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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Background Checks: As Important in Politics as They are in Business

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As the CEO of TalentWise and with a long family history of public service, I was happy to meet a father at my son’s school who was interested in applying the best practices of employment background screening to politics.  I was more than a little surprised to learn that the electoral process is void of any formal background checks, despite being a standard practice in both the private sector and for government employees.  Today I serve on the board of his non-profit venture, CandidateVerification, and have witnessed first-hand that our work at TalentWise provides value not only to HR professionals and their businesses, but also improves the underlying ecosystem of our democracy. 

Last year, through a pilot project launched with a local candidate rating agency, candidates were asked to participate in a free background check provided by non-partisan CandidateVerification.org.  2014 has seen more traction as one county party and three political action committees (PACs) have joined the movement, leading to an over 60% participation rate by Washington State legislative candidates. As November 4th nears, more candidates and PACs are joining the movement.  This has not been easy, but momentum is building.

In every election cycle, candidates from all parties and walks of life have been caught hiding embarrassing information from the voters.  In line with private sector industry statistics, the majority of cases involve discrepancies around job titles, degrees earned, and professional credentials.  Not surprising, the results from our 2014 candidates corroborate those numbers, which is why I am proud to devote my time and the power of our TalentWise solution to this public good. 

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Bellingham Herald

Nonprofit conducts background checks on candidates

Schools routinely conduct checks on parent volunteers, seeking to flag sex offenders or serious criminals before allowing them to have contact with kids. Running for political office is not the same thing, but the act of putting your name on a ballot confers a certain message: Trust me, I want to be in the government.

Background checks are not routine for political candidates. Voters must rely on their own judgment, any initiative taken by their local media to expose criminal histories, or the investigations undertaken by a candidate’s opposition.

Entering the breach is a nonprofit called CandidateVerification, which has gotten dozens of Washington state candidates to submit to a check of their backgrounds, including past criminal and civil cases, and education and employment histories.

As CandidateVerification board members Noel Frame and Erin McCallum said in an Oct. 2 op-ed in The Seattle Times,


Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/10/09/3903426/nonprofit-conducts-background.html#storylink=cpy

 

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The Herald of Everett

This fall, citizens will elect representatives for the state Legislature and many local office positions.  As campaign veterans who typically are on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, we are optimistic to see best practices gaining traction during this 2014 campaign cycle.
Last year, through a pilot project launched with the Municipal League of King County, candidates were asked to voluntarily participate in a free background check that would verify key qualifications for public office, such as work history and education credentials, as well as check for any criminal background. This service, provided by non-partisan non-profit group Candidate Verification, has now expanded to include partnerships with four more groups and helped achieve a 60 percent rate of participation by 2014 Washington state legislative candidates.
CandidateVerification.org, the group's website, is designed to build greater transparency in elections. Ultimately, its work will help raise the confidence bar and increase voter participation in elections.
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Seattle Times

Verify political candidates’ backgrounds

THIS fall, citizens will elect representatives for the state Legislature and many local office positions.

As campaign veterans who typically are on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, we are optimistic about seeing greater transparency during this 2014 campaign cycle.

Last year, through a pilot project launched in cooperation with the Municipal League of King County, candidates were asked to voluntarily participate in a free background check that would verify key qualifications for public office, such as work history and education credentials, as well as check for any criminal background.

This service, provided by the nonpartisan nonprofit CandidateVerification, has now expanded to include partnerships with four more groups and helped achieve a 60 percent rate of participation by Washington’s 2014 state legislative candidates.

CandidateVerification.org, the group’s website, is designed to build greater transparency in elections. Ultimately, its work will help raise the confidence bar and increase voter participation in elections.

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Indian Wells Times

Candidate Verification – (8) Comments – below

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Municipal League Partners with CandidateVerification

August 5, 2013

At the beginning of July, the Municipal League of King County released our ratings for candidates running for local elected office in an attempt to answer the central question facing voters: How well might a candidate do the job? Our process is similar to a job interview – with a diverse group of citizens serving as the hiring managers. The result has been called a "Better Business Bureau" for voters.

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Municipal League Partners with CandidateVerification

Municipal League Partners with CandidateVerification

Raising the Bar on Ratings

At the beginning of July, the Municipal League of King County released our ratings for candidates running for local elected office in an attempt to answer the central question facing voters: How well might a candidate do the job? Our process is similar to a job interview – with a diverse group of citizens serving as the hiring managers. The result has been called a “Better Business Bureau” for voters.

To ensure the Municipal League’s non-partisan ratings provide the most accurate information for local voters, we partnered this year with the non-profit CandidateVerification to add background checks to our candidate evaluation process.

Candidates from across the county were invited to undergo a background check, at no cost to them, and share the results with the Municipal League. Half of the candidates who were invited to participate agreed and were willing to share their information with us. We look forward to having even more candidates participate in this process in years to come.

Every election cycle, a few candidates try to hide or embellish part of their background. Rather than simply waiting for the next ‘October Surprise’, the Municipal League believes it is up to the citizen hiring managers and other endorsement groups to improve the process.  Unless we adopt the best practices of the private sector and use them in elections, we are part of the problem.

Like the general population, politicians are prone to resume inflation and omission: According to recent study conducted by Accu-Screen, Inc., ADP, and The Society of Human Resource Managers, 78% of resumes are misleading, 53% of resumes and job applications contain falsifications, and 21% of resumes state fraudulent degrees on their resume. That is why some 80% of employers require a background check as part of their hiring process.

The CandidateVerification process uses the same platform adopted by governments and corporations hiring new employees. They check 10 years’ worth of federal and county criminal and civil records on each candidate, plus the national sex-offender registry, as well as verify employment, degrees, and professional credentials.

On the heels of a successful pilot project in 2013, next year the Municipal League plans to make CandidateVerification’s background checks a formal part of our program, and to make these background checks available for all candidates we evaluate. Washington State has a rich history of raising the bar on public disclosure in local government. The Municipal League believes that we should expect the same level of transparency from the people who are seeking public office and we are pleased to provide this important information to King County voters.

For more information, visit CandidateVerification’s website at www.candidateverification.org.

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