Posts tagged ‘Public Disclosure Commission’

December 15, 2008

PDC Temporarily Tables Blogger Lobbying Efforts

by lewwaters

washington-sealAs previously discussed at Bloggers, Are We Lobbyists, Washington State Bloggers were facing being labeled as lobbyists by the Public Disclosure Commission.

Mike Reitz, of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation attended the latest hearing of the PDC and has emailed me that this effort has been shelved for the time being.

As Mike states on his own site linked above, two commissioners desired more time to consider the guidelines proposed while two others present were ready to adopt them. A fifth commissioner was not present.

A December 5 Olympian article, PDC waits on blog ruling, delves a little deeper into the intent of the proposed guidelines. From that article we read,

“PDC staff lawyer Nancy Krier said the agency has taken a “follow-the-money” approach that applies a standard lobbying requirement — which allows a person or group to avoid registering or reporting as a lobbyist if an individual spends no more than four days in three consecutive months lobbying and does not spent more than $25.

The limit for grassroots lobbying is that organizations or individuals do not spend more than $500 in a month or $1,000 in three consecutive months.

But, Krier said low-cost Internet organizing changes the way lobbying is done and tracked. “In the new era, there is no money to follow,” Krier said.”

While most of us small-time bloggers spend little money on blogging, we do spend much more than 4 days in a 3-month period expressing our opinions and writing in support of favored candidates or measures. Most of us earn absolutely nothing for our efforts. We do it out of principle and as I have stated before, to bypass printed media that may or may not publish our letters to the editors and then, have them subjected to editing, sometimes changing the point of why we wrote.

I see this as nothing more than exercising our First Amendment right of Free Speech and since we are not paid, I see no reason the thought of regulating us is even thought of.

Well, no logical reason, anyway.

With all the left’s efforts at reinstitution of the Fairness Doctrine, actually a thinly veiled effort at stifling free speech of the right, it appears that bloggers could fall under such regulation as well in the future.

What, if any actual affect it would hold for small-time blogs, I’d just as soon not find out. I enjoy the freedom of expressing my thoughts in support or in opposition of candidates and measures. I support those blogs from the left who post in opposition to me as their expression of free speech.

So long as our printed and broadcast media continue to cover news in the slanted way they currently do, we bloggers supply the balance they refuse to.

EFF Podcast discussion on blogger lobbying.

The PDC is interested in receiving public comments on this. You can email comments to Lori Anderson at landerson@pdc.wa.gov

November 13, 2008

Bloggers, Are We Lobbyists?

by lewwaters

washington-sealPerhaps you think that is a silly question, but currently, the Public Disclosure Commission in Washington State is conducting hearings to determine if we should be required to register and file records as lobbyists in the state of Washington.

PDC Document (pdf file)

The first hearing was held November 12, 2008. Mike Reitz, of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation has been covering this here and here.

I know that we who blog on political matters rarely agree and quite often are at extreme odds with each other, but do you think we are lobbyists?

A lobbyist is a person or group who tries to influence public officials, usually for specific groups or legislation who would gain from passing certain pieces of legislation. We seem to have a love/hate relationship with lobbyists, depending on just what official they are trying to influence on what specific piece of legislation.

While we may express our views in support of or opposition to candidates or legislation to the public who chooses to read our blogs, I do not see this as lobbying. I see it as expressing our views as we are entitled to under the First Amendment of our Constitution.

In a way, we supply Op-Eds and Letters to the Editors that escape editing by the local paper or that never get published. Often, we express a view either counter to what has been published or in support. Occasionally we speak out on a subject that should have been published, but wasn’t.

Look upon it as an Internet Soap Box in the park, but in the comfort of our homes.

Of course, we visit each other’s blogs and sometimes, engage each other, supplying lurkers with a reasoned argument, hopefully, that they will not see anywhere else. Sadly, those discussions all too often break down in ad hominem, but we do supply legitimate citizen debate and discussion without censorship, other than what we bloggers do not allow on our sites.

Should this effort by the Public Disclosure Commission succeed, I see this as a direct infringement on not only my free speech, but yours as well. I disagree with the Liberals all too often, but do not advocate their being silenced.

Bloggers, be you Liberal, Moderate or Conservative, we need to stand together on this one and protect our free speech on the Internet. Government should not be allowed to regulate us or silence us by forcing us to register as lobbyists.

Whatever your political views are, we need to flood Olympia with phone calls, letters and emails expressing our disagreement with this effort. It may very well affect all of us, should they pass it.

They meet again on December 4 to discuss this further. Join me in letting them know we will not stand for our free speech to be denied!

October 30, 2008

SRCC Files Complaint Against SDCC For Illegal Contributions to Carrier Campaign

by lewwaters

In a release today, Brent Ludeman, Executive Director of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee announced that he has filed a complaint with the Public Disclosure Commission against the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee alleging they both “violated their aggregate contribution limit” and “making contributions in excess of the 21-day $5000 limit” to David Carrier, running to unseat Republican Don Benton in the 17th Legislative District race. (copy of email received below post)

Stating Democrats had a contribution limit of $50,633.60, the complaint states “Senate Democrats have given directly or made in-kind contributions of more than $90,605 to Carrier’s campaign.”

This is not the same $1,000 the Carrier campaign was required to return to the 49th Legislative District Democrats earlier, which Carrier explained away as his “volunteer Treasurer accepted the contribution …. without knowing this type of contribution was prohibited.”

