Independent Expenditures In Everett City Council Position 6 Race Turning Into Campaign Issue For Both Sides

November 2, 2023

Everett Government

On Wednesday November 1st received the following press release from the Scott Bader for Everett City Council campaign.

EVERETT, WA – October 30, 2023 – Everett City Council candidate Demi Chatters and an affiliated political action committee have committed significant campaign violations according to a citizen complaint to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission. A recent mailer sponsored by The Snohomish Ebony PAC (SEPAC), an organization that Chatters serves as Treasurer, makes grossly misleading statements about Scott Bader’s voting record in a coordinated attempt to sway undecided voters. Campaign finance law prohibits candidates seeking election from coordinating their efforts with political action committees and requires certain public disclosures related to independent expenditures.

Campaign Violations:

• State campaign finance law prohibits coordination between candidates and political action committees; however, in her role as Treasurer of SEPAC, Chatters is required to “maintain books of account, current within five business days, that accurately reflect all contributions and expenditures” per RCW 42.17A.225. Given her role in managing the books and accounting of the political action committee, Chatters was intimately involved in the group’s “independent” expenditures on behalf of her own campaign, which is expressly prohibited by campaign finance regulations.

• SEPAC failed to identify the top five persons or entities making the largest contributions to the sponsor in the mailer as required by RCW 42.17A.320.

• SEPAC failed to file Form C6 disclosing its independent expenditure for Chatters within 24 hours after the mailer was presented to the public as required by the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission.

    – – end of press release – – checked on the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission website Wednesday and there are two complaints filed by the Treasurer of the Scott Bader Campaign regarding independent expenditures by a political action committee in support of Demi Chatters. Case number 144428 which alleges Demi Chatters is in violation of RCW 42.17A.235 and .240 for failure to timely and accurately report contribution and expenditure activities and details. (OCT’23, EY’23) and Case number 144427 which alleges Snohomish Ebony PAC: Alleged violations of RCW 42.17A.235, .240, & .260 for failing to timely file contributions, expenditures, & independent expenditures reports, & .405 for exceeding contributions to Demi Chatters. (EY’23, Oct’23)

The Bader campaign sent the 11-page complaint they filed which we have attached for your review at this link.
Demi Chatters alleged PDC Violations per Scott Bader Campaign sent that information to Demi Chatters asking for a response and received the following reply via email.

Hi Leland,

Thanks for making me aware of this. Snohomish Ebony Political Action Committee (SEPAC) is an outstanding, grassroots, all volunteer-run, local community organization with the admirable and necessary mission of increasing diverse representation in our local policy making spaces. I proudly, previously served on their Executive board and, when their treasurer moved out of state, I did step up for a period of time as their interim treasurer to help bring their reporting into compliance. It appears that they have not updated their records with the PDC to indicate who their current treasurer is. Unfortunately, I do not have that information as I stepped completely away from any operational involvement to focus on running my campaign for the Everett City Council. I would have to refer you to the SEPAC organization directly for any information on their current treasurer, their reporting status, or expenditures of any kind, including any mailers in support of candidates leading into the 2023 General election.

With regard to the SEPAC sponsored mailer you sent me, the photograph and logo used have been widely published via social media, emails, literature, and on my campaign website since May of 2023. Countless people have access to my photo and logo; it is my signature campaign aesthetic. I am quite surprised to hear that this is my opponent’s first time seeing it.

As you are surely aware, my opponent has received well over $80k in outside expenditures for mailers and other campaign advertising. In light of this fact, I am incredibly grateful to learn that the SEPAC community and their volunteers have tried to contribute to any small measure of leveling the playing field by supporting my campaign in whatever way they are able. This election has highlighted the need for campaign finance reform that better serves the needs of local communities who deserve to NOT have their elections interfered with through independent expenditures by economic elites and their outside special interest groups.

After the election has concluded, and I am no longer running my campaign, I will definitely reach out to SEPAC to offer assistance with bringing them back into compliance if it is still necessary. I remain fully supportive of SEPAC, their mission, their values, and the local community members they represent. Incidentally, I know of multiple, local, volunteer-run community organizations that struggle with this compliance piece as they typically do not have wealthy donors and consistent funding streams to cover professional compliance services. I value grassroots community organizing work and am happy to help wherever I can.

Kind regards,

Demi Chatters reached out to the Snohomish Ebony Political Action Committee and they sent us the following statement via email.

Hello Mr. Dart,

Due to changing capacity and leadership we are working to ensure our filings with the PDC are in order.

We will be in contact with the PDC by tomorrow to address the issues.

We have no further information beyond the above statement at this time.


Snohomish Ebony Pac

Editor’s note: does not run editorials or endorse candidates or issues. Here is what we have heard from all three parties involved in this. We leave it to you to make any decisions on the campaigns and and how they are being conducted. LD

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About myeverettnews

My Everett News is a hyperlocal news website featuring breaking news and events in Everett, WA. We also cover City of Everett information and items of interest to those who live and work in Everett. It's written by Leland Dart a former Snohomish County based radio reporter born and raised in Everett.

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