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State Sen. Keiser to Attorney General: Americans for Prosperity WA "Willfully Ignored Our State Laws."

By Chris Kissel November 9, 2010

State Sen. Karen Keiser (D-33) sent a letter to state attorney general Rob McKenna yesterday asking McKenna to pursue legal action against Americans for Prosperity WA, a committee that helped several Republican candidates in state races but never registered with the Public Disclosure Commission, as required by law. (The Sierra Club filed a complaint with the PDC earlier this year, and the PDC is requesting financial documents from Americans for Prosperity to determine whether they should have to make their donors public).

Americans for Prosperity WA is the local chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a national Tea Party front group for anonymous corporate campaign donations. The local chapter sent out mailers in several state races during the runup to the election.

"[AFPW's] behavior strikes at the very foundation of our state's election laws and practices," Keiser writes in the letter (page one; page two), "If we are truly to enforce the laws of the citizens of Washington, to ensure the transparency of our elections campaign process, we must pursue all violations vigorously." The Attorney General filed a suit on Oct. 29 against Democratic consultants Moxie Media for multiple campaign disclosure violations.

The group "willfully ignored our state laws," Keiser adds.

Even if the AG's office gets involved, the Public Disclosure Commission's AFPWA investigation isn't likely to change too much—all the AG can really do at this point is refer the case back to the PDC with additional legal advice. "If someone asks the Attorney General to get involved in a case and then they refer it to us, [the Attorney General's office] tends to be more hands-on as we investigate the allegations," PDC Executive Director Doug Ellis says.

If the PDC decides that Americans for Prosperity egregiously violated Washington State campaign law, they'll turn the case back over to the Attorney General's office, which can then pursue a lawsuit against the group in county superior court (as they have decided to do in the Moxie Media case).
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