington. State law establishes that candidates must return contributions that exceed the contribution limits contained in RCW 42.17A.405 within 10 days of receipt. RCW 42.17A.405, RCW 42.17A.110, WAC 390-16-312.
6) Failure to list committee officers. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.205 (2)(c), see WAC 390-05-245)
7) Illegal unauthorized expenditure of funds by an individual not listed as an officer on form C-1/C1-pc. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.425)
8) Failure to timely update C1-pc. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.205(4))
9) State law requires that the committee treasurer preserve books of account, bills, receipts, and all other financial records of the campaign or political committee for not less than five calendar years following the year during which the transaction occurred. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235 (6)).
10) Illegal personal use of campaign funds. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.445, see WAC 390-16-238)
11) Failure to include sponsor ID. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.320)
12) Illegal depositing of campaign funds into bank account by person other than the treasurer or deputy treasurer. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.220 (1))
13) Failure to timely submit accurate F1. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.700, .710)
14) State law requires that both the treasurer and the candidate must certify all contribution and expenditure reports as correct and accurate. (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235 (7)).
Bob Ferguson’s office had not returned a request for comment at the time of publication.