Andrea Reay’s campaign claims Debi Wagner violated disclosure laws

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Burien City Council candidates Debi Wagner, left, and Andrea Reay at the July 23 B-Town Blog Candidate Forum. Photos by Michael Brunk.

by Jack Mayne

The campaign manager for Burien City Council candidate Andrea H. Reay has filed a Public Disclosure Commission complaint alleging election rule violations against fellow candidate Debi Wagner.

Both are candidates, along with Robert L. Richmond, seeking to oust Position 3 councilmember Joan McGilton.

The PDC action was filed Thursday by e-mail by Cindi Laws, Reay’s campaign manager.

Phil Stutzman, director of compliance for the Public Disclosure Commission said on the telephone Friday morning that the complaint has been received but it will take time to see if the complaint is properly filed and then whether there are violations that warrant a full investigation that could take weeks.

Wagner, according to the Reay campaign complaint, decided to use a method called “Mini Reporting” instead of ‘Full Reporting.’

“As such, citizens do not have access to her campaign contributions or expenditures,” Laws’ alleges.

But the law requires that candidates who use this method must open their records to the public during the final days before the election.

The election date is Tuesday, Aug. 6, however many voters have completed mailed ballots earlier.

The allegations and responses
The complaint says the first alleged violation is that “Ms. Wagner conducted robo-calls on Monday, July 29, 2013. A receipt dated July 24, 2013 from the company ‘Labels & Lists’ for $276.96 was present. However, there was no record of the expense of the (Birmingham, Ala.) company conducting the robo-calls.”

Wagner says the bill for the robo-call had not arrived by the time Laws asked to see records, but it has since.

A second alleged violation is that the Wagner campaign had a flyer produced by “Friends to Elect Debi Wagner” which is in violation because it lacks “proper placement and committee address.” The same against a Wagner campaign website and a video. The Reay campaign also alleges an ad in the “Highline Times lacks adequate sponsor identification address and inadequate font size.”

Wagner says all of the items have her campaign name and address and the campaign sponsorship listed.

The third alleged violation is that the Wagner campaign has produced a short video but had no record of the cost of the production, as required by PDC rules. Wagner says the video was produced by a “no annexation” campaign ally and did not cost her City Council campaign anything.

The fourth alleged violation is that “spending on lumber for 200 yard signs has been concealed.”

Wagner says she bought the stakes long before the campaign on sale at local lumberyard and the rest of the stakes are reused from various previous campaigns.

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37 Responses to “Andrea Reay’s campaign claims Debi Wagner violated disclosure laws”
  1. My name is Pat LeMoine and I run a Youtube channel called Patssight: Many of the videos I have done involved annexation and Burien politics. I have posted everything from personal views to full Burien Council Meetings. I have done all of this for free because what I have seen in local politics is a microcosm of what is what I see to be wrong on state and national levels. I can’t change the world but maybe I can help make the small piece I live in a better place.

    How a person plays a game says a lot about their character. Politics is no different. To what end a politician will go in order to win a race says a lot about that politician and how they will behave if elected.

    I first met Debi Wagner during the No-Annexation campaign. I found her to be thoughtful, well spoken, and very knowledgeable. Since then my opinion of her has only increased. As an example she has written many well-researched and insightful letters to the editor expressing her concerns and knowledge about any number of issues affecting this community. I challenge you to do a search and see for yourself. Debi is an honorable person and I think would make a great council member.

    I have been hearing recently about some who are trying to dig up dirt on Debi. Andrea Reay, is this how you plan on being a council member, distract the voters from real issues instead of dealing with the issues head on, shame on you.

