LYNNWOOD, Wash., January 25, 2022 – The Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) staff has opened a formal investigation and held an Initial Case Status Review hearing, January 20, concerning complaints filed against Lynnwood City Councilman Joshua Binda for allegedly using thousands of dollars of campaign funds for personal, non-campaign related, expenses.
Throughout his campaign leading up to his eventual election, Councilman Binda recorded almost $4,848.19 in expenditures towards rent, towing fees, event tickets, jewelry, laptops, airfare, groceries, dental work, haircuts, and office furniture. An additional, over 100 purchases totaling, $4,952.12 was recorded as “Expenses of $50 or less.”
According to Washington State statute, any expenditure of a candidate’s campaign funds that is not directly related to the candidate’s election campaign is a prohibited personal use of campaign funds.
Multiple amendments to various contribution and expense reports were submitted to the PDC throughout the afternoon of Sunday, October 31 by Josh Binda, just after the Lynnwood Times contacted him requesting an inspection of his campaign books. Some were amendments to newly amended reports.
On November 1, 2021, Binda failed to produce the supporting documentation required by Washington state law, during the public inspection of books of account (RCW 42.17A.235.8 and WAC 390-16-043 Section 6) requested by the Lynnwood Times. Binda also failed to meet with the Lynnwood Times within the required 48-hour deadline to publicly inspect financial records (RCW 42.17A.235.6.a and WAC 390-16-043 Section 4).
In October and November of last year, two other complaints were filed against Binda’s suspicious use of campaign funds, one by Thomas J. Brooks and the other by Glen Morgan for alleged violations of RCW 42.17A.235, .240 and .445 by failing to timely and accurately report and describe expenditures on C-4 reports; and by expending campaign funds for activities not directly related to candidacy.
Another complaint was filed by the Lynnwood Times on November 2 for violation of RCW 42.17A.235 & WAC 390-16-043 for failure to timely allow inspection of books of account and include underlying source documents.
An initial complaint was filed by the PDC staff July 13 against Binda for alleged violation of RCW 42.17A.700 for failure to timely file a Personal Financial Statement (F-1 report) within two weeks of becoming a candidate which has since been closed administratively.
On November 22, just hours before the 14-day deadline to respond to the second complaint case filed in November, Binda requested more time to respond to the PDC requesting the commission provide a filer assistant to assist him in both, still open, complaints.
The PDC is currently continuing its now formal investigation against these complaints and has yet to come to a resolution.
Ethics Violation Filed against Joshua Binda
In addition to the PDC’s formal investigation, a City of Lynnwood Ethics complaint was filed against the Binda campaign by a Lynnwood resident who preferred to remain anonymous concerning the aforementioned handling of campaign funds.
The ethics code for the city of Lynnwood (2.94.080 B2) requires the Board Counsel to meet with, at least once together, all parties to hear from them all aspects of the complaint and issues involved.
Attorney Grant Weed, of Weed Graafstra representing Lynnwood Board of Ethics legal counsel, was scheduled to meet with both Joshua Binda and the complaint filer, via zoom, on January 12 but was cancelled the day of due to Binda’s inability to attend.