Democrat Tim Probst lost a tight race for state Senate in 2012, by just 76 votes to incumbent Sen. Don Benton. The former state legislator was so anxious to run again that he formed a campaign committee for the 2016 election for the same Senate seat almost immediately, way back in January, 2013, and reported his first contribution to the new campaign in February, 2013.
He was anxious to run again, but apparently Probst wasn’t so anxious to follow the rules required of all candidates for public office in Washington and disclose his sources of income. Despite being a candidate for over three years, Probst did not file his F1 financial disclosure form with the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) as required by law, until it became a campaign issue this year.
Probst’s treasurer tried to dismiss the rule-breaking as an “oversight.” The question for the former state representative is, at what point is failure to follow the rules an oversight – within the first year – between years one and two – or years two and three? Now, when he was over three years late with following the law, Probst finally filed a report – on May 11.
Big government salary
What was Probst trying to conceal? Maybe it was his fat taxpayer-funded salary. Despite losing in 2012 and leaving the state House, Probst stayed on the public dime. State Democrats landed him a job making a none-too-shabby six-figure salary in the state Employment Security Department.
Could it be Probst thought his fat government salary undercut his champion-of-the-people schtick? Whatever the reason, Probst only disclosed his income after the PDC was informed that Probst was ducking disclosure.
Over-limit campaign donations from unions
In addition to hiding his personal income, Probst has found a novel way to boost his campaign income: accept more than is legally allowed from his union cronies.
Probst accepted over-limit donations from a fire fighters union (IAFF Local 452) and an electricians union (SWE PAC 48), to the tune of $1,800 and $900 respectively. Once again, Probst didn’t correct the problem – and return the illegal contributions – until it was pointed out to the PDC.
Maybe he thought no one would notice. Anyone who has used the PDC’s ORCA compliance software, however, knows that the program makes it very obvious when a contributor is over their limit. What is Probst’s excuse for “overlooking” that too?
Maybe Tim Probst isn’t trying to deceive voters, maybe all these screw-ups are just clumsy oversights. Of course, that doesn’t exactly inspire much confidence that you’d want him as a state Senator, does it?