[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a Letter to the Editor, written by a Reader. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The B-Town Blog nor its staff:]
To the Editor:
We need municipal leaders who can and will stand up for truth when they see injustice and defend it as an advocate for all of the citizens of Burien. We need leaders who will ask the difficult questions. That is why I am in the race and what my campaign and I have always stood for and what I will continue to stand for as a leader on the council. The citizens of Burien deserve answers and to have access to the truth and information. If we ever hope to come together and move our city forward, we need to do so together, and we need to respect each other and the truth.
There was no press release. The complaint was not filed for any other reason than the fact that the letter of the law should be followed, whether someone is running for office or not. It was filed, when it was filed simply because we only could not make an appointment to view the records until eight days before the election, as outlined in the PDC regulations. If Ms Wagner had chosen full reporting, there would have been no reason to inspect her records, because as mine are, they would all be part of public record. The law is not and never should be a convenience. It exists to ensure fairness and justice. That the “Friends to Elect Debi Wagner” campaign adheres and follows the same laws and regulations that all candidates and elected officials must is why the PDC is investigating “Friends to Elect Debi Wagner”. This was not in any way a personal attack against Ms Wagner. If Ms Wagner had followed PDC regulations, there would have been no need to file a complaint with the PDC, and no article published by the B-Town Blog. Ms Wagner appears to be attempting to deflect from her pending investigation with personal attacks against myself and my campaign consultant. We need leaders who will be held accountable for their actions, and accept responsibility not deflect and attack others. I have not and will not engage in any personal attacks of any kind and will always only focus on the facts and the issues. Transparency, openness and hypocrisy are unfortunately issues we face as a city. It is important to publish and to publish fairly and accurately, the truth. The truth is the only thing my campaign was looking for when we inspected her records and the only thing I defend with this letter.
I was and continue to act on behalf of the citizens of Burien, ensuring that their interests are met and that those who make promises on behalf of the citizens of Burien deliver on those promises. Actions speak louder than words, and I know I’m tired of people saying they are going to do a lot of things and never delivering on those promises. Integrity, as I said in the forum, is built on action. We need leaders who can finally take this city from idea to impact, and we need leaders who know and understand the law, and act with fairness and integrity. I cannot, and will not ever apologize for telling the truth.
Ms Wagner has repeatedly criticized others for a lack of transparency. Now that a complaint has been filed, holding her accountable, she chooses to attack my campaign consultant. Is this an indication of how Ms Wagner will treat citizens who aim to hold her accountable? Can Burien citizens expect a similar witch hunt if they themselves seek to hold her accountable to the law? Here are the rules, please take a moment to review them. I have highlighted the portion of the law that refers to as Ms Wagner indicated in her previous letter that my treasurer, a CPA, should have reported his services in kind. We have and are working hard to ensure we are following both the letter and intent of the law. Burien deserves no less.
Full PDC Mini Reporting Manual can be found here: Mini Campaign Reporting Instruction Manual — May 2013  — PDF (495 KB)
Regardless of which option outlined below is chosen, all candidates and political committees must keep accurate, detailed records and make these records available for public inspection during the eight days preceding the primary, general or special election in which they’re participating. (Page 3)
Public Inspection of Campaign Records (page 13)
During the eight days preceding a primary, general or special election, the campaign’s books of account showing all contributions received, expenditures made and outstanding debts must be current within one business day. Further, they must be open for public inspection by anyone who wants to see them. These books must be available for inspection on weekdays beginning on the eighth day before the election (excluding legal holidays) by appointment between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. at the location designated by the campaign on the registration statement (C-1). The inspection must be allowed within 24 hours of the time and day requested.
The separate list of contributors giving $25 or less does not need to be included with the records available for public inspection. All other “books of account” of the campaign must be current within one business day and be made available for public inspection. The campaign books include its checkbook register and any ledgers, journals or lists identifying contributors (and the date and amount each has given) as well as books showing any outstanding debts (including loans and orders placed but not yet paid). If these types of books are not kept, the campaign is expected to make available the documents that are customarily used to create these books of account; that is, the receipts, invoices, copies of contribution checks, notes or documents regarding orders placed or loans, etc.
