Our Voice: Political background checks make sense

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CandidateVerification Newsletter #2

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Tacoma News Tribune

FROM THE EDITORIAL BOARD

Employers usually perform some sort of background check on job applicants to make sure that their resumes match up with reality.

That’s only wise; a 2012 study found that more than half of résumés and job applications included falsifications, such as fraudulent degrees.

Consider a different kind of job application. Doesn’t it make sense for voters to be confident in the people they “hire” (read, “elect”) to the Legislature, Congress, or even grass-roots positions on local councils or school boards? Before donating to candidates, wouldn’t you like to know that they don’t have a criminal background and that they’re being honest about their education, background and job history?

As the recent case involving South Sound legislator Graham Hunt showed, candidates can be as tempted to inflate their résumés as any eager job-seeker. But the average voter doesn’t have the ability or resources to do background checks that might find discrepancies in the records of scores of candidates.

Enter Candidate Verification, a Bellevue-based nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that works with a national background screening company, Talentwise, to corroborate candidates’ résumés. Background checks cover criminal records and verify education, employment, professional credentials and military service, including medals and tours of duty.

Inflation of military records is one of the more common discrepancies, according to David Doud, executive director of Candidate Verification.

Candidates can sign up for the background checks at no cost and are able to see a copy of the results before authorizing release and inclusion on the Candidate Verification database. A dispute resolution process is available if a candidate challenges any results.

Organizations can partner with Candidate Verification to perform background checks on office-seekers before endorsing or donating to them – with the candidate’s permission. That happened in Tacoma in the November school board election.

Before Stand For Children Washington endorsed, candidates were asked whether they would be willing to undergo a background check. Andrea Cobb, a candidate the group eventually endorsed, was able to cite the background report in her campaign advertising – like a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Candidates can link their report to online voters guides like Ballotpedia and include it in their fund-raising appeals.

More candidates should take advantage of the service in the run-up to the November election – and challenge their opponents to be as equally transparent. Voters might decide to give extra scrutiny to candidates who refuse background checks.

If Candidate Verification checks become more widespread, that can only help make voters more confident in the political system. It’s disheartening and disillusioning to find out the truth about a candidate only after the election.


Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/editorials/article60965792.html#storylink=cpy

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CandidateVerification Encourages all 2016 Candidates to Verify their Backgrounds

The resignation of Washington Rep. Graham Hunt, R-Orting, over dramatic misrepresentations of his military service provides yet another reminder for why the voting public needs a means of verifying the candidates’ resumes for public office.

“The exaggeration, misrepresentation and outright falsification of candidates’ backgrounds occur far too often in our elections, and the public usually learns of these deceptions long after the votes are cast,” said David Doud, executive director of CandidateVerification, a non-partisan, non-profit corporation that builds greater transparency in elections by inviting candidates to participate in a free background check. “Our process seeks to change that, and to bring to the election process a much-needed measure of confidence that candidates actually have the qualifications and experience they claim to have.”  

“Today, it’d be almost unimaginable to purchase a used car without consulting CARFAX, yet we’ve become accustomed to taking at face value the unverified claims of candidates for public office,” said Ron Dotzauer, a member of the CandidateVerification board. “How is it possible that we have greater confidence in the claims of used car sellers than in potential public officials? The public should demand more.”

Last year was a record year of participation and expansion for CandidateVerification. The group helped over 75 candidates from across the state verify their qualifications for the public offices they sought, and achieved participation of 90 percent of candidates in Spokane, 70 percent of candidates in Yakima, 60 percent of candidates in King County, and traction in Snohomish and Pierce counties.

“With election season kicking into high gear, the public will be assessing the qualifications of dozens of candidates for public office,” said Lisa Macfarlane, a member of the CandidateVerification board . “To eliminate any potential doubt in the voters’ minds about whether they are truly suited to hold public office, we encourage all political candidates in Washington to register with CandidateVerification.”  

CandidateVerification’s Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)-approved self-authorized background checks include a Multi-State Instant Criminal Check, a check of the National Sex Offender Registry, a Criminal Federal and County search (10-Year Address History), a Civil Federal and County search (10-Year Address History), as well as verification of key resume items such as education, employment, professional credentials, and military service records.  CandidateVerification also offers candidates a safe forum from which to disclose prior criminal convictions and other adverse information.

