10/13/2022 Vancouver, WA
24 year incumbent Auditor Greg Kimsey is now under investigation by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission for breaking Washington campaign disclosure laws, including RCW 42.17A.235 and RCW 42.17A.240 for failing to disclose a $7000.00 contribution from a surplus committee to a campaign committee. The investigation was announced on the PDC website yesterday, and was making its rounds on social media today.
The complaint was filed by Glen Morgan, a well known State watchdog of campaign finance laws and responsible for hundreds of fines and adverse findings by the PDC against serial violators of Washington campaign laws. In his complaint, he says,
"It has come to my attention that Clark County Auditor Greg Kimsey has violated Washington State’s campaign finance laws (RCW 42.17A) during his current reelection campaign for Clark County Auditor. The following details the specifics:
1) Concealment of true source of $7,000 in campaign funding and/or concealment/falsification of Campaign Surplus Funds reports (Violation of RCW 42.17A.235, RCW 42.17A.240, WAC 390-16-230)
According to Kimsey’s own Financial Disclosure documents filed with the PDC, it appears that the largest single contribution to his campaign recently has been a “Surplus Funds” transfer of $7,000 occurring on 3/16/2019, according to a C-3 report filed on 3/8/2019 (See PDC Report#100892778).
I have looked up Kimsey’s Surplus Account Reports from that time period, and there are no transfers of that size reported from his surplus account at any time during the 2019 time period. I’ve attached copies of the C-4 reports which were all filed for the first 6 months of 2019, and none of them report this mystery $7,000 of “surplus” funds.
While Kimsey certainly has a large enough surplus account to kick large sums of cash like this to his campaign, I am concerned that he may be attempting to conceal the true source of these mystery funds. If, for some reason, Kimsey chose to withdraw these funds secretly from his campaign surplus account and use these funds for another reason or co-mingle these funds somewhere else for years or months in advance of this reported transfer, that appears to possibly be an additional violation of the statute and a probable misuse of campaign funds.
At the minimum best-case scenario, if Kimsey’s surplus account is not reporting anything accurately and is not even able to recognize $7,000 discrepancies like this, this is also problematic. This candidate has been in office since the Clinton Administration and should be well-versed in Washington State’s campaign finance laws. If he is blatantly violating the law in this manner or worse, doesn’t even realize he is breaking the law, how can we expect him to know what is happening with Clark County elections?
I haven’t looked much deeper into this campaign, but I’m concerned there is more to find here indicating additional lawbreaking or at best, incompetence with campaign finance reporting. In an era where confidence in our elections must be restored and maintained, we need to hold county auditors to a higher standard. This is a standard not met currently by the Kimsey campaign finance reporting program right now."
Of course, the public has a right to know the true source of mega contributions to political candidates for local office - in particular the county auditor's offices. When local elected officials are not reporting their financial contributions correctly, the public should know.
Morgan also recommends that, "It would be good to interview the candidate and his treasurer and anyone else who has been given access to his surplus funds account or the cash that is supposed to be in that account. It would not be a bad idea to verify the account balances reported by this campaign with true bank statements."
We'll keep you updated on the progress and ultimate disposition of this case.