With general election voting set to close less than a week from now, the 45th Legislative District race for state senator continues to heat up.
Yesterday afternoon, the Reporter received a pair of press releases regarding incumbent Andy Hill (R) and challenger Matt Isenhower (D).
In one, senatedemocrats.org reiterates a widely reported situation about how Hill’s campaign was criticized for accepting illegal contributions from the Crossfire Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promotion of youth soccer; political activity by this class of nonprofit is prohibited. The Hill campaign returned the illegal contributions.
The release adds that Hill’s campaign had failed to report an in-kind contribution to the Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) of polling worth $6,600 from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee. The Senate Republican Campaign Committee reported the contribution on its end on April 11, but the Hill campaign didn’t report having received it — a violation of PDC law.
The release also notes that the Hill campaign had accepted funds from the King County Republican Party and 45th Legislative District Republican Party thousands of dollars in excess of the combined limit for county and local party organizations.
Jess Honcoop, campaign manager for HillYes, sent the Reporter this email:”The amended C4 for April has already been filed and we cut a refund check to the King County Republican Party a few days ago. There was a bookkeeping issue about the amount of an in-kind contribution that was not calculated into the amount donated by the County Party and we have identified the issue and have resolved it.”
Today, Lori Anderson of the PDC noted: “We received a complaint today from the Senate Democratic Campaign Committee alleging the overlimit contributions from the local party committees. We will not be able to look into the complaint until after the election. Yesterday, Senator Hill amended his April report to include the $6,600 in-kind contribution of polling.”
“Voters created the Public Disclosure Commission by initiative for a reason — we deserve to know what campaigns are spending, who they’re raising it from and to have reasonable limits for what a single campaign can raise from a single source,” said Adam Bartz, executive director of the Washington Senate Democratic Campaign, in the release.
The Senate Republican Campaign Committee’s press release notes how Working America is engaged in illegal campaign activity in the 45th Legislative District, and that the group has spent tens of thousands of dollars or more against Hill and in support of Isenhower since August without reporting the activity to the PDC. A Working America spokesperson said the national nonprofit labor organization has filed its expenditures with the PDC.
“The public has a right to know about campaign activity and who is influencing elections,” said Brent Ludeman, executive director of the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.
Ludeman adds that the negative fliers fail to identify the candidates’ party affiliation and say “Matt Isenhower for State Senate.”
Isenhower sent the Reporter the following email today: “There’s a difference between the activities of independent groups, like Working America, and contributions accepted directly by campaigns. I am proud that my campaign has been meticulous about following the letter of the law, compared to my opponent’s campaign that has twice had to return illegal contributions totaling nearly $10,000, only after these actions were exposed in the media.”
Isenhower continued: “I cannot comment directly on Working America, since their work is completely independent of my campaign, but like the independent groups supporting my opponent, I would expect all committees to operate with respect to campaign finance and disclosure laws.”
In the August primary, Hill received 53.79 percent of the votes while Isenhower received 46.21 percent of the votes.