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Lynnwood Councilman under new campaign finance investigation by Washington state

OLYMPIA, Wash., May 5, 2023—The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) today has opened a new enforcement case against Lynnwood City Councilman Joshua Binda for failure to file his 2022 Personal Financial Affairs Disclosure Statement (F-1 report) on time. Also, according to PDC records, Councilman Binda has failed to pay any of the $1,250 in mandatory fines imposed by the State of Washington for his numerous campaign finance law violations as of May 5.

The latest complaint also reveals that Councilman Binda has yet to file his 2021 Personal Financial Affairs Disclosure Statement (F-1 report) that was due in April of 2022. According to the PDC, incumbents holding office on January 1 must file an F-1 for the previous calendar year. In September of 2022, the Presiding Officer in a Brief Enforcement hearing assessed a total civil penalty of $250. In good faith, the PDC suspended $125 of the penalty on condition that it is paid, the 2021 F-1 report is filed within 30 days, and that there are no further violations for four years. However, the full penalty amount of $250 has been reinstated as Councilman Binda has yet to pay this fine to state.

Snapshot on May 5, 2023, from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission database showing unpaid penalties by Councilman Joshua Binda for failure to timely file his required 2021 Personal Financial Affairs Statement that is still outstanding. SOURCE: PDC.

According to the PDC, the latest campaign finance violation case opened against Councilman Binda on May 5, alleges that councilman is in violation of RCW 42.17A.700 for failure to timely file his CY 2022 Personal Financial Affairs Statement (F-1 report) which was due no later than April 17, 2023. The violations were filed by investigative citizen journalist Glen Morgan on May 4 and Diodato Boucsieguez, chairman of the Committee to Recall Joshua Binda, on May 3.

“This is what the PDC is supposed to be preventing — total concealment of financial information from the public,” Morgan wrote in his latest official compliant launched against the councilman. “However, for years this candidate has been doing this, and since he isn’t paying any of the fines levied by the PDC, it appears that there is no cost for him continuing to ignore the law. Maybe, someday that will change.”

Morgan, who has been successful in exposing numerous Public Disclosure Campaign finance and ethics violations since 2016, has won almost 100 lawsuits. This includes lawsuits filed by the Washington State Attorney General resulting in dozens of judgements based on Morgan’s reporting.

Morgan was successful in leading one of the two previous finance campaign violation cases against Councilman Binda that found the councilman guilty of two separate PDC violations which imposed a $1,000 fine at its public hearing on Thursday, January 26, 2023. Those violations include using $2,742 of campaign funds for personal use (RCW 42.17A.445 and WAC 390-16-238) related expenditures as well as submitting a Post-General election C4 report 280 days late (RCW 42.17.235 and .240).

In a second act of good faith by the PDC, it suspended $500 of this penalty imposed on condition that it is paid within 30 days and that there are no further violations for four years. However, the full penalty amount of $1,000 has been reinstated as Councilman Binda has yet again to pay this fine to the State of Washington.

Snapshot on May 5, 2023, from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission database showing unpaid penalties by Councilman Joshua Binda for using $2,742 of campaign funds for personal use and failing to timely file the 2021 Post-General Election Summary Full Campaign Contribution and Expenditure report. SOURCE: PDC.

“Lynnwood City Councilman Joshua Binda, since 2021, continues to egregiously violate Washington State’s campaign finance laws,” Morgan states in the latest official compliant launched against the councilman.

As of the May 5, 2023, Councilman Binda has yet to pay any of the $1,250 in fines imposed by the PDC — the policy, interpretation, and enforcement arm in Washington state for the campaign finance and disclosure laws — nor file his 2021 F-1 report. Councilman Binda did, however, submit his 2022 F-1 report to the PDC on May 5, just days after initial violation filings and the same day the PDC opened a case against him.

According to the PDC, of the currently elected City of Lynnwood officials, Councilman Binda is the only councilmember to currently have an outstanding Personal Financial Affairs Disclosure Statement (F-1 report).

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