Washington GOP Calls Foul In 5th District Congressional Race Using WSU Imagery

Oct 5, 2017

UPDATE, Oct. 6, 2017: The Public Disclosure Commission responded to the complaint today and determined they do not have jurisdiction.

"We have notified (Lisa Brown) and the Washington State Republican Party, which was the complainant in this case, that we don’t have jurisdiction," PDC spokesperson Kim Bradford told Northwest Public Radio today. "We have referred them to the Executive Ethics Board, which does have jurisdiction over allegations of misuse of public facilities for state agencies and employees."

Original story:

The Washington State Republican Party has filed a complaint with the state’s election watchdog, alleging a candidate for Congress misused state resources.

Democrat Lisa Brown is running against longtime Republican incumbent Cathy McMorris Rodgers in Washington’s 5th Congressional District. But before she announced her run, Brown was chancellor of Washington State University’s Spokane campus, and previously majority leader of the state Senate.

In their complaint to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, the state Republican Party says Brown improperly used WSU images and resources in a campaign ad to announce her candidacy.

WSU officials sent a letter to Brown in September asking her to refrain from using official university trademarks, logos and video in her campaign.

Brown resigned from WSU before announcing her candidacy, and has since deleted the ad in question from her campaign’s YouTube channel. Her campaign has called the complaint a distraction tactic.

The national Democratic Party has expressed interest in the 5th District as a possibly competitive race for 2018. Republicans have held the eastern Washington seat since Democratic Speaker of the House Tom Foley lost in 1994.

Note: WSU holds the broadcast license of Northwest Public Radio

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