Washington House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, has agreed to pay about $1,700 in fines related to violations of state campaign-finance- disclosure law.
OLYMPIA — State House Speaker Frank Chopp, D-Seattle, has agreed to pay about $1,700 in fines, plus attorneys fees and other costs, related to violations of Washington’s campaign-disclosure law.
The agreement, announced this week, stems from a complaint filed in December accusing Chopp — who as speaker leads the Democrat-controlled House — of a variety of violations.
A review by the state Attorney General’s Office found that in two instances, Chopp’s campaign was late in filing campaign-finance disclosures. In 2016, Chopp’s campaign was late by two weeks in reporting $5,150 in donations. In 2015, the campaign reported $6,722 four weeks later than it should have, the AG’s office said in a statement.
In a third instance, the speaker’s campaign was eight days late in returning an overpayment. The review also found that some campaign and travel debt wasn’t disclosed during last year’s campaign in a timely manner.
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Under the agreement, Chopp will pay a $1,740 fine, with an equal amount suspended for four years as long as he doesn’t have any more violations within that time. The speaker will also pay about $4,730 in attorney fees and other costs.
In a regularly scheduled news conference this week, Chopp acknowledged that “it’s pretty obvious I was late on a couple of items.” But, he added later, “it was really, in the grand scheme of things, no big deal.”
The action against Chopp comes as complaints by citizens to investigate alleged campaign violations have become more common, with allegations flying back and forth over reporting issues. The most notable instances have occurred between labor unions and the conservative Freedom Foundation.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a fellow Democrat, was recused from being involved in the matter, his office said in the statement.