Urias, Carla: Alleged violation of RCW42.17A.475 for accepting over limit cash contributions, WAC390-16-034 for failing to collect required contributor info & WAC390-16-043 for failure to maintain underlying source documentation (NOV'23, EY'23)




Carla Urias


Andreas Koeppen


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

  • Carla Urias filed a Candidate Registration (C-1) on June 5, 2023, selecting the Full Reporting option.  Ms. Jensen was a first-time candidate and there were no other persons listed as officers or leaders for the campaign. 
  • RCW 42.17A.475 states, in part, that “a person may not make a contribution of more than one hundred dollars, other than an in-kind contribution, except by a written instrument containing the name of the donor and the name of the payee.”
  • It was found that the campaign did accept two cash contributions, totaling $800, from James Baker and David Skaugg.  Both contributions were in excess of the allowed $100.
  • In this instance, there is no further action for the campaign to take to comply with the statute.
  • Per RCW 42.17A.235 and .240, under the Full Reporting option, a committee is required to disclose contribution and expenditure information by submitting Receipts and Expenditure Summary (C-4) reports and Cash Receipts, Monetary Contributions (C-3) reports to the PDC.  The Committee’s due dates for the C-3 and C-4 reports are determined by its activity and participation in the election cycle. 
    • RCW 42.17A. 235(5) & .240(2) identify the threshold for required reporting of the identity of contributors and WAC 390-16-308 further directs campaigns on the reporting of the source of a contribution. 
    • WAC 390-16-034 directs campaigns to disclose the name and address of each person who made one or more contributions in the aggregate amount of more than $250, as well as their occupation, and the name and location (city and state) of their employer. 
    • WAC 390-16-037 directs campaigns on how to report the detail of an expenditure for goods and/or services.

It was determined that in all but one instance the C-3 and C-4 reports were filed late.  In most instances the reporting was months late, and all reports were filed after the election.  The end of election cycle C-4 was filed timely.  The campaign reported total receipts in the amount of $2,000, and expenditures of $1,842.84.

  • The complaint from Andrew Koeppen stated the following:
  1. The “ledger presented was a hand-scribbled and incomplete list of some deposits and withdrawals, lacking clarity and completeness.”
  2. “The candidate failed to provide occupation and employer information for individuals who contributed more than $250 aggregate, whether through cash or check.”
  3. “The candidate failed to provide complete underlying source documentation, there were no canceled checks, copies of contribution checks, and or digital transaction records.”

Carla Urias responded to these statements, explaining that:

  • “The ledger I had was clearly written, had all deposits and withdrawals.  Mr. Koeppen did not ask for any further clarifying information.” 
  • “I did provide Mr. Koeppen information for James Baker and David Skaugg’s address, occupation, and location of employer on my ledger as well as filed it [in] your online system.”  
  • “I did provide complete underlying source documentation including written receipts. I did not provide cancelled checks as my bank does not provide those to me.”

RCW 42.17A.235 states, in part, “the treasurer or candidate shall preserve the books of account, bills, receipts, and all other financial records of the campaign.”  WAC 390-16-043 defines “books of account” as “a ledger or similar listing of contributions, expenditures, and debts,” and the books of account include: “a ledger, spreadsheet, or similar listing of contributions, expenditures, loans, debts and obligations to substantiate the information disclosed on the PDC campaign finance reports.”

The format of the “books of account” is not mandated by statute or WAC but the expectation is that the information is accurate and thorough to substantiate the required reporting to the Commission.  As well, it is not expected that a campaign maintains records not provided by a financial institution, for example cancelled checks.  However, the campaign should maintain copies of received contribution checks and other source documents outlined in WAC 390-16-043.

