A complaint has been filed with the state Public Disclosure Commission against Vancouver Vitality, a political committee formed to support conservative candidates for the city council.
Lori Anderson, spokeswoman for the PDC, said typically it takes a week for a complaint to be reviewed, but this close to the Nov. 5 general election the office is “pretty swamped” and it may be as long as three weeks.
The complaint was filed by Marsha Manning, who serves on the executive board of the Clark County Democrats.
In her complaint, Manning said Vancouver Vitality did not list any names of officers or sponsors in a Sept. 19 filing with the PDC; that the group’s direct mail pieces and newspaper inserts only state “Paid for by: Vancouver Vitality,” and don’t list the group’s top five donors as required by law; and that independent expenditures have not been documented for the four candidates promoted by Vancouver Vitality.
Vancouver Vitality’s Mark Engleman said Tuesday there was no requirement to list officers or sponsors in the Sept. 19 filing. As for allegations regarding the disclosure on ads of the top five donors, Engleman wrote in an email the requirement had been discussed several times with the PDC but there was a misunderstanding.
“Our treasurer (Lisa Phifer Ross) spoke with the PDC today and worked out the process going forward,” Engleman wrote.
As for documenting independent expenditures for mayoral candidate and Councilor Bill Turlay, City Councilor Jeanne Stewart and candidates Frank Decker and Micheline Doan, Engleman said “any errors are being corrected.”
Reported when paid
Manning also alleged that Vancouver Vitality did not report the $40,154 paid to Comcast for an ad that began running on Oct. 16.
Engleman said, “We reported payments when we made payments.”
The ads target Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavitt, Councilor Jack Burkman and candidates Alishia Topper and Anne McEnerny-Ogle.
On his campaign website, Burkman listed Vancouver Vitality’s inaccuracies, such as a reference to him serving on the C-Tran Board of Directors, which he does not. Topper has called the assertion that she was “handpicked” to run against Stewart a flat-out lie.
According to the PDC, Vancouver Vitality has raised $93,771. But $60,000 of that money was loans from Kanati Falls Ranch, a timber-management company.
The Washougal company, which was a top donor to anti-Columbia River Crossing lobbying efforts, lists Nancy Engleman as the registered agent. Vancouver Vitality spokesman Mark Engleman, a precinct committee officer for the Clark County Republican Party, is listed as a member of the Kanati Falls company.
In addition to the loans, Kanati Falls Ranch gave the group a $5,000 donation.
Another $5,000 donation came from Hudson’s Bay Industries, a manufacturing company that lists Randal Wilson as president and Tracy Wilson as vice president. Tracy Wilson is the husband of Lynda Wilson, chairwoman of the Clark County Republican Party.
Vancouver Vitality has reported spending $42,257 and lists Ask Advertising, Send It Direct, The Columbian and Vancouver Business Journal among expenditures for design, printing, mailing and inserts.
Other top donors include Clyde Holland and Tracy Wilson, who each gave $5,000, and Dan Barnes and Matthew Brislawn, who each gave $1,000, according to PDC filings.
If the commission determines that a state campaign finance law or reporting requirement has been violated, it has the authority to issue a maximum fine of $10,000, but fines can be waived for first-time offenders.