All Politics is Local

Glen Morgan lands another campaign finance complaint against local Dems

A local Democratic Party political committee will have to pay out several thousand dollars after a Thurston County-based conservative activist successfully filed a lawsuit against it alleging campaign finance violations. 

Sound familiar? It should if you’ve been keeping up with a subplot in state politics that centers around political adversaries battling each other through the state’s esoteric electoral complaint system. If you haven’t heard, here’s what’s going on.  

In recent years, Glen Morgan has been tediously filing hundreds of complaints with the Public Disclosure Commission against Democratic politicians and political committees. In his complaints, Morgan has alleged that his targets have repeatedly failed to file reports detailing where they received campaign donations and how they spent them. For some of these complaints, he’s followed up with citizen actions, essentially filing lawsuits on behalf of the state. 

Morgan’s targets have argued that they eventually filed campaign finance reports, they rely on volunteers to comply with the state’s arcane election laws and that he’s weaponizing the complaint process. But Morgan has argued that candidates and political committees need to follow the law and that their failure to file reports on time deprives the public of important information.

Morgan has seen some successes in getting these complaints to stick. His actions have resulted in penalties against politicians such as House Speaker Frank Chopp. Locally, he’s landed penalties against state Rep. Monica Stonier, D-Vancouver, and the 49th Legislative District Democrats. 

Most recently, Morgan won a settlement against the Clark County Democratic Central Committee in Thurston County Superior Court for violating the state’s campaign finance disclosure law. Under the agreement, signed June 28, the committee will pay a $3,000 penalty and another $3,000 in fees and court costs to Morgan’s Vancouver-based attorney, Angus Lee. 

“I hope the Clark County Democrats have learned that it is better to follow Washington State’s campaign finance laws,” said Morgan in a statement through Lee. 

Tanisha Harris, acting chair of the Clark County Democrats, responded with a text noting that the Public Disclosure Commission had made changes (which she didn’t specify) that will result in fewer “unnecessary lawsuits.” 

“The Clark County Democrats are pleased to have reached a financial settlement in regards to a Glen Morgan lawsuit,” she said.