Newly elected council member Brandon Svenson received a letter from the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission on Monday, November 25, 2019.
On November 22, Mayor Don Bradshaw, as a citizen, filed a complaint against Brandon Svenson, a candidate for the city council. Mayor Bradshaw stated in his complaint, "As a citizen of Winlock, I believe I have the right to know where campaign funds were either solicited or donated to an individual running for office, and how the funds were spent. I'm aware that the population of Winlock is less than 5,000, there is still a right to know as a taxpayer. There is a reason to believe that the candidate may have been subsidized by the Lewis County News, formerly known as the Town Crier in order to influence votes..."
The complaint continued, "I previously emailed the candidate asking they provide me with their contributions and expenditures. The individual did not respond."
Mayor Bradshaw then continues with his complaint, "I am requesting that you review the material, and I'm asking that you not 'certify' them for office. Thank you." Mayor Bradshaw asked the PDC not to certify them.
The PDC found the complaint to be baseless and dismissed it the day after the Mayor submitted it. It raises several questions though: What exactly was Mayor Bradshaw trying to accomplish by not allowing "them" to be certified and who exactly is "them"? Did Mayor Bradshaw turn in every applicant to the PDC who advertised or wrote a Letter to the Editor in the Lewis County News?
The Lewis County News did not subsidize any candidate and can prove so accordingly. Mayor Bradshaw's first contact with the candidate was an email asking them to make an appointment with him to go over their financial contributions. Mayor Bradshaw sent this email to four candidates who had an ad or Letter to the Editor in the Lewis County News. None of the four applicants met with the mayor. In fact, two replied and told the mayor they would not be meeting with him. Both candidates contacted the PDC and were informed they did not need to meet with Mayor Bradshaw.
The witnesses of the complaint are even more surprising, one was councilwoman Jodie Curtis and the other, a private citizen. Jodie Curtis did not win the election, what exactly was her reason for being a witness to a PDC complaint?
Mayor Bradshaw did not ask once in his complaint not to certify "them", but twice. Why would Mayor Bradshaw not want this council certified is the question? Council members are to be sworn in on December 9, 2019 and the Lewis County Elections did certify all four candidates.
Mayor Bradshaw's attempt to keep his current council did not work, his complaint was dismissed within hours of being received by the PDC. Mayor Bradshaw's term has been controversial, to say the least. He has failed to keep his current council and the new council will be sworn in shortly.