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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Feb. 27, 2024

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Donations for Clark County Council candidate raise eyebrows

Elisabeth Veneman says it's a nonissue

By , Columbian political reporter

A handful of recent donations to Elisabeth Veneman, a Republican candidate for the Clark County Council, have raised eyebrows not just because of who is donating money but because how the donations were reported appear to violate state law.

Veneman, in an email, called it a nonissue and said that her campaign checked with the state’s elections monitor to make sure the donations were legal.

A report filed by Veneman’s campaign in August with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission lists donations by former Clark County Councilor David Madore and his wife, Donna, totaling $4,000.

Madore, who lost his re-election bid in 2016, has made donations over the years to conservative causes and candidates. The report filed by Veneman shows the Madores each gave Veneman $1,000 for the Aug. 7 primary election and another $1,000 for the Nov. 6 general election.

In Washington, individuals are limited to giving $1,000 per election to candidates for county, city or school board positions. So a donor can give $1,000 to a candidate for the primary election and another $1,000 for the general election.

The report filed by Veneman states that all the donations, both for the primary and general, were received Aug. 13, after the primary election.

Public Disclosure Commission spokeswoman Kim Bradford said that money can only be donated retroactively for the primary in two circumstances. The first, she said, is if a candidate loses their primary they can fundraise for 30 days to pay off debts. She said the other circumstance is if the money was put in the mail on or before the primary date.

Veneman said in an email that she received the check dated Aug. 5 on Aug. 6 and took it to the bank a few days later. She said that her campaign manager called the Public Disclosure Commission to make sure that there would be no issue with the donations. She said that her campaign’s treasurer is amending the date of the receipt to match when it was actually received.

“To me it’s a clear, ‘nonissue’ though I know there are always those wanting to keep candidates, ‘accountable,'” she said.

Jim Mains, a local political consultant, said in a text that it’s common for campaigns to amend their PDC reports.

“I don’t see this as an issue,” he said.

Columbian political reporter