SPOKANE, Wash.-- The Washington Public Disclosure Committee is reviewing a complaint against Nadine Woodward’s mayoral campaign, which was filed in July and alleged she failed to identify donors sponsoring online ads.
The complaint, filed on July 17, claims thousands of Woodward’s online ads do not contain sponsor I.D. text or the top five contributors, both of which are required by PDC policies. Under “Sponsor Identification Requirements, candidates must include the statement, “No candidate authorized this ad. It is paid for by (name, address, city, state,” in the ad.
The policy also states that an ad sponsored by a political committee that is not a “bona fide party committee” must also include “Top Five Contributors,” followed by a list of the names of the five contributors who made the largest donations over $700. The complaint claims the ads that violated these policies appeared on Reddit, Us Magazine’s website, People Magazine’s website and Wikipedia.
The complaint claims each advertisement is funded by a contribution of $40,900 from the Washington Association of Realtors for online ads. The association is listed as a top 45 contributor to Woodward’s campaign on the PDC’s website with a $2,000 contribution.
Woodward told KREM 2 Friday evening that the online ads in question were produced by the PAC, not Woodward's campaign. The campaign is working with the PDC to show the ads came from the Washington Realtors Association's independent expenditures, and the campaign had "nothing to do with them," Woodward said.
A spokesperson with the Washington Realtors Association reached out to KREM 2 by email with the following statement:
"WAC 390-18-030 (3) allows several different options for reporting top 5 contributors on a digital ad. One option is the “roll over/pop-up” option identified in the complaint- it is true that Washington REALTORS did not choose that option- instead we choose the option of linking the ad to a webpage that clearly identified the top 5 contributors," Nathan Gordon, Washington Realtors Government Affairs Director, wrote in the email.
The group is an Olympia-based branch of the National Association of Realtors, which states on its website that it promotes “the election of pro-realtor candidates across the United States.”
The PDC opened the review into the complaint on July 25. Their website states that the committee is currently conducting an “Assessment of Facts.” Depending on whether they determine there is enough evidence, they may take a variety of steps ranging from dismissing the complaint to launching a full investigation.