August 5, 2010 in City

David Fox’s filing-fee bill outstanding

Candidate has 30 days to pay before interest starts
By The Spokesman-Review

A Democratic candidate for Eastern Washington’s congressional seat is getting a past-due notice from the state this week because the check for his $1,740 filing fee bounced.

David R. Fox, a Port Angeles attorney who moved to Spokane to run against Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, is being warned to pay up in 30 days or see a 1 percent per month interest charge tacked onto the filing fee.

If he doesn’t pay in 60 days, the state will send the bill to a collection agency, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office said.

The state Elections Office has been trying to get the filing fee from Fox since early July, when the check he wrote was returned for insufficient funds, e-mail correspondence between the office and the candidate indicates. After the check bounced, Fox failed to supply a credit card account to which the filing fee could be charged, an elections worker wrote.

He replied that the office “should get your payment shortly.” When the elections worker asked when and how it would be sent, Fox replied that a relative, who is a Republican, “stole my $16,000 carrot rent check in March. Just as soon as the wheat crops come in you will get all of your money.”

Fox is a member of an Othello-area family that has operated a wheat farm for generations. Until filing for office, however, he lived in Port Angeles, where his law practice consisted primarily of pro bono work.

Efforts to contact Fox and his relatives were unsuccessful.

Bouncing a check for a candidate filing fee is “very uncommon,” David Ammons of the secretary of state’s office said, because candidates without the money can claim indigence and collect signatures in lieu of the fee. “We never look behind the declaration.”

Bouncing a check for the filing fee does not bar a candidate from the primary ballot under state law. Should Fox finish first or second in the Aug. 17 top-two primary, his name would be on the Nov. 2 ballot even if his fee remains unpaid. The state can continue collection proceedings whether he wins or loses.

Fox is on the ballot with three other Democrats and one Constitution Party candidate trying to oust McMorris Rodgers, a Republican in her third term. Last week he called police to report he was assaulted after making sexual advances to a Spokane man.

A police report says Fox acknowledged asking the man for sex in a park area near downtown, but didn’t understand why he was assaulted because “I asked him nicely.”

Local Democratic officials have tried to put as much distance as possible between Fox and the party, saying his entry into the race on the final afternoon of filing week caught them by surprise and they didn’t know him.

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