Democrat Party Progressives Accused of using government assets in political campaign advertising.

What seems to be government involvement in political campaign issues for the Democratic Party and progressive causes  was highlighted Friday when a PDC complaint was filed against the Vargas Campaign for misusing the Public Facilities of the City of Bellingham Fire Department in campaign literature.  It was filed Friday Sep 14th by Mark Nelson of Whatcom County.

Mark Nelson Last served on County Council Redistricting Commission

Mark Nelson who filed the complaint said: “He was astounded and surprised that anyone running for office wouldn’t know and understand the law concerning use of public facilities to further their election campaigns; and at the very least know the ethical standards involved in running a campaign.” “It really doesn’t matter to me which party is involved this is clearly a violation of the spirit and letter of the Public Disclosure laws in the State of Washington.”

The Fourth Corner sources have revealed the crux of the issues… from the complaint:

“On or about September 6, 2018, Bellingham City Councilmember and 42nd  District State Senate candidate Pinky Vargas posted a photo onto Facebook which clearly violates RCW 42.52.180, which states, in part, No state officer or state employee may use or authorize the use of facilities of an agency, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of assisting a campaign for election of a person to an office or for the promotion of or opposition to a ballot proposition.””

Facebook Post by Vargas Campaign aleged to be a campaign violation

“As a City Councilmember, Ms Vargas clearly knows the law and consciously decided to disregard ethical considerations in an effort to sway voters in the State Senate elections. The union members also knew they were in violation, as complaints against such behavior have been filed by citizens on numerous occasions in the past.”

Full Text of complaint and pictures here.

A discussion also appears on the Whatcom Republicans Facebook Page and included such comments as “They were(the union members in the photo) on a public sidewalk.” and also that the helmets being held “were not City of Bellingham Issued”.

Other campaigns have and plan to use public facilities for some of their activities

Ericksen Campaign

but the Ericksen Campaign states:” We pay rent, like anyone else, to use the facilities and do not make campaign statements using the photos of those public facilities or public employees.”


Fourth Corner Opinion:

Endorsements are important to campaigns and tell voters who likes particular candidates.  In this example the Bellingham City Firefighters have taken action for a particular candidate.  Why not take an endorsement picture in front of their Union headquarters and avoid the obvious look and feel of unethical behavior by trying to create the impression that the candidate is endorsed by the City of Bellingham.  You Decide.

NOTE: I am told the complaint may not appear on the PDC site until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.