All Politics is Local

Boldt hit with PDC violation; not allowed to manage future campaign finances

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has fined Clark County Council Chair Marc Boldt $2,500 and required him to hire a professional treasurer to manage any future political campaigns.

Responding to a complaint filed by the former chair of the county

While not in elected office, County Council Chair Marc Boldt drove a truck for a living.

While not in elected office, County Council Chair Marc Boldt drove a truck for a living.

GOP, the PDC found Boldt failed to file required financial reports and didn’t properly maintain campaign records during his 2015 run for his current position.

The commission suspended $1,500 of the penalty on the conditions that Boldt pay $1,000 and not commit the same violations for four years. The PDC is also barring Boldt from doing the books on his future campaigns or relying on a family member to do them. Instead, he must hire an experienced treasurer to manage his campaign finances.

According to PDC records, Boldt was working as a truck driver in 2015. State law allows candidates to use campaign funds to make up for lost wages when they take time off from work to support their candidacy. But the PDC found that Boldt didn’t properly file his paperwork to reimburse himself with
campaign funds. Boldt said there were problems with his paperwork, including minor errors like incorrect dates.

“I was working and I didn’t know how to do it, but you’re supposed to report your lost income,” he said. “I kept track of dates and didn’t put the paperwork in.”

“I spent most of my time trying to keep track of the money going in, and I just didn’t keep enough energy on where it came out,” said Boldt. “And I know now to do a lot better job.”

Boldt, who had 18 years of elected service as a state legislator and county commissioner before running for chair, said he was used to filling out PDC forms on a typewriter and was unaccustomed to the digital format.

Here’s the backstory of what happened: In October of 2015, Kenny Smith, then the chair of the county GOP (who didn’t respond to a request for comment), filed a PDC complaint alleging that Boldt failed to properly report his contributions and expenditures as part of his run for county chair.

In 2012, the local GOP sanctioned Boldt, then a Republican county commissioner, for taking actions not in line with the party. The GOP backed the more conservative David Madore’s bid for his seat, and Madore went on to defeat

Boldt. In 2015, Boldt ran as “nonpartisan” and was elected county council chair. (Madore finished third in the primary, and didn’t advance to the general election.)

The PDC considered the issue in January and published its decision Feb. 17. I would have written about this sooner but I guess this isn’t a topic people cared to gossip about (at least not with reporters), and I hadn’t made it a habit to visit its enforcement website (although I have now made it part of my daily routine).

I actually found this one while I was looking for yet another complaint.

In September of last year, Kelly Hinton, Boldt’s one-time legislative assistant and brother-in-law, filed a complaint against his old boss regarding his 2012 campaign for county commissioner, the race he lost to Madore. The complaint alleged that Boldt failed to disclose a $5,000 loan Boldt made to his
campaign.

“In 2012, we filed campaign contributions that got filed in as a loan instead of a contribution and tried to take it out to balance the books,” said Boldt. “It looked like we were taking the loan and paying ourselves but it was just trying to balance the books.”

Hinton, who is often very critical of his brother-in-law, doesn’t appear to be buying it. I reached out to him via email. I didn’t hear back, but this is what he wrote in his complaint to the PDC:

“This was not a ‘mistake.’ in 2012, Boldt was in his 18th year of elective politics and had been in at least 7 campaigns with PDC reporting requirements. Clearly, he knew exactly what he was doing.”

I figured the PDC would consider the complaint at its March 23 meeting and I could write an article on the outcome that would cover the earlier enforcement action against Boldt.

But it appears the PDC isn’t taking up Hinton’s complaint at its next meeting, and I didn’t want to wait to get the PDC’s action regarding the 2015 campaign on record. So here you have for the record that Boldt, head of the county’s legislative body, isn’t allowed to manage the finances of his future campaigns and had to pay a fine for basically being bad at paperwork.

According to the PDC’s website, there have been four complaints brought against Boldt in the last two years. So far, only one has resulted in a penalty. When asked about all the complaints Boldt said, “You know, unfortunately both sides are using the PDC for kind of a battling ground.”

Comments