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News / Politics / Clark County Politics

Candidates fail to file financial disclosures

No filings available for challengers to Stewart, Assessor Van Nortwick

By Jake Thomas, Columbian political reporter
Published: June 18, 2018, 6:05am

Two candidates running for public office in Clark County have failed to file papers disclosing personal financial information as required by state law.

In Washington, candidates for public office (with some exceptions) are required to file a document with the state Public Disclosure Commission that discloses their sources of income, any real estate or other assets they own, boards they sit on, as well as their creditors.

The point of requiring this disclosure is so the public can see if a candidate could potentially be in a position to steer government contracts to businesses they have a stake in, make zoning decisions that would benefit property they own, as well as other conflicts of interest.

The Columbian requested the financial disclosure forms for every candidate currently running for public office in Clark County. But the Public Disclosure Commission did not have a filing from Norbert Schlecht, an independent who is challenging Republican Clark County Assessor Peter Van Nortwick for his position. Veny Razumovsky, who is running against Republican County Councilor Jeanne Stewart with the CascadiaNow Party, also didn’t file the form.

Neither responded to multiple requests for comment.

Toby Nixon, the president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government, said in a text that the stocks or property a candidate owns might influence them just as much, or even more, than their campaign donors.

“If they’re not willing to provide this information, what are they trying to hide?” he said. “Or if they simply neglected to file the required reports, what does that tell you about how carefully they will obey the law while in office?”

Under Washington law, candidates for state, local or judicial office must file financial disclosure forms with the Public Disclosure Commission within two weeks of announcing or filing paperwork for their campaigns, taking out ads, or raising or spending money.

State regulations allow candidates who don’t file their disclosures on time some leeway. First-time violators can face a penalty of up to $150 (that they can possibly waive) if they file their disclosure forms after being contacted by the commission or explain mitigating circumstances.

If they don’t file their disclosure forms by the time their enforcement hearing is held, they could face a penalty of $250.

Columbian political reporter