Longview Democrat Teresa Purcell, who ran unsuccessfully for the Legislature last fall, still is fighting campaign finance complaints filed against her by conservative watchdog Glen Morgan and Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
Morgan’s original complaint, filed last fall with the state Public Disclosure Commission, accuses Purcell of 158 violations of campaign reporting requirements. They were minor, such as failing to list occupations and employers of campaign donors, filing a form four days late, incorrectly stating when her term would begin if elected, and not reporting her purchase of a website domain — which cost $5, according to Purcell — as an “in-kind” contribution.
In December, after the PDC and his office investigated, Ferguson announced he would pursue charges and fines against Purcell’s campaign. Dan Jackson, the communications consultant for the Attorney General’s office, said the original complaint against Purcell is ongoing and that the agency is “currently in the discovery phase.”
In May, Morgan filed an additional complaint that accuses Purcell of failing to accurately report campaign expenditures and contributions, according to documents he filed with the PDC. Morgan cited eight different cases alleging that Purcell’s campaign failed to report addresses for donors or where expenses occurred. He also alleges that the campaign failed to turn in expense reports on time, failed to report a $500 loan from her brother for cleaning the campaign office, and didn’t report attorney fees incurred to fight Morgan’s original complaint. Ferguson’s office has not decided yet whether it would pursue these complaints.
Morgan, a 46-year-old Tenino native who formerly worked for the conservative Freedom Foundation, filed 75 different complaints, all against Democrats, in 2016 alone, according to Joseph O’Sullivan of the Seattle Times.
Purcell said Morgan’s actions are a personal attack on her because of her political party and views.
“We’re being as cooperative as we can possibly be, and it feels like an attack from the right,” she said. “I would ask to look at the Republicans and see if they’re doing (campaign finance reports) perfectly, because I guarantee that they haven’t.”
Purcell said her team had corrected all of the missing information that sparked the initial complaints in October, and she was confused as to why the Attorney General still is trying to sue her. She is still fighting the charges.
“It’s really unclear what’s going on,” she said. “We’re trying to get guidance because the law was really unclear on one aspect on one of the claims.”
Purcell, a communications and political consultant, is considering running for Congress against Southwest Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler next year. She said Friday she has not decided yet.
The PDC is currently assessing Morgan’s second charge against Purcell, according to spokeswoman Kim Bradford.