The Washington Attorney General’s Office has filed a complaint against the Freedom Foundation, alleging campaign-disclosure violations regarding its opposition to Initiative 1501.
OLYMPIA — The Washington state Attorney General’s Office has filed a complaint against the Freedom Foundation, alleging campaign-disclosure violations regarding its opposition to Initiative 1501.
The complaint comes after a review by the state Public Disclosure Commission found that the Freedom Foundation failed to properly disclose some staff expenses expressing the conservative organization’s opposition to I-1501.
Freedom Foundation staff were paid their regular salary while preparing and presenting a statement opposing I-1501 for the state voter’s guide, according to the complaint.
Staff also appeared at The Seattle Times editorial board to speak against the initiative, and the organization also filed some independent expenditure reports late, the complaint says.
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The complaint — filed by the campaign promoting the initiative — marks yet another round in an ongoing battle between unions and the Freedom Foundation.
I-1501 was conceived by the Service Employees International Union as part of an ongoing feud with the Freedom Foundation over mandatory union fees.
If approved by voters in November, the initiative would keep the Freedom Foundation and others from getting information through public records law on union caregivers and child-care providers. Citing a U.S. 2014 Supreme Court ruling, the organization has been contacting union members and telling them they can stop paying dues.
In a statement, Greg Overstreet of the Freedom Foundation blasted the complaint, saying the Attorney General’s Office is applying a new standard for political speech.
“The Freedom Foundation will fight this all the way to the United States Supreme Court,” said Overstreet, the organization’s managing attorney.
Overstreet added that the “lawsuit is over a pittance” and the “contributions allegedly not reported here is under $2,000.”