The state’s Public Disclosure Commission ruled Democratic legislative candidate Tim Probst violated state campaign finance law by not filing a personal financial affairs report in a timely manner.
The state commission waived a $150 fine and PDC Executive Director Evelyn Lopez noted in a short hearing held on the matter this week that it appeared to be an oversight.
“People are watching your campaign,” Lopez said, urging Probst and his campaign team to call with questions and ask for assistance.
“You clearly want to do it right,” she added.
Probst is running for state Sen. Don Benton’s seat. Benton is retiring and both Probst and Rep. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver, want to succeed him. Probst lost to Benton by 76 votes in 2012 and both state parties have targeted the seat.
Candidates are required to file a personal financial report within two weeks of declaring their candidacy. Probst initially filed to run for the 17th Legislative District seat in January 2013 and then amended his filing in 2016, but failed to file a disclosure report. Within a week of being notified by the Public Disclosure Commission, the Probst campaign filed the report.
“This was an oversight on the part of the campaign as the original filing for this campaign began in 2013,” Marsha Manning, Probst’s campaign treasurer, wrote in response to the complaint. “Mr. Probst did complete the (financial statement or F1) on May 11, 2016.”
Washington State Republican Party Chair Susan Hutchison had a different take.
“Tim Probst is running for office for the fourth time. He knows the law, but he acted as if the law did not apply to him,” Hutchison said in a statement emailed by the state party. “This is a disturbing lack of accountability. Voters are sick and tired of career politicians that put themselves above the law.”
The initial complaint was filed by Mike Tiufekchiev, who is a research analyst with the state Republican party, according to Linked- In.
Nick Ande, who is running Probst’s campaign, added it’s an attack in the hopes of distorting Probst’s record.
“It’s the same playbook Don Benton used to win by (76) votes four years ago,” Ande told The Columbian.