    In my humble opinion Debi Wagner is by far the best person for the job and that is why I have volunteered my time and talents to her campaign. I have every right to talk to people, doorbell, and make and post signs for the candidates I support. This includes myself making a video for both Debi Wagner and Chuck Rangel for free, not for money but because I believe in them. Debi’s video: Chucks video:

    To see how the candidates are handling their campaign finances which is a good way of seeing how they will handle Burien’s finances check out the following links:*&OFFICE+SOUGHT=CITY+COUNCIL+MEMBER&ELECTION+YEAR=2013*&OFFICE+SOUGHT=CITY+COUNCIL+MEMBER&ELECTION+YEAR=2013

    You will see Debi Wagner has filed under mini reporting meaning she plans on raising less then $5000 for her campaign and is relying on volunteers like myself and not spending money on such things as $675 a month for a campaign manager (Purple Mountain Advocates) like Andrea Reay in order to dig up a bunch of false accusations on her opponent. Debi Wagner is running her campaign honorably and on a frugal budget just as she plans on doing for Burien.

    • jimmy says:

      so when ms wanger was complaing about the burien city newsletter a couple months ago and then complaing about the other people running for office handing out there stuff at differnt events seems like she was trying to distract the voters now may be ms wanger has made some errors or someone supportting her has made some errors if so then the action needed to resolve the issues will be taken care by who ever needs to take care of them

      also pat we get it you don’t like annextion and anyone that suports it you will support thats fine but also you have realise other people have a opions to so when some one has a problem with somthing you don’t have to auto maticly try to discredit them or attack them for not have the same views as you

    • Chris says:

      Hey Pat, who are you going to vote for? Oh that’s right, you don’t actually LIVE in Burien. Glad you feel compelled to lobby for city council candidates who won’t actually represent you. But that is indeed your right, however your response would carry much more credibility and ethos if you actually lived in Burien.

      • Considering how badly annexation was handled and that depending on how this election goes Burien may make another attempt at it. Remember both Joey Martinez and Lauren Berkowitz both support another attempt. Annexation was very unpopular and ultimately this election is a way for the voters to decide weather or not Burien makes another attempt. Just think there is still a chance that we can both be Burien citizens. Would that make you feel better?

    • Hi Pat,
      It is up to candidates to know and follow all applicable laws in campaigning, and that includes keeping accurate records of contributions, including those for in-kind services. It is up to candidates to know what kind of information must be provided in all campaign materials, including videos, phone calls and printed materials. It is up to candidates to follow the same laws that they expect their elected officials to follow. That’s why we filed the complaint against my opponent with the PDC. Not to “distract from the issues”, but to expose the truth and hypocrisy. You can count on me to do the same on the council as an advocate for all the citizens of Burien.

      Because I believe so strongly in transparency, accountability and ethics, I elected for “full reporting” so that, at any time, any citizen can review my campaign contributions and spending, as you have done with me. It’s important to note that the incumbent in this race has also chosen “full reporting.”

      Transparency was needed when the City of Burien pursued annexation, which most of us strongly opposed. But those of us who campaign against annexation, or for anything at all, ought to ensure that we are being transparent when we do so.

      • Hi Andrea,
        I am glad you are against annexation. I also don’t particularly care for the tactics of you and your campaign manager spending so much time trying to dig up dirt on Debi rather then promoting the positives of your own campaign. Debi showed Cindi Laws her books and is being transparent under the law. Mini-reporting in meant for candidates running low budget campaigns. Seven of the twelve candidates in this primary are filing under mini-reporting. Many good honest people don’t get into politics because they don’t want to get their name drug through the mud. I applaud those that have the courage to do so of which Debi is one.

        The video I did has no value short of my respect for Debi. I videoed and edited it for free. I spent no money in its production. I only volunteered my time. I would not be surprised that if I volunteered to do the same for you that your attitude would be different. This whole thing is making a mountain out of a molehill, is a demonstration of the dark side of politics, and I am sure in the end Debi will be exonerated of the charges you have made against her. I see this as a last minute attempt to sway the voters and an acknowledgement by you that things aren’t going well. I could be wrong. We will find out Tuesday.

    • John Elliott says:

      Regardless of how well you know this candidate personally, are you subscribing that we ignore any wrong-doing regardless of the size of the event? Politics are politics and conducting your campaign above water should be the important thing here. Forgetting to do something when there are rules or purchasing items prior to and then using them in the campaign still fall under exposure.

      We see far too often in larger campaigns where many candidates do shady things to skim by at the booths.

