A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by state Attorney General Bob Ferguson against the conservative Freedom Foundation. The suit had claimed the group violated campaign-finance laws.
Ferguson’s office had alleged the foundation failed to properly disclose independent expenditures in support of anti-union ballot measures in the towns of Sequim, Chelan and Shelton.
Citizen activists in the towns unsuccessfully sued over public officials’ refusals to move ahead with the ballot measures, which had been drafted by the foundation.
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The state’s lawsuit, prompted by union complaints, claimed the Freedom Foundation didn’t properly report what the group estimated was about $14,000 worth of legal representation for the activists.
The dismissal was a victory for the conservative foundation in its ongoing war with state labor unions.
In a news release, Freedom Foundation leaders said the judge’s ruling came in a pretrial hearing that any reasonably strong case should have been able to get past.
“This is a great day for freedom in Washington state,” said Tom McCabe, the foundation’s CEO, in a news release. “This is a case that should never have been brought in the first place, and it resulted in the AG and the unions suffering a defeat they richly deserved.”
Ferguson spokesman Peter Lavallee said the office was reviewing the judge’s decision and had no immediate comment.
Ferguson, a Democrat seeking a second term this year, has also filed campaign-disclosure lawsuits against some prominent unions in response to complaints from the Freedom Foundation.
Another lawsuit against the Washington State Labor Council is ongoing.