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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

SEIU Accused Of Making More Than $5M In Unreported Political Contributions

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files

Washington’s Attorney General’s Office has filed a major campaign finance lawsuit against the Service Employees International Union. The lawsuit announced late Tuesday accuses SEIU’s State Council of making more than $5 million in unreported campaign contributions.

That includes more than $2 million in contributions in the 2016 election cycle.

The lawsuit says SEIU’s Washington State Council should have registered as a political committee and reported its spending. The State Council coordinates the political and legislative work of SEIU locals across Washington state. SEIU is a major contributor to Democratic campaigns in Washington.

A call to an SEIU spokesperson was not immediately returned. ?

This isn't the first time the Attorney General's office has taken action against SEIU. In 2016, SEIU 925, representing education workers, agreed to pay $31,715 for failing to properly report in-kind and cash campaign contributions. That same year, SEIU 775, representing home health care workers, agreed to pay more than $39,000 for similar violations.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."