OLYMPIA — The state Public Disclosure Commission has dropped Franklin County from its investigation of public agencies that failed to turn in lobbying disclosure reports.
The county was among 68 public agencies or local governments named in a complaint filed by the conservative Evergreen Freedom Foundation in July.
The PDC hasn't penalized Franklin County for failing to submit the reports on time for five different years. Lori Anderson, its spokeswoman, said the commission still is investigating allegations against only four of the 68 agencies named in the complaint.
Those agencies are Seattle Public Schools, the city of Auburn, Metro Parks Tacoma and Puget Sound Partnership, a state agency charged with determining how to clean up Puget Sound, she said.
The Evergreen Freedom Foundation alleged the 68 agencies collectively failed to report $4 million in lobbying expenditures from 2001-09.
The complaints were filed by Preston Mui, a summer fellow with the foundation, who discovered the discrepancies while compiling information for a report on taxpayer-funded lobbying.
In August, Franklin County commissioners submitted the forms reporting payments of $3,600 per year to lobbyist James Potts of Spokane for 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2009.
The commissioners pay Potts $300 per month to lobby the Legislature for the county.
Commission Chairman Brad Peck said the missing reports were an "administrative oversight."
The commissioners decided in August to assign the chairman the responsibility of submitting lobbying reports in the future to avoid having it fall through the cracks again.
Franklin County hasn't submitted the report for lobbying during the 2010 legislative session yet, Anderson said. But that isn't due until the last day of February.
Commissioners have hired Potts to lobby for them again during the upcoming legislative session.
The commission has not received the lobbyist registration form for the 2011 session, Anderson said. That form is due within 30 days of signing a contract for lobbying or before beginning lobbying, whichever comes first.