Ethics Board Fines Washington Legislator For Posting Taxpayer-Funded Videos On Facebook

Feb 17, 2017
Originally published on February 17, 2017 3:11 pm

Washington’s Legislative Ethics Board has fined state Rep. Melanie Stambaugh $5,000 for posting taxpayer funded videos and photos to a campaign-related Facebook page. The Republican from Puyallup said she will challenge the ethics ruling.

Stambaugh was accused of embedding 19 videos and 25 photos produced by legislative staff to a personal Facebook page that also included campaign materials. State ethics law prohibits lawmakers from using state resources to advance their campaigns.

Stambaugh argued that she used the photos and videos to communicate with her constituents and that her Facebook page is not a campaign page. She said she plans to file an appeal.

“I know that the fine right now is $5,000,” Stambaugh said. “If they charged me a penny it would have been too much because these are freely available items and as a legislator it is my job to inform my constituents.”

Stambaugh said she’s the victim of bullying, intimidation and retaliation. The Ethics Board said it has a “zero tolerance for campaign-related personal use of legislative facilities.”

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