The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has rejected a complaint filed by Sammamish City Council Member Tom Odell with the State Public Disclosure Commission against Harry Shedd and Citizens for Sammamish (CFS).
Odell filed the complaint under his own name and not as a City Council Member when campaign “yard” signs and newspaper advertisements began appearing in the City supporting an affirmative vote for Initiative and Referendum (I&R) for Sammamish voters.
Odell vehemently opposed adoption of the I&R and was the lone vote against even putting the issue to voters in an Advisory Ballot in the April 28 election.
Odell complained to the PDC that Shedd or CFS failed to file financial disclosures with the PDC.
Odell’s complaint was part of a secret campaign by the City, led by Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay, to undermine the vote, public meetings by CFS and sow confusion among voters.
Odell filed the complaint with the knowledge of Huckabay and Mayor Tom Vance, who also opposed to the I&R, emails revealed. The emails were produced under a Public Records Request (PRR) filed with the City.
Huckabay claimed the City Attorney opined that a PDC filing by CFS was necessary. But in another email, also produced by Huckabay under the PRR, proved her assertion to be false; the City Attorney wrote that he was issuing no opinion, as the City should remain neutral.
Huckabay and Vance were emailed by Odell complaining about the PDC’s response to his initial inquiry April 1 whether CFS and Shedd should file. The PDC initially responded that Odell had to file a formal complaint, and Odell expressed his frustration to Huckabay and Odell about the required procedure.
Shedd initially contacted the PDC in January, before he proceeded with signs and advertisements, to ask about procedures and filing requirements. At that time, Shedd’s plan was to have petitions signed in the City to present to the Council asking for adoption of an ordinance granting the power of I&R. The PDC advised him that no filings were necessary.
In February, the Council adopted an ordinance authorizing an Advisory Vote in the April 28 election. Unbeknownst to Shedd, this meant that Shedd’s campaign funding did require filings with the PDC.
After Odell’s initial inquiry, the PDC contacted Shedd and advised him that filings were now required. Odell’s formal complaint was filed April 15, but Shedd filed all required paperwork eight days earlier.
As a result, the PDC wrote Odell that Shedd and CFS “substantially complied” with all requirements, and the case was closed.