      Personally, shame on anyone trying to cut corners, evade the truth or any other type of mishandling of their campaigns. I applaud Andrea for standing up and making mention of it. What the voters do are up to them. Too bad many have already turned in their ballots perhaps.

    • Michael O'Neill says:

      Below is an excerpt taken from the PDC Mini Campaign Reporting pamphlet 2010:

      “Before deciding to significantly restrict your campaign buying power, consider such factors as your level of name identification in the district (Do the voters know who you are and what you stand for?), the caliber of your opposition (Are you challenging an incumbent or another person who’s especially well known and respected in your community?), and have you considered the cost of printing and mailing brochures or of newspaper and broadcast advertising? These factors and more must be taken into account before selecting a reporting option.

      The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) suggests you do some research and rough out a budget for your campaign. You may find – as experience has shown us at PDC – that $5,000 doesn’t go very far and is generally insufficient to wage a full-scale, visible campaign. While there is a mechanism for changing reporting options, you will save both time and aggravation if your first choice of options is the right one for you.”

      Debi Wagner’s campaign materials have included more signage than any other candidate save for Chuck Rangel (who’s also mini reporting), robo calls, print ads in the local newspaper, blog ad, a video and website. All on a shoe string budget?

      Since transparency has been a major dysfunction of Burien’s recent government and a corner stone of her campaign one would think Debi would be handling her campaign differently. Her past criticism of mini reporting also makes one wonder.

      Transparency and accountability are major issues in this election! Andrea has my vote!

  2. Paula says:

    Full reporting will beat out mini-reporting in my book any day. It is a clear indication of the honesty and transparancy of a candidate. I am tired of politicians saying they will accomplish a laundry list of necessary reforms, but doing nothing. Actions speak louder than words.

    If Ms. Wagner had nothing to hide, then Ms. Reay would not have found any violations. This is about hypocrisy, if Ms. Wagner is not willing to run a fair and transparent campaign, how can we expect her to run a fair and transparent government? Lets get to the issues at hand and get off this merry-go-round.

    Ms. Reay is actively working in the community every week, is visible and accessible to anyone who would like to pose a question. She has my vote.

    • Chris says:

      Thank you for this response. Right on the money.

    • Dave Wagner says:

      I am Debi’s husband. Debi got into this race because, in part, of her hard work to fight behind the scenes activism by some of the current council. I can honestly say that you do not know Debi because she is for complete transparancy. Seven of the twelve council candidates also do “mini” reporting. Just because she expects to raise less than $5,000 mean that she is hiding something. Ms Reays rep did come over and view the books, and now Ms Reay is filing a complaint?? Nothing wrong, just false allegations. This is politics at its worst! Debi has watched her donated dollars very carefully, meanwhile Ms Reay has spent over three times the money. I hope the good citizens of Burien can see through what is going on here.

      • Sally Fortner says:

        This is the second time I’ve seen someone refer to “false accusations”. Which accusations are false? Not which ones do you think might be trivial in your opinion, but rather which are “false”.

        I’m sure as Debi’s husband it must be difficult to be dealing with this. At the same time though, she has put herself forward to be scrutinized (and for her campaign finances to be scrutinized) when she decided to run for office. I just want someone to explain to me what exactly is false about the complaint that was filed.

      • Burienite says:

        Yes, this Burien resident hasn’t forgotten that Debi dogged mini reporting previously, but now is doing the very thing she railed against.

        This, coupled with the oh-so-lazy robo calls will result in me not voting for her and encouraging others to do the same.

  3. Sally Fortner says:

    But Debi Wagner chose to go the route where she didn’t disclose online what her donations were. From what I can tell, the other candidate here did. The link you provided shows scores of records for Andrea Reay. For Debi it just shows her application. So Debi has to be okay with asking to have her books examined then. And as far as your services being donated, that still has to be accounted for. What if she happened to know Steven Spielberg and he decided to make an advertisement for her for free? What if Tim Eyman decided to donate a bunch of watches to everyone helping her on her campaign? What if Paul Allen threw a fundraiser for her and donated all of the food, location, etc. You see where that could lead? There’s a reasons these laws are in place. In order to keep people accountable and to keep donations transparent. And if you choose to restrict access to those records online then you have to be okay when you are asked to disclose them. As far as I can tell from reading this article, no “false accusations” have been made. You may think that the law should be different and in-kind donations shouldn’t have to be accounted for (I tend to disagree on that) but it isn’t false that the donation occurred and wasn’t accounted for in her records as required by law.

