Longview Democrat Teresa Purcell will pay $14,395 to settle a complaint about campaign finance reporting failures stemming from her 2016 run for a state House seat, Purcell and the state Attorney General’s Office announced Friday.
The AG’s office alleged that Purcell failed to properly report debts, contributions and expenditures and also failed to report employer and occupation information for contributors giving more than $100.
Purcell admitted to the violations and agrees the judgment “constitutes a fair, reasonable, and complete resolution of those violations,” according to the AG’s office press release.
A Thurston County Superior Court judge ordered Purcell and her campaign to pay $18,395 in penalties, with $8,000 suspended for four years contingent on no violations in that period, as well as $4,000 in costs and fees.
“The parties ... acknowledge that my campaign and I did not intend to violate any laws,” Purcell said in a written statement.
“I take full reponsibility for mistakes made in the campaign reporting. I have spent decades working in campaigns, and until now never truly appreciated the commitment and diligence of those who serve as campaign treasurers — nor the complexity of the law,” said Purcell, a public relations consultant. “I know that my volunteer treasurer was dedicated to doing a good job. This is a very expensive lesson.”
Complaints against her campaign were filed by Tenino, Wash., conservative watchdog Glen Morgan, most recently in April. He has filed complaints against dozens of candidates, all of them Democrats.
His original complaint against Purcell, filed last fall, accused her of 158 violations. They were minor, such as failing to list occupations and employers of campaign donors, filing a form four days late, and incorrectly stating when her term would begin if elected.
While she has worked over the past 18 months to settle the claims against her campaign, Purcell said, Morgan (she did not name him in her statement) “has filed over 400 complaints — primarily against candidates and organizations that support Democrats,” Purcell said.
“It is my sincere hope that my experience does not have a chilling effect on others choosing to run for office or participating in the political process. I continue to be committed to service and will do all I can to help build and nurture a democracy, a government, and economy that works for all of us.”
Purcell narrowly lost the 2016 19th District House race to Aberdeen Republican Jim Walsh, who became the first Republican elected to a house seat from the Lower Columbia area in decades.
Purcell’s nephew, Noah Purcell, is a solicitor general for the AG’s office, but he had “absolutely” nothing to do with her campaign-finance case, she said.