The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has cleared Island County commissioner candidate Karla Jacks of violating fundraising requirements.
A complaint against Jacks, a Democrat, was filed by the staff of Republican commissioner candidate Marc Hennemann.
Hennemann’s camp accused her of not collecting employer data for contributions over $100. For contributions under $100, those donating must simply provide a name and address.
“The complaint does not provide any evidence that any of the individual contributors gave over $100,” said a letter by the state commission dated May 23.
“For this reason, the PDC will not be conducting a more formal investigation into the complaint or pursuing enforcement action in this case.”
The sticking point for the commission was the rule that contributors can give “up to” $100 without collecting employer data, according to Andrea McNamara Doyle, PDC executive director.
The employer data requirement kicks in at $101 or more, she said.
Tony Wallace, Hennemann’s campaign manager, filed the complaint and listed several donors reported by Jacks on the state agency’s website who gave exactly $100 where employer data was not collected.
Wallace said he filed the complaint based on conversations he had with PDC staff, who did not make the “up to” $100 rule clear to him.
Jacks called the complaint “frivolous” in a prepared statement released Wednesday.
“We did not believe it was frivolous,” Wallace responded Thursday. “We filed in good faith because we felt there was cause.”
Wallace said he does not anticipate Hennemann’s camp to refile the complaint based on the new information, but he has yet to speak to a PDC representative.
“I had every confidence we were in full compliance,” Jacks said in the prepared statement. “Even the best systems can be improved, of course, and we have tweaked our data collection process to make it even more transparent.”
Jacks’ staffer Bill Phillips described the commission complaint as a political ploy.
“Campaigns sometimes lob complaints in order to slow their opponent’s momentum,” Phillips said. “It rarely works unless there’s real substance to the complaint, which this clearly lacked.”