Why Did a Democratic Staffer Leave a Bunch of Party Financial Information at the PDC’s Front Door?

And why didn’t the PDC investigate what the financial information said?

Last August, a staff member with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission arrived at PDC offices to find a couple of boxes shoved up against the front door.

It was strange enough that the staffer called police to make sure there was nothing “nefarious” about the material. Upon investigation, police found cash, bank records, and a laptop with user-names and passwords attached to it. Police gave it the all clear.

As it turned out the source of the material was Jayson Morris, who had recently resigned as the treasurer of the King County Democratic Central Committee.

Was Morris trying to tell the PDC something? Washington’s election watchdog didn’t think so. Instead, they took an invetory of what was left, then phoned up Richard Erwin, chair of the KCDCC. He came down within the day to retrieve the material.

The strange anecdote was mentioned in passing in a PDC staff report on improper financial disclosure by the KCDCC. The report was written back in November, but surfaced last week when the state attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against the Dems for the improper disclosures.

However, none of the financial complaints in the lawsuit stemmed from the information left by Morris, says a spokeswoman from the PDC.

“It sounds like he resigned and left all this stuff out of frustration,” Kim Bradford, communications and outreach director at the PDC, says. Bradford says she was not at the office at the time of the incident, but that she “has heard legend of it.” “My understanding is that our front desk crew arrived for work and found all that stuff there. It had been left after-hours or early in the morning. … I’m not sure we looked at it to any more degree than to figure out who it belonged to.”

Morris’ actions were only noted in the PDC report to support the PDC staff’s complaint that the KCDCC failed to “timely file an amended Committee Registration disclosing that Nancy Podschwit had replaced Jayson Morris as Treasurer.” That charge was not included in the attorney general’s lawsuit filed Friday.

In a Facebook conversation, Morris says he was unaware of the PDC report. When Seattle Weekly shared the report with him, he replied: “Pretty interesting…I am sure I sent shock waves thru everyone…Wondering why I did not receive a notice or copy of this document since it had my name on it…”

Asked why he left the material with the PDC, he says he was having “a hard time getting assistance that I thought I needed after many attempts connected to my disability.” He says he has dysgraphia, ADHD, and short term memory deficit. “It became clear that this was not the job for me without the proper reasonable accommodations that I needed … I file a notice to the PDC and KCDCC. And I wanted a third party ‘PDC’ to hold the KCDCC things safely.”

He adds, “From a organizational perspective I think there’s some methods that are antiquated with PDC and KCDCC…I didn’t have the right reasonable accommodations so I left…An unusual situation.”

Morris is now director and executive administrative assistant at the Metropolitan Democratic Club of Seattle.

The lawsuit filed on Friday charges that the King County Democratic Central Committee was late in disclosing a total of $65,442 in election spending and $74,261 in campaign contributions.

An email into the King County Democratic Central Committee has not been returned.

Update: Bailey Stober, chair of the King County Democrats, said in an email Tuesday that “no sensitive information was compromised” during the incident,” which happened before he was elected chair. “Since my election as Chair there hasn’t been any late reporting, incomplete reporting or inaccurate reporting. … As soon as we discovered these serious issues we self reported them to the PDC well before anyone else did. We have been proactive in remedying the situation.”

dperson@seattleweekly.com

This post has been updated to clarify what was contained in the material left by Morris, and the nature of the report released by the PDC.

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