  • Based on submitted reports, the campaign did have adequate record keeping facilitating reporting to the Commission.  The evidence does not support a violation. 
  • Mr. Koeppen’s complaint also stated, “it was observed that Kirryn Jensen and Carla Urias received an in-kind donation for radio commercials from Amy Breitenstein, potentially violating the rule that prohibits transfer of campaign funds or services to other candidates or political committees.”  The case review determined Amy Breitenstein’s campaign did pay for a radio commercial during her campaign and that the campaigns of Kirryn Jensen and Carla Urias received a benefit from that political advertising.  Both candidates were aware of the political advertising and reimbursed Amy Breitenstein’s campaign for their share of the costs.  There was initial confusion by the campaigns on how to report these transactions, but those reporting issues are resolved.  The evidence does not support a violation. 
  • Mr. Koeppen’s complaint further stated, “the candidate also omitted to disclose an in-kind donation from a PAC called ‘Connecting Communities.’”  The in-kind was alleged to have been a flyer created and distributed by the PAC that endorsed the candidates.  Upon review of the flyer and further responses from Ms. Urias, there does not appear to have been coordination between the PAC and the campaign regarding the creation of the flyer, and Ms. Urias states they did not participate in the distribution.  The evidence does not support a violation. 
  • During the books of account inspection by Andrew Koeppen, David Hunt was present.  The complaint alleged the campaign concealed Mr. Hunt’s role as treasurer and campaign manager.  Ms. Urias acknowledges that David Hunt helped on her campaign, and was present at the book of account inspection, but states that he was not an officer of her campaign. The evidence does not support a violation.
  • Mr. Koeppen also alleged, “I believe that one of the in-kind contributions attributed to Mr. Hunt and cash donation by Jon Smith may actually have originated from Mr. Hunt’s PAC, known as ‘Connecting Communities.’”  There was no evidence provided to substantiate this allegation, and it is determined by PDC staff to be unfounded.
  • Following the submission of Mr. Koeppen’s complaint, pictures of Amy Breitenstein, Carla Urias, Kirryn Jensen, David Skaugg, David Hunt, and Dan Delano were provided. These pictures are of them socializing together as well as working together on the various campaigns of the candidates. Candidates may attend campaign events, civic engagement related events, or “Get out the vote” (GOTV) events with other candidates.  GOTV events aim to increase voter turnout in elections and often focus their efforts on voter registration and encouragement of voting generally.

Although the law prohibits using campaign funds to make a contribution to another candidate or political committee (other than using surplus funds to give to a political party or caucus committee), a candidate is allowed to use his or her campaign money to pay for costs to attend an event held by another candidate, a political party or committee so long as attending the event is directly related to the candidate's own campaign and the candidate's campaign only pays the per-person cost of consumables provided at the event (that is, the candidate uses his or her campaign money only to pay for his or her share of the actual cost of food, beverages, preparation, catering and entertainment furnished at the event).  If the candidate wishes to pay the full admission charge (e.g., including a contribution amount above and beyond the costs associated with attendance), he or she must use his or her personal funds to do so.

Candidates may work together, or with other entities, to coordinate campaign events, but if there are event costs attributable to candidates, then those costs should be shared by all candidates who receive a benefit from the event.  We encourage candidates to directly pay vendors their share of the costs, and report this share as an expenditure in the Online Reporting of Campaign Activity (ORCA) system.

  • The evidence does not support a violation.
  • Allegations made against David Hunt are not germane to case #145110.  If Mr. Koeppen has evidence to support his allegations, he should follow-up with a separate complaint directly against Mr. Hunt.
  • Carla Urias does not have other similar warnings or violations of PDC requirements.

Based on our findings staff has determined that, in this instance, accepting over the limit cash contributions and failing to timely and accurately file C-3 and C-4 reports in the 2023 election does not amount to a violation that warrants further investigation.

However, pursuant to WAC 390-37-060(1)(d):

  1. In case 145111, PDC staff reminded Carla Urias that per RCW 42.17A.475, the transaction of a contribution over $100 without a written instrument is a violation and therefore such contributions should not be accepted.  This reminder resolves the allegations associated with RCW 42.17A.475.  Also in this case, the numerous other allegations are determined to either be unfounded or the evidence did not support a violation. 
  2. In case 143991, Carla Urias will receive a formal written warning concerning their failure to timely and accurately file Cash Receipts, Monetary Contributions (C-3) and Receipts & Expenditure Summary (C-4) reports.  This warning resolves the allegations associated with RCW 42.17A.235 and RCW 42.17A.240. 

The PDC has dismissed these matters pursuant to RCW 42.17A.755(1) and will not conduct a more formal investigation into these allegations or take further enforcement action in these matters.  

In the future, staff expects Carla Urias to comply with all laws, rules and PDC guidance pertaining to cash contributions and filing timely and accurate C-3 and C-4 reports. If violations of PDC laws or rules occur in the future, the Commission will consider this formal written warning in deciding on further Commission action.


Case Closed with Reminder

Date Opened

November 17, 2023

Areas of Law

RCW 42.17A.235, RCW 42.17A.240, RCW 42.17A.475, WAC 390-16-034, WAC 390-16-043

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