March 14, 2022

Commission Chair Fred Jarrett welcomed Seattle attorney Jocelyn Cooney to the Commission.

“I feel very fortunate to be able to be here with all of you and to learn from all of you,” Cooney said. “I’m looking forward to the work.”

A 2015 graduate of Seattle University School of Law, Cooney is a senior deputy prosecuting attorney in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Special Assault Unit.

Her appointment, made Feb. 7 by Gov. Jay Inslee, brings the Commission to a full five members.

“This is particularly pleasant for me,” Jarrett said. “We now have a full complement of commissioners for the first time in quite a while.”

Read more about Commissioner Cooney on the PDC website.

FedEx fined

The Commission fined FedEx $4,500 for three failures to promptly respond to a citizen request for records that commercial advertisers are required to disclose. A total of $2,000 of the fine is suspended, subject to future compliance with disclosure rules.

The Commission issued a summary judgment against the company in January, and assessed the penalty at its February meeting.

Washington commercial advertisers who provide campaign materials or services must maintain current books of account that include who paid for the materials or services, how much they cost and the date services were provided. That information must be made available to the public upon request.

The citizen request to FedEx was initially made in October 2019, but responses came 34, 26 and 155 days later after significant intervention by PDC staff – and too late for the information to inform the public about the November election.

Attorneys for FedEx argued that its Bellevue store manager was unaware of the political nature of the materials copied at its store. They also said FedEx was concerned about customer privacy and sought guidance from PDC staff about its status as a commercial advertiser, contributing to some of the delay.

Commissioner William Downing said FedEx – a large company with significant resources – should have known about its responsibilities under the law.

Milton City Council member fined

The Commission voted to fine Milton City Council Member David Strader $1,500, with half suspended, for failure to timely file required reports after declaring his candidacy in 2021.

He initially attempted to withdraw his candidacy, but it was too late to remove his name from the ballot. He wrote to the PDC, saying he was discontinuing his campaign and promising that he wouldn’t accept office if elected.

He later changed his mind and filed the required candidate registration (C-1) and Personal Financial Affairs Statement (F-1) approximately 149 days late – one day before the November election.

He was elected and took office in January.

Strader acknowledged his actions, but asked the commission to take into consideration that he was a first-time candidate with little knowledge of campaign rules.

Enforcement process report

Between May 15 and Nov. 2, 2021, PDC staff collected data on complaints received, cases opened and cases closed. The PDC received 148 complaints, opened 137 cases and closed 108 cases. Cases remained open an average of 43 days.

During this period, the staff implemented several process changes, including case review by a compliance officer before a case is opened, and sending specific questions to respondents earlier. Both those changes worked to improve the process. One other change, which allowed staff to close cases while action by the respondent was still pending, did not work as well due to lack of follow-through by respondents.

Staff is also working on improvements to:

  • Better determine when a respondent has cut off communication with the PDC so that next steps can be considered
  • Provide more detail about the enforcement process to respondents
  • Remind respondents that information they provide to the PDC will be posted on the agency’s website.

Enforcement stats

PDC staff closed 24 complaint-based cases between Jan. 19 and Feb. 15, along with 24 staff-generated cases.

There were 42 active cases as of Feb. 15.

Browse enforcement cases on PDC website.

Next Commission meeting: March 24, 2022.