Jan. 6, 2014
Dave Schmidt’s statement regarding a fine imposed on him by the WA State Public Disclosure Commission.
When you choose to be a public figure you are choosing exposure to the world with all your personal issues via the internet. Having been a State Senator there are hundreds of times my name was in the news. Anyone can do an in depth internet search with my name and discover numerous comments written about my life, personal and private.
Some have raised questions about a couple newspaper articles on the internet regarding my being fined by WA State Public Disclosure Commission for misusing campaign funds, these will continue to come forward as long as I choose to be in the public view. Instead of having to answer each question individually I have chosen to explain the story here.
I have been fined by the WA Public Disclosure Commission for alleged campaign violations. Following is my story in contrast to the newspaper articles.
It was always my intent to follow the law and regulations. In my estimation the newspaper articles do not give a complete picture of the full story. On Feb 12, 2012 the following statement was posted on a blog I was affiliated with at the time. The initial comments are from the sites director and then my comments follow.
XXXXX (Individual’s name remove) has also made allegations against Dave Schmidt and Dave has responded. I should add that Dave discussed this matter with me a few months ago and I’m satisfied that he’s handling the situation with honor and integrity. Dave is the Director of the Hope Chest and is second in charge of the Bridge Fund. Dave was a Senator in the Washington State Legislature. He left politics but was persuaded to return for a further election attempt, which was unsuccessful. Some time back, a newspaper article came out alleging that he had used campaign funds improperly following the unsuccessful election bid. Dave is certain that he handled the matter fairly and permissibly, from a legal and ethical standpoint. This article has already made the rounds once and Dave answered the allegations at that time. People who have probably Googled his name have raised the matter a second time. It’s unfortunate that Dave may have to answer the article repeatedly as it surfaces again and again. Dave believes that if he took the matter in dispute to court he would win but he would also pay more in court costs than by simply paying the fine involved. That being the case it makes more sense to him to simply go before the regulatory commission, present his case and bring the matter to a close. Let me now let Dave describe the issue in his own words, by including the letter Dave wrote to XXXXX.
Dear XXXXX, (individual’s name removed) Steve and others are very much aware of my issue with the Public Disclosure Commission. I was in the Washington State legislature for 12 years. The legislature in WA State is classified as a part-time job, but in reality it requires full-time effort, sometimes 70-80 hours per week. The pay was about $35,000 per year so I was working full-time and more for part-time pay. The law is very clear. It states that surplus campaign funds may be used to repay lost wages. Following is the text in full of the law in WA State:
| RCW 42.17A.430
Disposal of surplus funds.
The surplus funds of a candidate or a candidate’s authorized committee may only be disposed of in any one or more of the following ways:
(2) Using surplus, reimburse the candidate for lost earnings incurred as a result of that candidate’s election campaign. Lost earnings shall be verifiable as unpaid salary or, when the candidate is not salaried, as an amount not to exceed income received by the candidate for services rendered during an appropriate, corresponding time period. All lost earnings incurred shall be documented and a record thereof shall be maintained by the candidate or the candidate’s authorized committee. The committee shall maintain a copy of this record in accordance with *RCW 42.17A.235(6);
In 2006 I lost my re-election campaign. During the four years of my term I documented where I lost over $40,000 because I had to forego work, losing about $10,000 per year. $35,000 per year is tough to live on when you’re a single parent putting two children through college.
Because I had no job to fall back on, I could have chosen to file for unemployment and receive tax dollars or do what is within the guidelines of the law and regulations and use the surplus funds for lost wages. I chose to use the surplus funds and followed the law listed above by documenting where I had lost wages over the 4 year term.
The PDC in their investigation has chosen to see it differently. Since the article they’ve changed their mind on many of the charges and it’s now the lost wages only, rather than the range of matters discussed in the article. One might question why they were going to charge something one day and the next day change their mind. The law didn’t change, but their opinion on an issue did. The PDC staff is wanting to settle instead of taking this case before the commission. They’ve given me five options. Most options will require me to hire an attorney which will cost far more than just paying the fine. If I had the money for an attorney I am very confident I would win the case. It was always my intent to stay within the law and regulations. I am considering paying the fine rather than paying the anticipated legal costs.
Politics can be a very negative and competitive environment. I was accustomed to being attacked on a regular basis, sometimes receiving over a hundred very vicious and derogatory emails a day; I even had my life threatened a couple of times. It’s an environment where the 3d ego loves to come to life and create chaos and controversy.
I’ve chosen to leave that life behind. Now my goal is to work on my own growth and development process, to be free of judgment and filled with forgiveness. That’s the requirement for a higher consciousness lifestyle. I’m not totally there yet, but I’m consciously working on it. Regardless of the outcome of the case, I’m moving on to a new life, as we’ve all been advised to do.