Contact Information: David Doud, cvodavid@gmail.com, 4254401244

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CandidateVerification Newsletter #1

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Yakima Herald

Oft-opposing groups cooperate on candidate background checks

This summer, Yakima residents will be witness to the most diverse set of council candidates in the city’s history. The court-mandated redistricting has brought about seven new council districts, only three of which will include a sitting incumbent on the ballot. The process has inspired a large number of first-time candidates to test themselves in the arena of local elections. To see this number of residents willing to give of their time and energy to serve their community should give us hope for our community’s future leadership.

The Central Washington Home Builders Association (CWHBA) and Progressive Majority Washington organizations typically support candidates with differing philosophies. But in this election, we are working together to ensure voters have the most accurate information possible on candidates running this year. It is our intent to emphasize the enormous benefit of transparency and disclosure to every candidate.

CandidateVerification.org

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CWHBA and Progressive Majority WA

Central Washington Home Builders Association and Progressive Majority taking The Lead in Yakima on Candidate Transparency(Yakima, Wash.) – The Board of Directors of the Central Washington Home Builders Association (CWHBA) made the decision this week to modify its candidate endorsement policy to include mandatory background checks for anyone seeking election support going forward. Also joining the bandwagon is the Progressive Majority.The background checks are free and self-authorized by the candidates. The CWHBA and Progressive Majority are partnering with Candidate Verification, a non-profit 501C3 organization based in Seattle to make this requirement possible. Once the candidate has had the opportunity to review his or her background check, Candidate Verification will then post it online for the public to see.

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Spokane Home Builders Association Taking the Lead on Candidate Transparency

(Spokane, Wash.) – The Board of Directors of the Spokane Home Builders Association (SHBA) made the decision this week to modify its candidate endorsement policy to include mandatory background checks for anyone seeking election support going forward.  The background checks are free and self-authorized by the candidates. The SHBA is partnering with Candidate Verification, a non-profit 501C3 organization based in Seattle to make this requirement possible. Once the candidate has had the opportunity to review his or her background check, Candidate Verification will then post it online for the public to see.

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CandidateVerification builds upon successful year

Election transparency service seeks to expand to top 10 WA counties in 2015

Campaign veterans Ron Dotzauer and Alex Hays join board

 Bellevue, WA. January 23, 2015 -  CandidateVerification.org, a non-partisan, non-profit corporation that builds greater transparency in elections by inviting candidates to participate in a free background check, is preparing to expand its service reach in 2015. After a strong year in King County in 2014, the organization seeks to offer a free online background check to all candidates for state and local office in the top 10 counties of Washington.  

According to Executive Director David Doud, www.CandidateVerification.org helps create greater levels of trust in candidates for public office.  “In 2014, we had a 60 percent voluntary participation rate by King County candidates for public office – from both sides of the aisle,” said Doud. “We played a significant role in correcting and deterring candidates’ exaggerated claims about their background, qualifications or experience during the campaign. With the proper funding, we plan to build upon this success in 2015 – not only to pave the way for even greater candidate participation in the 2016 elections, but to demonstrate an innovative new model to the rest of the country.”

In addition, CandidateVerification.org has added two notable political heavyweights to its board of directors: Ron Dotzauer, the co-founder and CEO of the public affairs firm Strategies 360, and Alex Hays, the executive director of the Mainstream Republicans of Washington.

“As someone with a career dedicated to working with thousands of candidates at all levels of government, I believe CandidateVerification.org can do for politics what CARFAX has done for the automotive industry,” said Dotzauer.

“At a minimum, candidates for public office should go through the same background verification as coaches at our local boys and girls clubs," Hays said.

The Washington State Farm Bureau has also recently joined the board of directors, and will be encouraging their county chapters to add CandidateVerification.org to their 2015 endorsement process. 

 

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The Desert Sun

Indian Wells candidate Craig Kelliher pulls out of race

Kelliher said he was also turned off by the “strong-arming” of Ed Doran, a local resident and editor of the online Indian Wells Times blog, to participate in a candidate verification program that requires a background check.

“I don’t have a problem with the verification. I have gone through background checks before,” said Kelliher. “I don’t feel like it’s right.”

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