Politics & Government

Dieringer school board member faces mounting tab for campaign finance violations

A Lake Tapps man has run up a $1,600 tab with the agency that oversees state election laws — all over a school board position that pays $50 a meeting.

The state Public Disclosure Commission ruled Thursday that Monte St. Johns violated state law again this year by failing to submit a personal financial affairs form, which elected officials must file to disclose potential conflicts of interest.

St. Johns, who was first elected to the board of the Dieringer School District in 2013, is running unopposed in his re-election bid this year.

He also violated campaign finance laws by failing to register this year as a candidate, commission members said Thursday.

Members of the Public Disclosure Commission voted Thursday to fine St. Johns $500 for each violation, for a total of $1,000 in new fines.

But it’s not the first time that St. Johns has failed to declare his candidacy or disclose his personal financial affairs.

St. Johns previously was fined $300 in 2013 for failing to file the same paperwork. He was also fined another $300 in 2014 for failing to file his personal financial disclosure form yet again.

The financial disclosure forms, known as F-1s, must be filed annually for candidates and incumbent elected officials.

According to a PDC memorandum, St. Johns has yet to pay any of his previous fines, which have been sent to collections.

St. Johns didn’t respond to a reporter’s email or phone message asking him about the violations Thursday.

(UPDATE: Monte St. Johns sent an email to The News Tribune Monday saying, “this is simply an administrative error that I keep thinking we (can) get resolved.”

“I will be getting with The team at the PDC soon,” wrote St. Johns, who said he was in Cabo San Lucas last week and wasn’t available to answer questions. “I'm new to all of this so not sure why this keeps coming up.”)

A spokeswoman for the PDC said that St. Johns has 30 days to file the forms and pay the new fines.

If he doesn’t, the PDC has the option of asking the state Attorney General to take him to court, the PDC spokeswoman said.