CastroLang & Spokane Dems Violated Campaign Finance Laws?
by Shari Dovale
Glen Morgan believes that Campaign Finance is a major problem in Washington State.
“I became more interested in Washington State’s campaign finance laws late last year for a variety of reasons.” Morgan tells us. “First, our Attorney General was running a campaign on more aggressive enforcement of these laws. Secondly, a blizzard of campaign finance complaints were filed against me, and by me on others, in Thurston County.
Finally, Democrat State Senator Sam Hunt wrote that I didn’t know anything about campaign finance law. He was right. I did not. So, I started educating myself. I really consider our AG Bob Ferguson and State Senator Sam Hunt as my inspirations to get engaged in campaign finance reform.”
The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) is a non-partisan agency of the Washington State government, and is tasked to collect reports from political candidates and ballot measure sponsors regarding campaign contributions and expenditures, then provide these reports to the public.
Morgan began researching the laws pertaining to the PDC. He felt that the laws were written in such a way that almost no one can comply.
“My feeling at this point is that our campaign finance laws need reform because right now everyone is violating them. They may not even realize it. I’m hoping some of my complaints help start that process of reform,” said Morgan.
In his attempts to prove that nearly everyone was in violation with PDC, Morgan detected several violations, some were apparently legitimate mistakes, while others were otherwise questionable. After further research, he began filing multiple complaints with Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s office.
Ferguson agreed with several of Morgan’s complaints and is prosecuting multiple offenders, including Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp who must pay $6,470 in an agreement he reached with the AG’s Office.
However, Morgan ran across something even more egregious within the Spokane County Democrat Central Committee (SCDCC). In a 55-page complaint, Morgan outlines an incredible amount of violations.
Some of the allegations include:
- Elected Chair and paid Executive Director and acting Treasurer Jim CastroLang Falsified C4 expenditure reports to hide SCDCC payments of at least $17,260.36 to himself from the Public Disclosure Commission.
- Failure to accurately report large donations, attempt to hide large donations, attempt to disguise and hide overlimit donations from PDC, and failure to return overlimit donations
- Failure to register political committee, illegally “borrowing” funds from unregistered political committee, failure to report $7000 of debt
- Knowingly Filed with willful malice at least 208 forged documents with the Public Disclosure Commission
Even easier to understand, the complaint includes a timeline:
Spokane County Democratic Central Committee Background Timeline
January, 2013 – Jim CastroLang first elected Chair
January, 2015 – Jim CastroLang re-elected Chair
September, 2015 – Jim CastroLang while still remaining Committee Chair, becomes paid Executive Director at $2000 per month (signed contract)
January 2016 – All C3s and C4s cease to be filed. Committee stops submitting documents to PDC
July 31, 2016 – Treasurer Justin Galloway officially resigns from Committee
August 22, 2016 – CastroLang, acting as Chair, secret Treasurer, and paid Executive Director begins filing financial documents to PDC under Galloway’s name
January 2017 – New Chair and Treasurer elected, CastroLang continues as paid Executive Director
February 2017 – C1 revised to show CastroLang as “Vice Treasurer”
“The violations committed by the Spokane County Democrats really require some soul searching. It doesn’t look like anyone has been paying attention to their finances there. It really appears that they were purposely trying to deceive the Public Disclosure Commission and they took willful and malicious steps to violate the law.” said Morgan.
“In fact, if you read their minutes from the Spokane County Democrats you can see they seemed to be mocking the PDC like they got away with a bunch of violations and didn’t get caught.”
Morgan tells us that “So far, this is the worst case of campaign finance law abuse I’ve found in Washington State.”
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is expected to sue the committee. I am told that this could reach as far as a Class ‘C’ felony.
When we asked Morgan if he had a special interest in Spokane Democrats or Jim CastroLang, he said, “I don’t know this Jim CastroLang, but he appears to be a bad actor, and he clearly tried to cover up the money he was taking from the Spokane Democrats. If I was a donor to that local party committee, I would be concerned.”
Next week, the Spokane Democrats will be celebrating their 2017 Thomas S. Foley Legacy Dinner in which they have AG Ferguson scheduled as a guest speaker. (This could get awkward.)
These complaints are public records and should be listed on the PDC Enforcement page by sometime next week.