August 11, 2011 in City

Candidate refuses to disclose funds’ source

Panel investigating council hopeful Bowen
By The Spokesman-Review
 
Late filer

Donna McKereghan, a former member of the state Legislative Ethics Commission, missed by about two weeks the deadline to file a campaign finance summary that was due July 26. It was received by the state Public Disclosure Commission on Monday.

McKereghan said last week that she only had little money to report at the time and wasn’t aware the deadline was approaching. Once she became aware, she had trouble with the commission’s campaign finance software on her new computer.

“These are reasons that it happened,” she said. “They are not excuses.”

A Spokane City Council candidate is refusing to disclose where he’s getting thousands of dollars that he says is funding his campaign.

Chris Bowen, who is running for an open seat representing Northeast Spokane, claimed in a filing with the state Public Disclosure Commission in May to have spent $18,221 and to have another $14,093 on hand. But he hasn’t filed any required paperwork showing where his money comes from or what he has spent it on.

Bowen currently is under investigation by the commission, as a result of a complaint filed by Chuck Skirko, former president of the Spokane County Young Republicans. Skirko’s complaint centers on these paperwork issues and Bowen’s alleged failure to provide other required information.

In an interview in March, Bowen said he was willing to spend $25,000 of his own money on his campaign, but he hasn’t told the commission if the money he reports in his forms is his own.

This isn’t the first time Bowen has dealt with allegations of breaking campaign finance law. He was fined $300 by the commission for violations during his run for state House in 2008.

In response to a reporter’s interview request, Bowen emailed last week that he would not share information about his fundraising.

“Thank you for your interest in my election books,” he wrote. “State law requires that the books are to be shown by appointment. All appointments have been filled for this primary election.”

PDC spokeswoman Lori Anderson said candidates are required to make time for anyone who wants to view their books in the eight days before an election. She added that even if Bowen revealed his campaign books by appointment, he still would have to file required disclosure reports to the commission.

Bowen also has had run-ins with the law.

In 2009, Bowen was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon. An officer wrote on a ticket that Bowen possessed a spring blade knife on Feb. 13, 2009, near Sprague Avenue and Freya Street.

The ticket and other court documents stemming from the incident were on file with Spokane County District Court. A police report about the incident was not immediately available, and record clerks said last week that it could take three months for them to provide a copy of it.

Court records show that Bowen entered into a program allowing the misdemeanor charge to be dismissed if he didn’t commit further crimes for a year and paid a $75 monitoring fee. In June 2009, he was charged with driving with a suspended license, and the probation department was ordered to continue monitoring him as a result, according to court records. The weapon charge was dismissed in August 2010. He paid $550 through bond forfeiture as a result of the suspended license case.

Bowen said the weapons issue was extremely minor.

“The weapon charge was over a key chain knife. It was such a small issue, they let the matter go,” he wrote in an email.

Records show that Bowen was charged with third-degree theft in a case that originated with Eastern Washington University police. A court docket indicates that a Cheney Municipal Court judge deferred a ruling on the charge for six months, and Bowen, who pleaded not guilty, was placed on probation. The case was dismissed in March 2003.


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