Thursday, April 13, 2006

The Washington State Republican Party has filed a complaint against a Democratic congressional candidate, saying she violated federal law by failing to report campaign contributions.

The complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission says Darcy Burner, a candidate for a 8th District House seat, did not report contributions from Eastside Democracy for America.

The 18-page complaint says Mrs. Burner did not disclose as in-kind contributions on federal paperwork that the group hosted a campaign event for Mrs. Burner at the Northwest Arts Center and produced a video promoting her campaign.

The Republicans say Eastside produced and distributed a video for the event, “the cost of which likely exceeds the $5,000 contribution limit” for political action committees.

Burner campaign Chairman Zach Silk called the attack “frivolous.” He said the campaign did not distribute physical copies of the video and did not coordinate with Eastside.

FEC spokesman Ian Stirton said the charge is being investigated.

Mr. Stirton also said that any group with more than $1,000 in federal campaign expenditures must register with the FEC. Eastside Democracy for America is not registered with the FEC or Internal Revenue Service.

Even if the FEC determines that the group is not a PAC, the campaign could be penalized for failing to disclose contributions of more than $200 from people from the organization for the events.

The five-minute video is an advertisement for Mrs. Burner’s campaign including several direct interview clips with Mrs. Burner and footage of her speaking at the campaign event in front of an Eastside banner.

The video was originally hosted on the Web site, The Burner campaign reportedly removed the video from its Web site after the Washington Republican Party filed its complaint. However, the campaign has since put the video back up.

The FEC complaint contains a posting on Democracy for Washington’s Web site by Andrew Tsao, who is listed as the campaign video’s director.

Mr. Tsao wrote, “The Darcy Burner Campaign delivered 30 videos to LD’s and precincts throughout the 8th Congressional District — The video was produced by Eastside DFA, and our video finishes the end credits. We carried Darcy’s message to the entire 8th CD today.”

Mr. Tsao said he spent less than $200 to produce the video and $50 to rent the Northwest Arts Center.

Mrs. Burner is running against Rep. Dave Reichert, a Republican, in the November election.

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