2013 public inspection periods:
July 29 – Aug 5 (pre-primary election)
Oct. 28 – Nov. 4 (pre-general election)
Political Advertising (page 14)
“Political advertising” includes any advertising displays, newspaper ads, billboards, signs, brochures, articles, tabloids, flyers, letters, radio or television presentations, or other means of mass communication, used for the purpose of appealing, directly or indirectly, for votes or for financial or other support in any election campaign. [RCW 42.17A.005(36)]
Sponsor Identification (page 15 – 16)
In print ads (newspaper display ads, flyers, brochures, letters, etc.) and ads distributed electronically via computer, to identify the sponsor use the words “Paid for by” or “Sponsored by” followed by the name and full postal mailing address (through zip code) of the sponsor(s). Treasurer’s name is not required. Identification on an envelope used only for mailing purposes is optional, but is not sufficient to meet the sponsor ID requirement. The advertising enclosed in the envelope must be properly identified.
Sponsor ID Size and Placement (page 17)
On written or printed political advertising, the sponsor’s name and address and the candidate’s party preference (if the candidate is seeking partisan office) must:
- appear on the first page of the communication in at least 10 point type; or
- for ads such as billboards or posters, appear in type at least 10% of the largest size type used in the ad; and
- not be screened or half-toned (i.e., not made lighter through some printing or photographic process); and
- be set apart from any other printed text in the ad.
Monetary and In-Kind Contributions (page 28 – 29)
As noted above in the definition of “contribution,” personal services that are commonly performed by campaign volunteers are not considered contributions so long as the individual who performs one or more of these activities is not compensated by any person for the services rendered.
This means that volunteers (who are not paid by anyone for the volunteer tasks they perform) may do certain campaign work without the candidate having to report their services as in-kind contributions.
The Commission has defined “volunteer services” to include:
• Office staffing; • Doorbelling or leaflet drops; • Mail handling (folding, stuffing, sorting and postal preparation); • Political or fundraising event staffing; • Telephone bank activity (conducting voter identification, surveys or polling, and get-out-the-vote campaigns); • Construction and placement of yard signs, hand-held signs or in-door signs; • Chauffeuring for candidate or campaign staff; • Scheduling of campaign appointments and events; • Transporting voters to polling places on election day; • The services of any individual, except an attorney or accountant*, provided that the services donated are solely for the purpose of ensuring compliance with state election or public disclosure laws; • Campaign consulting and management services, polling and survey design, public relations and advertising or fundraising performed by any individual, so long as the individual is not a professional in that field who ordinarily charges a fee or receives compensation for providing those services; and • All similar activities as determined by the Commission.
[*Note that an attorney or accountant may donate his or her professional services to a candidate in order to assist the candidate in complying with state election or PDC laws even if he or she is employed and is receiving payment from his or her employer for the services rendered to the candidate’s campaign, or if the attorney or accountant is self- employed or performing the services without compensation during his or her own time.]
In-Kind Contributions (page 32 – 33)
Monetary contributions are not the only things of value received by campaigns. Frequently, contributors will donate goods and services in lieu of or in addition to their monetary donations.
The contribution’s fair market value is the amount a well-informed buyer or lessee, willing but not obligated to buy or lease, would pay; and what a well-informed seller, or lessor, willing but not obligated to sell or lease, would accept.
Generally, this means the amount the contributor would ordinarily expect to receive if someone were paying him or her to provide the item or service. For example, if a candidate is given materials by a local retail hardware store for the construction of yard signs, an in-kind contribution has been made equal to the current retail sales price of the materials.
However, if the business donating the materials is a wholesale supplier, the in-kind contribution is equal to the amount this wholesaler charges its customers for the materials.
Expenditures and Debts (page 36)
The term “expenditure” includes a payment, contribution, subscription, distribution, loan, advance, deposit, or gift of money or anything of value. It includes a contract, promise or agreement, whether or not legally enforceable, to make an expenditure.
The term “expenditure” also includes a promise to pay, a payment or a transfer of anything of value in exchange for goods, services, property, facilities, or anything of value for the purpose of assisting, benefiting, or honoring any public official or candidate, or assisting in furthering or opposing any election campaign.”
I have chosen to run a fair, open and transparent campaign, in complete compliance, and that’s how I’ll lead on the council. I have deep faith and trust in the intelligence of the voters in Burien to recognize the truth when it is before them and that they will vote accordingly, and for me, to defend truth and justice, and to be an advocate for them and their interests always.
Andrea H. Reay
Burien City Council Position #3
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