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42.17A.760  <<  42.17A.765 >>   42.17A.770

RCW 42.17A.765

Enforcement.

(1) The attorney general and the prosecuting authorities of political subdivisions of this state may bring civil actions in the name of the state for any appropriate civil remedy, including but not limited to the special remedies provided in RCW 42.17A.750.

     (2) The attorney general and the prosecuting authorities of political subdivisions of this state may investigate or cause to be investigated the activities of any person who there is reason to believe is or has been acting in violation of this chapter, and may require any such person or any other person reasonably believed to have information concerning the activities of such person to appear at a time and place designated in the county in which such person resides or is found, to give such information under oath and to produce all accounts, bills, receipts, books, paper and documents which may be relevant or material to any investigation authorized under this chapter.

     (3) When the attorney general or the prosecuting authority of any political subdivision of this state requires the attendance of any person to obtain such information or produce the accounts, bills, receipts, books, papers, and documents that may be relevant or material to any investigation authorized under this chapter, he or she shall issue an order setting forth the time when and the place where attendance is required and shall cause the same to be delivered to or sent by registered mail to the person at least fourteen days before the date fixed for attendance. The order shall have the same force and effect as a subpoena, shall be effective statewide, and, upon application of the attorney general or the prosecuting authority, obedience to the order may be enforced by any superior court judge in the county where the person receiving it resides or is found, in the same manner as though the order were a subpoena. The court, after hearing, for good cause, and upon application of any person aggrieved by the order, shall have the right to alter, amend, revise, suspend, or postpone all or any part of its provisions. In any case where the order is not enforced by the court according to its terms, the reasons for the court's actions shall be clearly stated in writing, and the action shall be subject to review by the appellate courts by certiorari or other appropriate proceeding.

     (4) A person who has notified the attorney general and the prosecuting attorney in the county in which the violation occurred in writing that there is reason to believe that some provision of this chapter is being or has been violated may himself or herself bring in the name of the state any of the actions (hereinafter referred to as a citizen's action) authorized under this chapter.

     (a) This citizen action may be brought only if:

     (i) The attorney general and the prosecuting attorney have failed to commence an action hereunder within forty-five days after the notice;

     (ii) The person has thereafter further notified the attorney general and prosecuting attorney that the person will commence a citizen's action within ten days upon their failure to do so;

     (iii) The attorney general and the prosecuting attorney have in fact failed to bring such action within ten days of receipt of said second notice; and

     (iv) The citizen's action is filed within two years after the date when the alleged violation occurred.

     (b) If the person who brings the citizen's action prevails, the judgment awarded shall escheat to the state, but he or she shall be entitled to be reimbursed by the state of Washington for costs and attorneys' fees he or she has incurred. In the case of a citizen's action that is dismissed and that the court also finds was brought without reasonable cause, the court may order the person commencing the action to pay all costs of trial and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the defendant.

     (5) In any action brought under this section, the court may award to the state all costs of investigation and trial, including reasonable attorneys' fees to be fixed by the court. If the violation is found to have been intentional, the amount of the judgment, which shall for this purpose include the costs, may be trebled as punitive damages. If damages or trebled damages are awarded in such an action brought against a lobbyist, the judgment may be awarded against the lobbyist, and the lobbyist's employer or employers joined as defendants, jointly, severally, or both. If the defendant prevails, he or she shall be awarded all costs of trial, and may be awarded reasonable attorneys' fees to be fixed by the court to be paid by the state of Washington.

[2010 c 204 § 1004; 2007 c 455 § 1; 1975 1st ex.s. c 294 § 27; 1973 c 1 § 40 (Initiative Measure No. 276, approved November 7, 1972). Formerly RCW 42.17.400.]