Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney admits campaign violations

Sheriff Adam Fortney

Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney has admitted to reelection campaign violations and agreed to pay a fine to the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) in order to avoid an enforcement hearing.

According to PDC reports, commission staff received a complaint against the Adam Fortney for Sheriff campaign — filed in May by Marylou Eckart — that his campaign failed to file in a timely manner and accurately report contributions and violations on PDC reports. At the time, staff concluded that the complaint did not amount to a violation warranting further investigation. However, the PDC did issue a formal written warning concerning his actions.

Then, in August, Angela Robinson filed two complaints: The first, filed Aug. 17, alleged that the Adam Fortney for Sheriff campaign received seven contributions that exceeded the contribution limit of $1,200 as required by state law — for a total of $4,600 in excess donations. The second, filed Aug. 26, accused the Fortney campaign of “concealing contributions in efforts to retain contributions received over the allowable contribution limit.”

In a signed statement of understanding dated Nov. 1, Fortney admitted his campaign violated state law “by failing to timely and correctly file campaign reports…and  “disclosing contributions and expenditures undertaken by the campaign.” The campaign also violated state law by accepting over-limit contributions from campaign donors, Fortney said.

In a statement of understanding sent to the PDC, Fortney acknowledged that the campaign violated Washington law as described and agreed to pay a combined civil penalty of $450 for the violations “in lieu of a hearing.” He also noted that his campaign has filed amended PDC reports addressing the violations and refunded contributors who donated over the allowed $1,200 contribution limit.

A first-term sheriff, Fortney is facing Deputy Bothell Police Chief Susanna Johnson on the Nov. 7 election ballot. The PDC gave Johnson’s campaign a written warning in January 2023 following a complaint by Glen Morgan stating that the campaign failed to submit her personal financial affairs statement to the commission within the first two weeks of her candidacy.

— By Teresa Wippel 

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