    • Debi Wagner is playing by the rules and so am I. During annexation I hand painted a sign and mounted it to my pickup, does that count in your way of thinking? Any candidate can get a friend to take their picture for the voter’s pamphlet, does that count? The above comment I make and this very comment took some time to write, does this also count as a financial contribution? I am an armature, not a professional, and I have every right to volunteer.

      I can get on a soapbox and stand on a corner and speak my views. This is called freedom of speech. I can also bring that same soapbox and let anyone else stand on it. Youtube is just this generation’s version of that very soapbox. What I have done is what volunteers do; spend personal time helping the candidate of their choice.

      I am honored though by the Spielberg and Paul Allen references, thanks.

      • Sally Fortner says:

        Yes! Spielberg has created some great works. You should take the compliment!

        Your response here lists many things that may or may not be required by law to disclose as a campaign contribution. It’s Debi’s responsibility to know which is which and report it. If you have an issue with what should or should not be categorized as a contribution, that’s another issue and perhaps you should work to change things. However, as the law stands, it seems she is in violation.

        • John Poitras says:

          Sally what you think is not important. Its what the PDC says.. Imo Debi is NOT in violation of any PDC requirements and this is a smear campaign to distract from the real issues.
          Its called bait and switch and is a pretty common tactic in national campaigns which this is not. I think we need to get back to the REAL issues facing the city of Burien.

      • Sally Fortner says:

        So weird, my last comment didn’t go through…

        Anyways, Pat, I’m glad you were flattered by the Spielberg and Allen references!

        My point in the first post was that you may disagree with what should or shouldn’t be categorized as a donation, and that’s a whole other conversation. However, as the law stands, it seems that she is in violation. And it’s her responsibility to know those laws. But, the complaint has been filed and so we’ll see what the response is.

  4. Marty says:

    Both of these woman are good candidates for council. Either one of them would do a much better job of representing the residents than the current incumbent (Joan M)

  5. Rob Halpin says:

    Looking at the details of the protests (“inadequate font size”, etc.), I believe Ms. Reay may have done more damage to her own campaign than to that of her opponent.

    Can Ms. Wagner really get disqualified from the race over bad typesetting, a delayed invoice, and a bundle of sticks? Hmmm…

    Having said all that, Ms. Wagner … Robo-calls for a council seat? Really? For a council seat?

    • Chris says:

      Yep, she lost my vote the second I received the robo call. This is the laziest form of campaigning. Oh yeah, same is true for Chuck Rangel. Don’t know him either, but the robo calling is ridiculous.

  6. Brian says:

    This isn’t about Andrea at all. The point here is that Debi Wagner is guilty of a whole bunch of campaign violations. Pat LeMoine may like Debi enough to produce a campaign video for free. But that contribution must be documented.

    The fact is that Debi Wagner opted for Mini Reporting — AFTER harshly criticizing other campaigns for choosing this “secretive” method. Debi Wagner is a hypocrite. And it IS secretive. Those who chose Mini Reporting do not have to publicly disclose their donors or where they spend their campaign money.

    Debi Wagner has engaged in a years-long campaign against all kinds of issues and individuals. She is repeatedly calling for transparency and accountability, and for people and organizations to follow the rules. And then she herself hides her donors and campaign expenses? Then Debi Wagner breaks the law?

    We deserve better. Burien doesn’t need another hypocrite and it doesn’t need a law-breaker on the City Council.

  7. dcollier says:

    Debi and Chuck both lost my vote over the robo calls. Even if I had not received the robo calls, I think she is hiding too much. Ironic that she has spoke over and over about being transparent and yet she runs a mini reporting campaign. As far as her not knowing the rules, sorry, you signed up to run so you are required to know the rules. If any pro annexation person did this, your group would fry them and say how dishonest they are. Lets see what your group has to say now, Debi.

