Any person who has notified the appropriate ethics board and the attorney general in writing that there is reason to believe that RCW 42.52.180 is being or has been violated may, in the name of the state, bring a citizen action for any of the actions authorized under this chapter. A citizen action may be brought only if the appropriate ethics board or the attorney general have failed to commence an action under this chapter within forty-five days after notice from the person, the person has thereafter notified the appropriate ethics board and the attorney general that the person will commence a citizen's action within ten days upon their failure to commence an action, and the appropriate ethics board and the attorney general have in fact failed to bring an action within ten days of receipt of the second notice. An action is deemed to have been commenced when the appropriate ethics board or the board's executive director accepts a complaint for filing and initiates a preliminary investigation.
If the person who brings the citizen's action prevails, the judgment awarded shall escheat to the state, but the person shall be entitled to be reimbursed by the state of Washington for costs and attorneys' fees incurred. If a citizen's action that the court finds was brought without reasonable cause is dismissed, the court may order the person commencing the action to pay all costs of trial and reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the defendant.
Upon commencement of a citizen action under this section, at the request of a state officer or state employee who is a defendant, the office of the attorney general shall represent the defendant if the attorney general finds that the defendant's conduct complied with this chapter and was within the scope of employment.
[2013 c 190 § 5; 1994 c 154 § 216.]
| Finding -- 2013 c 190: See note following RCW 42.52.410.|