(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.
“As an Association that has long advocated for more government transparency, and as one of our region’s strongest and most active political advocacy organizations, it seemed a natural fit to make mandatory background checks a pre-requisite for our endorsement,” said Michael Cathcart, Government Affairs Director for the Spokane Home Builders Association. “We see this as the next evolution of candidate and election transparency and we are excited to be the first in Eastern Washington to sign-on and the second organization in the State to make this mandatory.”
Already implementing mandatory background checks is the Western Washington advocacy organization, Stand for Children. Others encouraging candidates to comply, but not making it mandatory, include: the King County Municipal League, King County Republican Party, Snohomish County REALTORS Association, and Progressive Majority.
“We don’t want to be all alone in this here in Eastern Washington,” added Cathcart. “This is a very non-partisan issue, so we have started the process of reaching out to a broad and bi-partisan range of political, labor, and business organizations that support and endorse candidates and asking them to join us in making candidate transparency a priority. We are calling on the Spokesman Review and the Inlander to join-in as well.”
“This added step is beneficial for the candidate as well as the community,” said Cathcart. “The candidates will benefit because any erroneous information about their background will be kept to a minimum and the community gets to benefit from the certainty and transparency the background checks provide. The voters will actually have a way to verify some of the information candidates are telling them throughout election season.”