There have been new developments regarding Shift’s call for Spokane television stations to cease running political ads that violate state public disclosure laws. The original ads were pulled by Spokane stations today, and apparently new ads had to be produced.
As we reported before, the liberal political committee Citizens for Liberty and Labor have been running negative attack ads against Nadine Woodward in the race for Spokane Mayor. This $130,000+ effort is financed by wealthy government employee unions (Firefighters, SEIU, UFCW, WEA, and others) and liberal Seattle political action committees (FUSE PAC, Washington Conservation Voters PAC, and Washington for All PAC).
The ads very clearly failed to follow new Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) rules regarding the disclosure of who paid for the ads. The ads only list the top five contributors to Citizens for Liberty and Labor (Spokane Firefighters Union PAC, SEIU Union WA State Council PAC, FUSE Votes, UFCW Local 1439, and WA Conservation Voters Action Fund).
Yet, the state now requires that if a PAC (political committee) is listed as a contributor, then the top three contributors to each PAC must also be listed on the ad. The disclosure must continue to “scroll down” the top three contributors of any PAC listed until they reach individuals on all “branches.”
(We should note here that the bill to extend the disclosure requirement was pushed through the legislature by Spokane Democrat Senator Andy Billig.)
It is due to ignoring this PDC requirement that Shift and others called for Spokane stations to pull Citizens for Liberty and Labor’s ads. Not only did Shift make this request in an article published last Friday, but we also followed up with emails on Monday.
Tuesday morning, we received word from one of Spokane’s stations (KREM) that they had notified Citizens for Liberty and Labor that its ads were not compliant with state law and that they needed to re-produce the ad with proper disclosure information.
Rightfully sensing that other stations would also pull the spots, Citizens for Liberty and Labor were forced back into the studio to re-produce the ads and redistribute it to Spokane stations.
Our staff has not seen the newly produced ads. There are concerns that the disclosure information does not go down far enough. But we will report on that once we have viewed the spot.
On another related front: Rumors are circulating in the Spokane media that the failure to report approximately $70,000 by the Spokane Firefighters is now being blamed on “an accounting error.” The Firefighters claim the money has been in their account since last year, they simply failed to report this large sum to the Pubic Disclosure Commission. This money has been the largest donation made to the Citizens for Liberty and Labor campaign effort. Shift will continue to stay on top of this story as well.