Politics Blog

Whatcom councilor Brenner turns herself in to PDC

Longtime Whatcom County Council member Barbara Brenner violated campaign rules by discussing this year’s election on her council office phone.

The state Public Disclosure Commission issued a warning to the candidate after receiving a complaint from Brenner herself.

Brenner said last week the incident was a good reminder to always separate elections work from council office work. She broke from her usual form — not announcing whether she will run until it’s time to file with the county auditor to appear on the ballot — by calling me late on Friday, April 24, to say she will seek re-election. Brenner has been on the council since 1992. Since no one challenged her on filing week, May 11-15, Brenner will serve a seventh consecutive four-year term.

The Public Disclosure Commission on Tuesday, May 26, said it had given Brenner a warning. The commission received Brenner’s self-complaint on April 29 and issued its decision the same day, spokeswoman Lori Anderson said.

“She used a county telephone to call a reporter ... to discuss her campaign. She has been warned about not doing that again, and that’s the end of it,” Anderson said.

Anderson read from the commission’s response letter over the phone:

“To place one phone call does not amount to a material violation warranting further action,” Anderson said. A similar act in the future could result in an enforcement action, the letter said.