    • John Poitras says:

      Collier who are you trying to deceive now? Debi or Chuck never had your vote in the first place! They OPPOSED annexation which you want badly. People are smarter than you give them credit for.

  8. Jackie says:

    Cindi Laws is the campaign consultant that Andrea Reay has hired to run her campaign and is the person who obviously advised her to file this alleged complaint. I would encourage anyone reading this blog to look up Cindi Laws, Seattle political campaigns. She has been involved in a number of disasterous Seattle Campaigns-see In this 2005 article in The Stranger, Cindi Laws is accused of making ethnic slurs about Jews and the quote in the article states, “Hiring Laws to manage your camapign is pretty much the political equivalent of “Death with Dignity.” Except without the dignity.” Laws was also allegedly involved in the Monorail overspending problems that resulted in it being cancelled as a project. Again just Goggle her name

    However, Andrea Reay remains the responsible person for what is ultimately done in her campaign. In checking the PDC site, Ms. Reay has spent close to $8,000(just by July, 2013) on her campaign with close to $1,200+ being paid out to Cindi Laws. Debi Wagner’s whole campaign going to Nov. 2013 will spent no more than $5,000. It is clear who is really a conservative in thier spending and who is big time spender. Andrea Reay implied at the forum that she was responsible for the $27 million dollars Seattle Opera budget. In fact this is not true. The Seattle Opera budget is not managed by Andrea Reay. There appear to be 6 people in finance who manage this budget. It appears that Ms. Reay, who is not really head of production but an underling in production, may get a small portion of the budget for each production and has to stay within that alloted amount. Again this is about that issue of transparency and truth in the telling of the story.

    The State of Washington set up the PDC to watch over campaign spending and allowed the mini reporting because it considered this model of campaign to be small change kind of campaign that just by how little spending it allowed did not cause corruption or fraud. The State of Washington approves of these kinds of campaigns and probably would like all campaigns to be this conservative in the money they send. This supposed complaint by Andrea Reay appears to be about trivial issues like type setting, an error by the ad set up person at the Highline Times and about some old used wooden stakes.

    Andrea Reay has stated that she hates devisive politics and that is why she is running for the City Council and now she is involved in being devisive over trivia. She feels the Burien City Council needs to have a mom to tell them how to behave. Well Debi Wagner is a mom of seven children and this is the kind of mud slinging Andrea is doing to another mom in the eleventh hour of the Primary Election.

    Also, I would note here that these claims by Andrea against Debi Wagner are only alleged claims and Wagner remains innocent until the PDC investigates them. In the mean time this kind of press coverage is intended to to do Wagner harm. Lastly, I suspect that Debi Wagner has perhaps at the most spent about $2,000 or less on her primary campaign, if she plans to have enough to make it to Nov., 2013. That is about 1/4 of what Andrea Reay has spent on her campaign just to July, 2013.

    I received a small black and white Debi Wagner flyer at my home and it disclosed who paid for it. So what are talking about here, trying to destroy a person’s reputation over the placement of print on a homemade, home computer black and white flyer?

    By the way, Debi Wagner was out in my community doorbelling and was open to questions. Andrea Reay is doing nothing new and novel if she is doing the same thing but she is being devisive in this kind of press release and these kind of trivia complaints.

    The Stranger may be right about what hiring Cindi Laws as your campaign manager can do to you and you long term reputation in your community, DEATH WITHOUT DIGNITY.

  9. Mike says:

    Debi, just change your reporting. Full disclosure. That’s what it’s all about. Additionally, isn’t mini reporting legal? All the speculation about campaign violations is just…speculation until proven different.

  10. Seahurst Relic says:

    When I was in business I always respected the vendor who stood up and told me what he could do for me, the vendor who came to me and badmouthed his competitor to make themselves look better…never got my business. Serious violations are one thing but this just petty BS which at this point are only accusations until ruled upon. I believe Ms. Reays focus is way off base here. Just my opinion but illegal sign posts?? Really Andrea???

