OLYMPIA – The State of Washington and the Washington Education Association (WEA) announced today that they have settled a dispute stemming from campaign finance charges brought eight years ago against the Washington Education Association.
In 2000, the state filed charges against the Washington Education Association, seeking fines and attorneys’ fees. The WEA challenged the constitutionality of the law in question. The trial court ruled in 2001 that the WEA had violated a state campaign finance statute. The Washington Court of Appeals and Supreme Court held the statute to be unconstitutional. In 2007, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that the law was valid but did not rule specifically on WEA’s compliance with the law. The Washington State Legislature amended the same law at issue in the case in 2007.
Under the terms of the settlement, WEA will pay the state $735,000 to resolve the litigation. In addition, WEA will return up to $240,000 to eligible agency fee payers during the 2003 – 2007 school years. These funds have been held in escrow during the time that the appeals were pending. Rebate amounts to those eligible agency fee payers who cannot be located will be paid to the Department of Revenue’s Unclaimed Property Fund. The agreement also provides for audits and other safeguards. The settlement eliminates the need for further court action to resolve remaining issues, and brings this case to an end.
The State and the WEA anticipate rebate checks should be mailed within the next six months to eligible agency fee payers. Any agency fee payer dispute as to the amount or entitlement is to be resolved between the WEA and the agency fee payer.
State of Washington - Janelle Guthrie, Attorney General’s Office, Communications Director: (360) 586-0725
Washington Education Association – Rich Wood, Media Relations Specialist: (253) 765-7042