After 5 months, a small victory with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission / Facebook post, Sj Robson

September 17, 2019 Sandy Robson

Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council — it sounds like such a positive, right? It is the name of a political action committee registered with Washington state’s Public Disclosure Commission (PDC). 

Our government defines “affordable housing” as any home, rented or owned, in which costs comprise less than 30 percent of the household monthly income. When people think of the term “affordable housing” they think of the idea of properties made available to lower-income families and/or individuals at less than market value. So, most people, when they hear the term “affordable housing,” have a positive reaction to that concept. 

Is the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee all about influencing elections in order to make properties available to lower-income families and/or individuals at less than market value? When you look at who is behind the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee, the answer is pretty apparent. 

Some people already knew that the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee is affiliated with the Building Industry Association of Whatcom County (BIAWC). However, if you weren’t already aware of that, you wouldn’t have known by looking at the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council’s PDC registration (C1pc) form until this week. 

I think that’s important information for the public, especially voters, to have when they are looking to see what kind of campaigns are being funded by the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council’s political committee.

The BIAWC, a trade and business advocacy organization primarily comprised of businesses related to the building and construction industry, often opposes various regulations and policies which are needed to better protect our environment. 

For example, the BIAWC was a big advocate of the then-proposed coal export terminal at Cherry Point. In terms of local politics, here is some information about the kind of campaigns the BIAWC, through its affiliated Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee, has supported:

The Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee contributed $3,000 to the 2015 coal terminal-funded “Clear Ballot Choices (Pacific International Terminals)” PAC that was formed in support of District-Only voting, and against Five Fair and Equal Districts county charter propositions which appeared on the November 2015 general election ballot. Ultimately, the District-Only voting and the Five Fair and Equal Districts propositions were both approved by voters in that election. The over $70,000 in contributions raised by the “Clear Ballot Choices (Pacific International Terminals)” PAC helped fuel the District-Only voting proposition victory. 

The Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee has consistently contributed money to conservative (including Tea Party) candidates’ campaigns. In the 2013 Whatcom County election, its political committee supported, and contributed to, the four conservative candidates (Kershner, Knutzen, Luke, Elenbaas) who were running for County Council and were thought likely to approve the permits needed for then-proposed coal terminal when that issue was expected to go before the County Council. 

In the 2015 Whatcom County election, the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee supported and contributed to pro-new jail Republican candidate for County Executive, Jack Louws, and pro-new jail Republican candidate for County Council, Bruce Ayers, and to Republican candidate for County Council, Kathy Kershner.

In the 2017 Whatcom County election, the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee supported and contributed to Port of Bellingham conservative candidates Ken Bell and Dan Robbins, and to conservative County Council candidates Mary Kay Robinson and Tyler Byrd. 

Also, the BIAWC sent a May 18, 2018 letter to the Whatcom County Council that warned against policies and rules which would result from the proposed Cherry Point Amendments. The proposed amendments are intended to provide stronger protections to the environment and public safety and health.

These actions cited above taken by the BIAWC and its Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee are certainly not focused on affordable housing as its political committee’s name would indicate.

Because I felt it was important that the public and Washington voters be made aware of the fact that the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee appeared to be affiliated with the BIAWC, I sent a May 17, 2019 email to the PDC. 

I explained that while the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee appeared to be affiliated with the BIAWC, the registration (C1pc) form did not reflect that as is required on the form.

People can read my email communications which started on May 17, 2019 and went through September 16, 2019 (shown in attached screenshots), to see what it took to finally get that information added to the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council political committee’s registration form filed on September 13, 2019, with the PDC.

3 thoughts on “After 5 months, a small victory with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission / Facebook post, Sj Robson

  1. Pingback: Fraud in Action « Salish Sea Maritime

  2. Pingback: April Barker’s email response addressing the Whatcom County Affordable Housing Council’s 2019 contribution to her mayoral campaign / Noisy Waters Northwest | noisy waters northwest

  3. Pingback: Building industry political committee boosts underhanded tactics; Fleetwood returns check/ Noisy Waters Northwest | noisy waters northwest

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