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Jensen fined for late filings in Port of Bellingham race

Gary Jensen is pictured during a fall 2015 interview he gave while running for Port of Bellingham commissioner. Jensen was fined $100 by state officials for not filing all campaign contributions on time.
Gary Jensen is pictured during a fall 2015 interview he gave while running for Port of Bellingham commissioner. Jensen was fined $100 by state officials for not filing all campaign contributions on time. swohlfeil@bhamherald.com

Gary Jensen, who ran for Port of Bellingham commissioner in 2015 and lost to opponent Bobby Briscoe, must pay $100 in fines for not filing all campaign contributions with state officials in a timely manner.

Jensen, who filed electronic reports with the Public Disclosure Commission during his 2007 and 2011 runs for mayor of Ferndale, did not properly file all reports for his 2015 run for commission electronically or on the required deadlines.

His treasurer, Suzanne Nevan, had never served as a campaign treasurer before and said she tried to call the PDC several times for help figuring out the electronic filing system, to no avail.

“This is not wrongdoing, this is a novice treasurer who didn’t have adequate training,” said Nevan, who suggested the PDC offer more training on the electronic system.

She mailed paper reports, which is acceptable for candidates who spend less than $5,000 on a campaign, and later filed electronically. Jensen spent $19,618.22 on the campaign.

Additionally, Nevan said her father was sick throughout the summer and the family thought they might lose him at several times. He died around the time of the PDC enforcement hearing in mid-April.

“I have been distracted and truly attempted to do my best in this role for the campaign,” Nevan said. “I take full responsibility for coming up short.”

Jensen was fined $300 on April 21, with $200 excused as long as he does not have another violation in the next four years. That shouldn’t be a problem, as he said he does not plan to run for partisan office again. He has already paid the fine.

“The last election was the first time I’ve ever really been involved in partisan politics,” said Jensen, who ran as a Republican for the partisan commission seat. “I probably leaned Democrat before, but boy, the Democrats were pretty brutal to me. I’m tired of the negativity in politics.”

Samantha Wohlfeil: 360-715-2274, @SAWohlfeil

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