Alliance for Civic Involvement: Alleged violations of RCW 42.17A.235,.240,.255,.265,.320 & .420 for failure to timely rpt contr & expend; rpt ind expend; provide spons ID on POLAD; rpt. & rcvd. over limit contr w/in 21 days of election(EY23, Sept23)




Alliance for Civic Involvement


Kelsey Vanhee


PDC staff reviewed the allegation(s); the applicable statutes, rules, and reporting requirements; the response(s) provided by the Respondent; the applicable PDC reports filed by the Respondent; and other relevant information, to determine whether the record supports a finding of one or more violations.

Based on staff’s review, we found the following:

  • Sandra Cook-Bensley (Respondent) is the Treasurer, and sole officer, for the Alliance for Civic Involvement PAC (PDC Case 142488), Burien/SeaTac Alliance (PDC Case 145444), Burien 2023 (PDC Case 145446), and SeaTac 2023 (PDC Case 145448), (the Committees). 
  • Discovered through the case review were two associated committees, Burien 2023 and SeaTac 2023, and these were added to the complaint. Additional allegations, as cited below, were also included in the complaint.
  • The Committees all filed Political Committee Registration (C-1pc) forms and chose the Full Reporting option.
  • The Respondent does not have other similar warnings or violations of PDC requirements.
  • Three of ACI’s C-3 reports were not timely submitted. The committee improperly stayed on a monthly reporting cycle for C-4s throughout the election.  This meant the committee did not file a 21-day pre-election or a 7-day pre-election report but rather filed a monthly report for September on October 3, 2023, amended on November 27, 2023, and a monthly report for 
  • October on November 8, 2023, amended November 27, 2023.  The information submitted was incomplete, requiring the amendments.  The committee also did not file the post-general C-4 but did file a monthly report for November, filed timely on December 8, 2023.  Because the materials submitted in the September, October, and November monthly reports should have been submitted in the 21-day, 7-day, and post-election reports, ACI violated RCW 42.17A.
  • ACI expended $12,720 in committee funds for the development and maintenance of a website and videos, and $970 for yard signs, door hangers, and stickers.  Not until after the election were the website and videos updated to include complete sponsor identification or the disclaimer that a candidate was not involved in the advertisements. 
  • ACI submitted C-6 reports disclosing independent expenditures supporting candidates in the 2023 election on January 3, 2024, four months late and well after the election.
  • ACI received a Last Minute Contribution (LMC) of $12,000 on October 20, 2023, from Burien/SeaTac Alliance.  The contribution was reported three weeks late, on a C-3, on November 6, 2023, and not on the LMC report until November 27, 2023. 
  • In addition to violating the reporting requirement for LMCs, ACI’s receipt of the contribution for $12,000, from Burien/SeaTac Alliance, during the period 10/17/23 – 11/6/23, was more than the allowed $7,500 limit right before an election.  This contribution, in-part, covered costs associated with the website and videos.

Pursuant to WAC 390-37-060(1)(f), Sandra Cook-Bensley, on behalf of the Committee, completed a Statement of Understanding (SOU) and paid a $750 civil penalty in accordance with WAC 390-37-143 (Brief Enforcement Penalty Schedule), acknowledging violations of RCW 42.17A.235 and RCW 42.17A.240 by failing to timely and accurately disclose contributions and expenditures on Cash Receipts, Monetary Contributions (C-3) reports, and Receipts & Expenditure Summary (C-4) reports; RCW 42.17A.265 by failing to disclose contributions of $1,500 or more, in the aggregate, given or received within 21 days of a general election on a Last Minute Contribution (LMC) report; RCW 42.17A.420, by making or accepting a contribution exceeding $7,500 within 21 days of a general election; RCW 42.17A.255 by failing to timely disclose independent expenditures on the C-6 report; and RCW 42.17A.320 by failing to provide complete sponsor identification on political advertising.  The $750 penalty assessed resolves the allegations listed above.

Based on this information, the PDC finds that no further action necessary and has dismissed this matter per RCW 42.17A.755(1).


Resolved through Statement of Understanding

Date Opened

September 20, 2023

Areas of Law

RCW 42.17A.235, RCW 42.17A.240, RCW 42.17A.255, RCW 42.17A.265, RCW 42.17A.320, RCW 42.17A.420


Total penalties: $300

Balance Due: $0


$300 (SOU - payment for PDC Case 142488, 145444, 145446, 145448)
$300 on 03/06/2024 (SOU and Payment received for PDC Case 142488, 145444, 145446, 145448 -)

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