Secretary of State Kim Wyman got socked last month with a court order to pay $10,115 in fines and fees for her campaign’s mishandling of campaign finance reports since 2013.
Wyman, a Republican re-elected to her second term last November, agreed to the settlement with the Attorney General’s Office. The penalty is large, because it includes investigative costs the AG incurred.
In our view, Wyman learned her lesson for errors that appear not by design but due to inattention that in one case was spurred by a tragedy that struck a campaign aide. But given that Wyman previously served as Thurston County auditor overseeing elections, she might have known better.
Wyman says she discovered last May that her campaign messed up its finance reporting. The campaign filed 11 financial reports to the state Public Disclosure Commission that were 10 days late for the April 2016 period. The campaign also filed a summary showing $30,567 in previously unreported contributions.
Never miss a local story.
But after Wyman owned up, the issue didn’t die. The PDC looked closer and found Wyman’s campaign had other errors during 2013-16. These included finance reports filed up to 273 days late.
The state Democratic Party filed a campaign complaint in August, triggering involvement of the AG’s Office. Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, stepped back from the case, letting others in his office investigate and take the matter to court.
Wyman says her campaign acted quickly after discovering the errors.
Under her agreement with the AG’s Office, half of Wyman’s $3,950 fine is suspended if she avoids similar errors for four years. She also pays $8,140 in fees.
Ironically, Wyman says no one would have noticed the errors if her campaign hadn’t reported some of them.
Tivoli fountain repair needs to deliver
There’s an old saying about not throwing good money after bad. We sure hope this isn’t the case with the $757,000 repair project planned for Tivoli Fountain on the state Capitol Campus.
At its best the Roman-style fountain is a pleasing spot for relaxing near the sound of spraying water. But in recent years, the landmark has been shut down repeatedly for repairs or to conserve water during unusually dry summer months.
Repairs have cost more than $620,000 since 2005, according to data collected by the Department of Enterprise Services, which oversees Capitol Campus buildings and grounds. The new project replaces leaking pipes under the fountain that are original from 1953 when the Olympia-Tumwater Foundation donated the attraction.
“This is the big fix,’’ promises Linda Kent, spokeswoman for Enterprise Services.
Let’s sure hope so. It is to everyone’s benefit that the project, which starts Monday and ends in mid-June, is a success.
Repair costs were covered in the state’s 2015-17 capital construction budget, Kent said.
The work will replace the leaky water pipes, add more efficient jets and spray nozzles and LED lighting. The upgrades are designed to let the fountain use much less water and energy, cutting its typical $30,000 a year operating costs roughly in half, Kent said.
That would be a plus.