Washington State Slaps SEIU Affiliate With Lawsuit For Failing To Disclose Millions In Political Contributions

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jul 15, 2017 8:00 AM
Washington State Slaps SEIU Affiliate With Lawsuit For Failing To Disclose Millions In Political Contributions

Well, it looks like a local Washington State SEIU affiliate is facing a lawsuit from the attorney general's office for failing to disclose almost $5 million in political contributions. The action was the result of a complaint filed by the Freedom Foundation, a conservative think tank based in Olympia. This would mark the seventh time the Foundation had caught labor unions violating campaign finance laws:

Washington’s Attorney General’s Office has filed a major campaign finance lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union.

The lawsuit announced late Tuesday accuses SEIU’s State Council of making more than $5 million in unreported campaign contributions.

That includes more than $2 million in contributions in the 2016 election cycle.

In a press release, the Freedom Foundation did their victory lap:

“When you do the wrong thing once, maybe twice, you can claim it was an honest mistake,” said Freedom Foundation Labor Policy Director Max Nelsen. “But seven times? This is a serial behavior, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The state’s labor leaders have shown a pattern of contempt for its public disclosure laws and these offenses need to be looked at in that context, not as isolated incidents.”

Washington’s campaign finance laws require entities whose primary purpose is to engage in electoral political activity to register with the PDC as a political committee and report all of the contributions they receive and expenditures they make.

 While SEIU has six locals operating in Washington State—Locals 6, 49, 925, 775, 1199 and 1948—SEIU Council 14 is the union’s statewide affiliate. Under SEIU bylaws, each local pays a certain amount of the dues they collect from members to Council 14, which describes its mission as “(coordinating) the joint political and legislative work of SEIU Locals in Washington state.”

[…]

The AGO’s suit alleges Council 14 operated as a political committee in 2014 and 2016 — both election years — and failed to report at least $4 million in receipts and nearly $4.7 million in expenditures.


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