June 18, 2024 9:20 pm

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Letter-to-Editor: We cannot normalize noncompliance with the PDC

Dear Editor:

I am saddened to hear of Lynnwood City Councilmember Joshua Binda’s misadventures.  Sadly, those misadventures now include not paying fines to the Public Disclosure Commission – putting Councilmember Binda in the same league as… Alex Tsimerman.

Yes, the same Alex Tsimerman who believes it is his solemn duty to spew hate at public comment periods in King County maliciously and now also disregards all Public Disclosure Commission communications – including on case 120879 that I am the complainant initiator of over Tsimerman’s campaigning at public comment this January.  Sadly, the Public Disclosure Commission is teetering on becoming just another think tank – albeit taxpayer subsidized.

Just like with Mr. Tsimerman, the Public Disclosure Commission has shown high levels of grace and restraint with relatively small fines at first towards Councilmember Binda.  But at some point, both or neither Binda and Tsimerman need to face justice for endangering democratic norms.

On another campaign finance matter, this “exploratory committee” of Attorney General and candidate for Governor Bob Ferguson is 100% inappropriate and deserves Public Disclosure Commission review.  It is clear my fellow citizen Bob Ferguson is running for Governor, and all campaign finances should be in the sunlight and limited by the same rules as all other candidates.

Ultimately, we need an understanding that the Public Disclosure Commission only works when its orders are… obeyed, preferably without a day in court.  To quote How Democracies Die by Steven Levitsky, “In 1993, New York’s Democratic senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former social scientist, made an incisive observation: Humans have a limited ability to cope with people behaving in ways that depart from shared standards. When unwritten rules are violated over and over, Moynihan observed, societies have a tendency to “define deviancy down”—to shift the standard. What was once seen as abnormal becomes normal.”  

My point?  The best state in the Union cannot accept the normalization of noncompliance with the Public Disclosure Commission.  Why?  Campaign finance law helps moderate and retain trust in our political process.

Strategically,

Joe A. Kunzler, Skagit County


Editor’s Notes: Below are the PDC violations and unpaid fines assessed to Alex Tsimerman:

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