This is a new complaint filed over the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee contributing money to the Carrier Campaign in the sum of $50,000 “after the 21-day $5000 limit had passed.”

Ludeman also alleges in the complaint that of the $50,000 contributed, “$46,605 were made as in-kind contributions that cannot simply be returned.”

A file listing these contributions has been made available here.

Carrier built his campaign around a pledge of not accepting Special Interest and PAC contributions. When it was pointed out that he had accepted such contributions, Carrier attempted to explain and justify them here. (see comments)

The troubling aspect of David Carrier’s candidacy is that his words just do not add up. Beyond the promise of not accepting special interest and PAC money, he states on his web site, “Taxes represent an investment in our future and our children’s future. They are the dues that we pay for education, public services, and infrastructure.”

Additionally he claims he will not vote to implement an income tax, yet he also claims to advocate a “progressive tax.” That means the more you earn, the higher percentage you pay.

In spite of Clark County voters rejecting the idea of Light Rail from Portland into downtown by a 2 to 1 margin, Carrier aggress with the CRC on adding Light Rail to a new bridge to replace the aging I-5 bridge. He justifies this by relying on a questionable poll that only included 104 Clark County residents.

Of late he has jumped on the bash Bush bandwagon citing, “For the past 8 years we’ve been told that the economy is fine, that free markets will take care of themselves, that we can’t afford to do anything to help working people.”

He totally neglects that our economy went south after his party gained power in both the House of Representatives and Senate and began imposing minimum wage increases, which led to increased unemployment nationwide.

Carrier claims to be an “economist,” but makes no mention of his parties complicity in the economic downturn due to requiring risky home loans be made to those lower income people who could not afford to repay them, which Congressional Democrats blocked all efforts by both Republicans and President Bush to get regulations passed to prevent the economic meltdown we are now in.

Can we afford to send someone to Olympia that ignores his party’s share of the blame for the hardships we now face?

Carrier tells us, “In general I do not support tax increases, and do not support an income tax in the state of Washington.” Yet, from his own Priorities page we see,

“This year the City of Vancouver is facing a structural deficit of over $6 million. Since 2001, city departments excluding police and fire have absorbed a combined $14 million in cuts. As reported in the Columbian, the factors contributing to Vancouver’s budget shortfall:

An estimated $40 million has been lost in the past 7 years as a result of two voter initiatives, one capping property tax increases, the other lowering car tabs to $30 each.

An estimated $67 million has been lost in 10 years as the city phased out the local business and occupation tax.

Vancouver loses an estimated $10 million a year in sales tax revenue as shoppers travel to sales-tax-free Oregon.”

He also states on the same page, “Taxpayers have a right to vote on tax increases. They should also vote on tax cuts, after being fully informed of the consequences for public safety and education. Politicians should be required to identify which government services will be eliminated…”

Am I the only one to notice that the only areas Democrats ever seem able to cut spending on is in needed community services? Does he not see that eliminating the Light Rail proposal would save billions? Does he not see that eliminating entitlements to Illegal Aliens would also save citizens massive dollars? As we all know, government spending is bloated and out of control, but Carrier can only recommend cutting needed services should tax revenues not meet the states expectations.

Don Benton has served us faithfully and voted to keep our taxes at a fair level, which places more of our hard earned money in our own pockets to spend as we see fit.

Carrier makes a lot of smoke about helping us, but when looking at his claims objectively, will end up costing us a lot of money in taxes.

Add this his violating his own oath in accepting Special Interest and PAC money and now Illegal contributions and I see someone we just cannot afford in Olympia. Since his party gained power in Washington 4 years ago, our annual budget surplus has disappeared and been replaced by a projected multi-billion dollar budget shortfall.

To be fair, I do not believe Carrier accepted any of the contributions knowing they were illegal. A novice politician, I feel he is just naïve and as such, will show up in Olympia green as can be and easily manipulated by seasoned politicians who desire our tax dollars be spent first in King County, where their votes come from.

In times like this we need experience and someone with a record of fighting to keep our taxes down and reasonable. We need someone who fights against wasteful projects that will bankrupt us. We need someone who really does represent us.

Clark County needs Don Benton back in office as State Senator for the 17th legislative District.

Copy of email announcing GOP complaint:

From: Brent Ludeman [mailto:xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxx]
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2008 1:38 PM
To: kyoung@pdc.wa.gov
Subject: Complaint

Kurt,

I would like to file a complaint against the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee for violating both their aggregate contribution limit and for making contributions in excess of the 21-day $5000 limit to David Carrier in the 17th Legislative District.

Despite a contribution limit of $50,633.60, the Senate Democrats have given directly or made in-kind contributions of more than $90,605 to Carrier’s campaign. I have attached an excel file with the illegal contributions highlighted.

Additionally, four of the contributions, totaling $50,605, were made after the 21-day $5000 limit. Of those contributions, $46,605 were made as in-kind contributions that cannot simply be returned. These illegal contributions have been used to further Carrier’s campaign in a way that will have irrevocable harm.

It is clear that these illegal contributions will impact the election results. The damage is done. Given the serious nature of this violation, I request an immediate investigation and for the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee and the David Carrier for Senate campaign to be penalized to the maximum extent of the law for these multiple violations.

Regards,

Brent Ludeman

Brent Ludeman
Executive Director
Senate Republican Campaign Committee
Cell: 206.XXX XXX