Update: Lynnwood City Council candidate Josh Binda facing allegations of improper campaign spending

Updated Nov. 4 with a link and details about the second complaint.  

The Washington State Public Disclosure Commission has received a second complaint alleging Lynnwood City Council Position 3 candidate Joshua Binda has been improperly spending campaign funds.

The initial complaint — filed Oct. 29 — said that Binda, 21, failed “to timely and accurately report expenditure details” and spent “campaign funds for activities not directly related to candidacy”. The complaint says Binda has used campaign donations on haircuts, dental work, jewelry, airfare to Mexico, electronics, event tickets and rent for his apartment.

Binda is a diversity advocate who chairs Lynnwood’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Commission. So far, his campaign has raised more than $27,000 and he swept the Aug. 3 primary with nearly 46% of the vote against two challengers. He is running against former Lynnwood City Councilmember Lisa Utter.

Binda did not respond to multiple attempts by Lynnwood Today to contact him.

According to state Public Disclosure Commission spokesperson Kim Bradford, campaign finances are tracked via the PDC’s website. Candidates are required to amend submitted reports whenever they discover incorrect or missing information, Bradford said.

Since the first complaint was filed, several of the expenditures have since been removed or amended. Bradford said campaign representatives are required to amend submitted reports whenever they discover incorrect or missing information.

The case is in the early stages of investigation, and PDC staff will review the allegations and ask for a response from Binda’s campaign, she added.

“It is far too early to say how the case might proceed or what the outcome might be,” Bradford said.

Under Washington state law, PDC staff have up to 90 days to assess whether a case can be resolved administratively through a reminder, warning or statement of understanding in which the respondent admits to a violation and pays a small penalty.

If the violations appear more serious or more time is needed to collect evidence, Bradford said the case could turn into a full investigation.

Binda has received endorsements from Mayor Nicola Smith, State Reps. Lauren Davis and Cindy Ryu and State Sen. Jesse Salomon.

— By Cody Sexton

    1. Thursday: 11/04/2021

      Don

      It is GOOD Reporting! Do your Own Research, the results won’t be Favorable for Binda.

  1. I’ve lived in Lynnwood for 20 years and am excited to see a young progressive voice on the Lynnwood City Council.

    I don’t know what good reporting is (this reporter at least contacted the PDC for comment) or what research might entail but this article and the related comments seem to ignore the partisan nature of the citizen-filed pdc complaints and the initial reporting from the Lynnwood Times.

    As the PDC says it’s too early to say how this will play out. I would urge my neighbors to withhold judgement until the PDC has a chance to review and embrace the lively debate new faces will bring to the city council.

    1. Josh Binda’s opponent, Lisa Utter, ran a campaign in which she missed not one opportunity to explain her understanding of issues, her leadership in various organizations, and calm demeanor when dealing with and listening to other points of view. I was disappointed when Josh Binda was a no-show at at least two candidate forums — it seemed as if he and his campaign managers and mentors decided that because he received high level endorsements, he no longer had to prove himself prior to November 2nd; however, I will concede that if he is as desirous to advocate for the underdog as he claims (among other things), and if he is a dynamic get-stuff-done leader, as he showed in the BLM protests, then his 4 years in office will hopefully be productive, even as there will be the inevitable learning curve.

  2. Jake Goldstein-Street in the Everett Herald has much more info about this issue, including quotes from Josh Binda. After reading Jake’s story, I feel at this time that these expenditures were simply mistakes made by an inexperienced campaign staff. As long as Binda pays the fines and makes good on the payments, then he can put this behind him.

    1. Claiming to be progressive and living progressive values/getting progressive things done are two different things. In my opinion, Lisa Utter has embodied these values for decades.

      And to add to my observation/opinion about some elections that make little logical sense: Patrick Decker, who in forums proved to be clear and persuasive, won in the primary by a handful of votes over a candidate who appeared in zero forums. In another primary, Chris Eck, who also spoke clearly and persuasively (Coelho also fits into that category), did not make it past primary.

      Of course, the voter turnout explains a lot; it is up to the citizens to listen and observe—it helps if all candidates show up at all the forums.

      1. Clarification: Patrick Decker barely placed second in primary, over Gough, who was not able attend one forum, via audio or video.

  3. Saturday: 11/06/2021

    Hi Rita

    I like most of your Words. Your Correct “Voter Turnout” explains a lot. With just a 30+% Voter turn out my vote counted for -3- Votes as did yours. 2/3’s of Lynnwood’s registered voters are apparently “Not Concerned” and “Don’t Wish to Get Involved”.

    The “Power of Incumbency” is surprisingly strong!!!

    A. Sutton out of office for two years leads Coelho! Sutton with only a Minimum of Campaigning. Both Sutton and Coelho spent only a few $’s campaigning.
    B. Patrick Decker in office only a few months leads Lashgari. Decker did Campaign well and Smart. Both Decker and Lashgari spent only a few $’s in their campaigns. Both Campaigns were very cost effective.
    C. Utter -8- Years out of office pulled 40+% of the Vote with only a few $’s in the face of Binda who spent $21,000.00 +or about -4- times what the average candidate spent. However there is “Much Doubt” about how much of Benda’s campaign $$ actually went in to running for office.

    Binda also benefited from the Seattle Based News Media. Earlier this Spring Jesse Jones {FOX 13} produced a news profile of Binda that was a thinly disguised campaign ad.

    More Recently King 5 {I believe} produced a news spot for Binda that also gave some time to Lisa Utter. Here again a thinly disguised ad for Binda. Once Again Seattle Progressive interests interfering with Lynnwood City Politics. Apparently Seattle is trying to “Export Dysfunctional City Council Government” to Lynnwood.

    I’m not sure Binda is a Progressive. I think he may just be a “Binda Promoter.”

    I’m from Alaska. Thus I benefited from elections with high voter turnout {70+%}. I’m going to work to develop a “Get Out the Vote” movement for Lynnwood!! Are you Interested?

    1. Pragmatic and equitable solutions to challenges that face each city is to me more important than any political label such as “progressive”, “conservative”, etc.

      If voters (and in some instances endorsers) can’t discern that some candidates are under-qualified, the problem is US!
      I recall hearing “I will make sure that they have a seat at the table”, “I am very passionate about…” and other vacuous statements, without specific facts, and how their experience would help them to figure out and negotiate with others optimal solutions.

      So this election is behind us. My hope is that while volunteering with already-established organizations such as League of Women Voters, or elsewhere, each of us can do the right thing and stay informed about what is going on in cities / neighboring cities that we care about — same with non-municipal topics that we have strong feelings about.

      And I certainly hope the candidates I agree with who didn’t get elected will also lead that type of community involvement so I can do background things that fit my personality type. Lastly, kudos to every candidate who worked hard and with integrity–brave souls indeed!

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