  11. Nathan says:

    It seems to me that the campaign manager for Reay is just looking for excuses to eliminate the competition.

    If anything that’s more skeezy than less than transparent monetary transactions.

    Also, these are local politics, people. These people run campaigns on a shoestring budget. That’s the definition of chump change. Chill out.

  12. elizabeth2 says:

    Let the mudslinging begin! I am so dismayed at the rush to judgment and public pettiness that has started already. Andrea, I would have hoped for better from you yet you are first out of the gate.

    It doesn’t give me much hope for your future as a politician when you are so quick to jump all over a candidate – are there no issues you could discuss, positions you could explain before you stoop to pettiness.

    And no, I have not decided who I am going to vote for; I am not a supporter of anyone. I am just someone dismayed that the new “fresh voice” in Burien politics is as smarmy as the old voices.

  13. ATKMH says:

    And one of these two candidates is going to do a better job than the other representing the interests of Burien? Really? Never in the history of Burien has there been so much ridicule, name calling, mudslinging, as there has been the past two years. I suspect that if either of these candidates make it to the council, this is just the tip of the iceberg of what the next four years will look like for Burien. These two women exemplify dysfunctional. Oh, and I will have my husband post a response on my behalf to any nasty replies I might receive. It would be just too much for me emotionally to handle. Thank goodness I’m not running for council, cause if anyone wrote something nasty about me, hubby would have to handle it for me. If running a campaign is this difficult for either of these candidates, imagine what they will do if someone on the council doesn’t agree with them on something. I want a stable, responsible, professional council member. Each of these candidates has to represent the majority of the residents, not just those they agree with, which seems to be the issue at hand. That’s why there is a council minority.

  14. flashdog says:

    The last time Debi Wagner ran for Burien City Council, I didn’t know much of anything about her and so, I had no opinion of her good or bad. Since then, I have read several long, letters she has written to this blog on various important local issues. I have been amazed at the depth and scope of her research. I have appreciated the clear, uncomplicated way that she explains these situations and her views on them. I am very impressed with Ms. Wagner because of her years of CARING about what is going on in our city and putting much time and thought into finding solutions for the problems.

    Ms. Reay, on the other hand, sent out an expensive, colorful flyer smugly demanding to know if I have “had enough yet?” in regards to the current situation in our Burien city council. The implication being that the young, inexperienced Ms. Reay would march right in and straighten everybody out. In her flyer, she informs me that she is a nice person. Oh, good. I’m glad she told me because I wouldn’t have picked that up from the other remarks in her flyer at all. Ms. Reay’s use of the tired old political trick of accusing your opponent of trivial matters of financial wrong doing a few days before the election wraps it up for me. I will take Ms. Wagner’s research and thoughtful problem solving over Ms. Reay’s ego and attitude any day.

  15. Burien Fan says:

    If this is what we can expect from Wagner and Reay, and if this bitter, divisive Des Moines-style politics disgusts you, and if you don’t want it in Burien, the choice is clear — re-elect Joan McGilton, who goes about the people’s business without slinging mud. Let Debi and Andrea write long letters to B-Town Blog. Scott will post them, people can argue about them, and they will have an outlet for their opinions. I wouldn’t want either of them on the Council, if this is the way they conduct themselves on the campaign trail.

  16. Tbc says:

    ” re-elect Joan McGilton, who goes about the people’s business ”

    Joan has never done the people’s business. She has always been self serving and caters to special interests. Nice try tho.

  17. Really? says:

    REALLY? Complaining about yard sign sticks? For crying out loud, that’s it? What a stupid waste of time. To me, this is indicative of how this complaining canidate handles differing opinions and is the worst type of problem solving. I don’t know who I will vote for, but it’s now one less to choose from.

    • shari says:

      Totally agree. And like Rob said earlier: FONT SIZE ? surely Tina Fey is the real campaign guru here . It would be hilarious if it weren’t so….sad. i stared at my ballot without a lot of enthusiasm or hope.

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