The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) this week announced that it has filed a complaint in Thurston County Superior Court alleging campaign finance violations by Teresa Purcell, a former legislative candidate for the 19th Legislative District, and her political committee. Specifically, the AGO alleges that Purcell failed to timely report debts and obligations as they were incurred, instead filing reports only when the invoices were paid — potentially months late — as well as failure to report complete information for 42 contributors.

In October 2016, the AGO received a Citizen Action Notice from Glen Morgan alleging multiple violations of the state’s public disclosure laws by Purcell and her committee, People for Teresa Purcell. These allegations asserted that Purcell and the committee failed to report debts at the time they were incurred, as required by law, and failed to report contributor employer or occupation information.

During a PDC staff and AGO review, the state discovered that Purcell and the committee purchased services including video and film creation, political advertising and yard signs, but reported the debts only after invoices were paid. Staff also determined that the campaign failed to report required employer or occupation information for 42 individuals.

The state seeks penalties and injunctive relief. The defendants will have 20 days from the date they are served to respond to the state’s complaint.

A copy of the AGO’s complaint filed today can be found here.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Linda Dalton and Assistant Attorney General Walter Smith are handling the case.

When the Attorney General’s Office receives a Citizen Action Notice, it has 45 days to investigate and respond to the sender. If the office does not start litigation, the sender may sue in the name of the state. If litigation is successful, any penalties awarded would go to the state, and an attorney for the sender could recover attorney fees and costs.

The Attorney General’s Office enforces the state’s campaign finance disclosure law to ensure free, open and fair elections in Washington state. Since becoming Attorney General, Attorney General Ferguson has devoted more agency resources to campaign finance casework.