FILE - Washington Capitol Building

The Washington state capitol building in Olympia, Washington.

(The Center Square) — Washington has won a six-figure settlement in its court fight with Twitter over disputed campaign finance practices by the social media company.

Twitter will pay out $100,000 to the state's Public Disclosure Transparency Account for several alleged political campaign finance violations, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced on Tuesday morning.

Between 2012 and 2019, Twitter was paid about $200,000 for campaign ads in Washington state, according to the lawsuit.  

In Washington, political advertisers must retain records related to political ads for public inspection.

In its ruling, the King County Superior Court found that Twitter did not have on hand the required records for 38 Washington candidates and committees for political advertising on Twitter for nearly the past decade.

Twitter has not run paid political ads since October 2019 after a decision made by its CEO, Jack Dorsey.

Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the case.

“Transparency in political advertising is critical to a free and informed electorate,” Ferguson said. “Whether you are a local newspaper or a multinational social media platform, you must follow our campaign finance laws.”

The state's Public Disclosure Commission implemented rules for digital political advertisers last year.

These rules requires companies to maintain and release, upon request, the names and addresses of political ad campaign sponsors, the campaigns' full costs, and payment methods, among other information.

Since 2018, the Washington attorney general's office has required a referral from the state's Public Disclosure Commission before it can assume the power to enforce state campaign finance laws.

Facebook faces two similar campaign finance lawsuits from the state, which a King County Superior Court judge ruled in August can proceed.

Both Facebook and Google have paid around $200,000 in settlements to the state in 2018 for allegedly failing to record Washington political ad expenditures on their platforms since 2013.

To date, the Washington Attorney General's Office has brought in more than $2.3 million from campaign finance case settlements.

Staff Reporter

Tim Gruver is a politics and public policy reporter. He is a University of Washington alum and the recipient of the 2017 Pioneer News Award for Reporting. His work has appeared in Politico, the Kitsap Daily News, and the Northwest Asian Weekly.