NCW — Being a candidate for public office comes with some paperwork, but figuring out all details can be a challenge.
State law requires people to file certain documents with the state Public Disclosure Commission within two weeks of becoming a candidate. The commission is charged with tracking the finances of political campaigns and lobbying groups.
If a jurisdiction has more than 2,000 registered voters, candidates must file an F1 personal financial affairs statement with the PDC. If the number of voters in a jurisdiction is more than 5,000, they must file that and a C1 candidate registration.
Candidates must also file an F1 and a C1 if they intend to raise more than $5,000 in campaign contributions, regardless of the jurisdiction’s size. In that case, they must also file reports of their campaign contributions and expenses — C3 and C4 reports.
The Wenatchee World asked the PDC and local auditors to confirm which 2019 city council, mayor and school board candidates must file in Chelan and Douglas counties.
Here’s what they said:
Must file both F1 and C1
- East Wenatchee City Council
- East Wenatchee mayor
- Wenatchee City Council
- Wenatchee School Board
- Cascade School Board
Must file F1
- Cashmere School Board
- Chelan City Council
- Chelan mayor
- Lake Chelan School Board
- Manson School Board
Don’t have to file either F1 or C1
- Bridgeport mayor
- Cashmere mayor
- Entiat City Council
- Entiat mayor
- Entiat School Board
- Leavenworth City Council
- Leavenworth mayor
- Stehekin School Board
- Waterville mayor
- Waterville Town Council
Wenatchee City Councilwoman Linda Herald, who is running to stay on the council, started but has not submitted a candidate registration, according to the PDC. East Wenatchee Councilman Tim Detering, who is running for mayor, also has not filed a candidate registration.
Detering couldn’t be reached for comment, but Herald said she was in the process of completing the paperwork.
“When I went through it, I didn’t have a treasurer at that point and I do now,” she said. “The second reason was because I was having trouble getting my checking account set up.”
Chelan City Council candidates Jon Higgins and John Olson have not submitted F1 statements.
In the three-way Eastmont School Board race that will be narrowed down in Tuesday’s primary election, two of the three candidates were missing forms last week, according to the PDC. All have since filed those forms.
Peter Smith was missing the F1 form, but his C1 form had been filed.
“The filing of the F1 was a misunderstanding of the requirements,” he said Friday. “The form is in process. Totally my fault. I have been in contact with the PDC.”
Lyle McClune had filed a draft of the C1 and had not filed the F1, according to the PDC.
“I didn’t know about these filings, but they are done now,” he said. “So much to learn.”
Meaghan Vibbert has filed both C1 and F1 forms.
All three said they are raising and spending less than $5,000.
One of six Wenatchee School Board candidates had not filed forms as of Friday, but he has a good reason. Tim Larson, who signed up to run against Karina Vega-Villa for Position 2, has withdrawn from the race. He and his wife are in the process of moving to Cashmere, an unexpected development, he said.
Wenatchee School Board Position 5 incumbent Sunny Hemphill had filed her F1, but the C1 was in draft form until Thursday, according to the PDC. It has since been submitted. Her challenger, Martin Barron, has filed his forms.
“We’re in the process of sending out reminders and notifications to attempt to gain compliance from those filers at this time,” Kurt Young, PDC compliance officer, said last week.
The commission determines violations after a hearing process, but several steps lead up to that point.
Enforcement starts with group emails that are sent to all candidates who have not filed. This year, the initial email was sent to 1,300 candidates across the state and a second email was issued to about 800 candidates.
“A lot of times, it’s just an education process,” said Kim Bradford, PDC communications director.
The PDC implemented a new computer system this year that came with a learning curve. Some people mistakenly left their forms in draft rather than submitting them.
Young said the commission could fine non-compliant candidates as a last resort.
That doesn’t happen often. The last candidate to receive a violation in Chelan and Douglas counties was Michael McCourt, then the incumbent Douglas County Sewer District commissioner, who was fined $150 in January 2017 for failing to file his financial affairs statement for 2015.
The PDC offers compliance classes to help candidates figure out the filing requirements and campaigning rules.
For more information, visit pdc.wa.gov.