State demands documents in campaign finance case against Auburn man

The state Attorney General’s Office (AGO) filed a petition in King County Superior Court seeking enforcement of a civil order issued in the state’s campaign finance investigation of Bailey Stober, the chairman of the King County Democratic Central Committee.

The petition asserts that, despite several contacts, Stober, of Auburn, has failed to produce complete records to AGO investigators in response to a civil order related to its investigation, and asks the court to force Stober to turn over the requested records, according to a AGO media release last Friday.

Stober, a former Kent resident who ran and lost three times for the Kent City Council between 2011 and 2015, did not comment to the Kent Reporter for his reaction to the AGO’s action.

Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, recused himself from any involvement in the matter.

On May 22, the AGO issued the civil order to Stober, seeking documents related to citizen action notices filed in March. The citizen letters allege multiple campaign finance violations both in Stober’s capacity as an employee of the King County Assessor’s Office and as a candidate. Stober did not turn them over. Then on June 2, Attorney General staff had a conversation with Stober about the requested documents and furnished him with another copy of the civil order.

On June 12, AGO staff interviewed Stober under oath at which time he was to have produced records. He did not do so. On June 19, AGO staff informed Stober if he did not produce the documents by June 21, the office would file its petition asking a court to force him to produce them. Stober supplied some of the requested records, but not all documents necessary to complete the investigation.

The AGO is seeking documents related to the allegations, which include:

• Failure to disclose debts and obligations for his 2015 campaign (for the Kent City Council);

• Failure to timely disclose contributions and expenditures;

• Failure to maintain campaign records for five years, as required by law;

• Prohibited personal use of contributions; and

• Prohibited use of public facilities to assist a campaign or ballot proposition.

The requested documents include Stober’s 2015 campaign records, as well as records from his employer about his work schedule and attendance during 2016-2017.

In 2015, the Public Disclosure Commission levied a $4,000 penalty against Stober over campaign disclosure and record-keeping violations related to two separate Kent City Council campaigns he ran in 2011 and 2013. Half of that penalty was suspended unless Stober committed further campaign finance violations within four years.

The Attorney General’s Office enforces the state’s campaign finance disclosure law to ensure free, open and fair elections in Washington state.

Stober lost general election Kent City Council races to Deborah Ranniger in 2011 and Ken Sharp in 2013 as well as a primary race in 2015 against Tina Budell and Hira Singh Bhullar.

After moving to Auburn, Stober became a member of the city’s Parks and Recreation Board.

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