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The full case caption appears at the end of this opinion. SMITH, J. Appellants Evergreen Freedom Foundation [FOOTNOTE 1] and Teachers For AResponsible Union [FOOTNOTE 2] seek direct review of orders of summary judgment anddismissal by the Thurston County Superior Court in favor of RespondentSchool Districts [FOOTNOTE 3] and Washington Education Associations [FOOTNOTE 4] in a lawsuit byAppellants claiming violation by Respondents of RCW 42.17.680(3) inwithholding funds from wages or salaries for political contributionswithout obtaining annual written authorizations. The Superior Courtconcluded that the WEA, in its capacity as a labor organization, did notviolate RCW 42.17.680(3) because the statute applies only to an ‘employeror other person or entity responsible for the disbursement of funds inpayment of wages or salaries.’ Additionally, the court concluded thatRespondent School Districts did not violate section 680(3) because WAC 390-17-100, the rule promulgated by the Public Disclosure Commission toimplement the statute, is entitled to great weight and the School Districtshave complied with it. We affirm. QUESTIONS PRESENTED The questions presented in this case are: (1) Whether the Washington Education Association, in itscapacity as a labor organization, is an ‘other person or entity responsiblefor the disbursement of funds in payment of wages or salaries’ under RCW42.17.680(3), which requires annual written authorization from members forpayroll deductions by employers from wages or salaries for politicalcontributions. (2) Whether WAC 390-17-100, promulgated by the Public DisclosureCommission (PDC) to implement RCW 42.17.680(3), properly requires anemployer to obtain annual written authorization from employees for payrolldeductions for political contributions only when payment from thedeductions is made to a political committee required to report underchapter 42.17 RCW or a candidate for state or local office. STATEMENT OF FACTS The facts in this case are not disputed. RCW 42.17.680(3) wasenacted as a consequence of passage of Initiative 134 as section 8 of theFair Campaign Practices Act on November 3, 1992. [FOOTNOTE 5] In the 1991 legislative session, Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill5864 was introduced to regulate political contributions, campaignexpenditures and advertising. [FOOTNOTE 6] The bill, the original version of whichlater became Initiative 134, passed the Senate on March 15, 1991. [FOOTNOTE 7] TheHouse referred the bill back to the Senate where it remained withoutfurther action through expiration of the 1991 legislative session. [FOOTNOTE 8] In 1992, senators from one political party sponsored Initiative 134. [FOOTNOTE 9]The required signatures were obtained on the petition to the Legislaturefor the initiative to be placed on the November 1992 ballot. [FOOTNOTE 10] Initiative134 was passed by popular vote onNovember 3, 1992 by a margin of seventy-two percent. Before Initiative 134 was passed in 1992, the Washington EducationAssociation (WEA) made political contributions through a registeredpolitical committee, Political Unity of Leaders in State Education (PULSE). [FOOTNOTE 11]At that time, PULSE was funded by automatic payroll deductions from thesalaries or wages of WEA members who were state employees. [FOOTNOTE 12] There was norequirement for annual reauthorization of PULSE deductions. After passageof Initiative 134, the WEA determined it was then required to obtain annualwritten authorization from its members before making further automaticpayroll deductions for PULSE. [FOOTNOTE 13] The WEA dissolved PULSE in 1994 [FOOTNOTE 14] and established two new entities:the Washington Education Association-Political Action Committee (WEA-PAC) [FOOTNOTE 15]and the Political Education Fund, later renamed the Community OutreachProgram (COP). [FOOTNOTE 16] WEA-PAC is funded by a separate payroll deduction forwhich the WEA obtains annual written authorizations from employee-members. [FOOTNOTE 17]COP is funded by ‘a special assessment on members’ and not from a mandatorygeneral membership dues deduction. [FOOTNOTE 18] Employees within the WEAbargaining units who choose not to becomeWEA members are assessed a separate ‘agency shop fee,’ [FOOTNOTE 19] which does notinclude a COP assessment, [FOOTNOTE 20] as provided in collective bargaining agreementswith employee-members and under RCW 41.59.100. In this case, the WEA has negotiated collective bargainingagreements on behalf of the recognized bargaining units of RespondentSchool Districts’ certificated employees affiliated with it. [FOOTNOTE 21] Under thecollective bargaining agreements, Respondent School Districts, throughpayroll deductions, withhold WEA general membership dues and agency shopfees of non-WEA members in the amounts determined by the WEA. [FOOTNOTE 22] The WEAfacilitates the payroll deduction process [FOOTNOTE 23] and supplies the RespondentSchool Districts with membership manuals, rosters, various enrollmentinformation, dues distribution information and written authorization forms.The school districts’ payroll officers transmit withheld funds to the WEAor its designees under terms of the collective bargaining agreements. [FOOTNOTE 24] The WEA, COP, Uniserv Councils, and localeducation associations which receive funds withheld by Respondent SchoolDistricts have never registered as ‘political committees’ under chapter42.17 RCW nor have they been candidates for state or local politicaloffices. [FOOTNOTE 25] Since August 30, 1993, an administrative rule promulgated by thePublic Disclosure Commission, WAC 390-17-100, has required employers toobtain annual written authorizations from employees for payroll deductionsfor political purposes only when a recipient is a registered politicalcommittee under chapter 42.17 RCW or a candidate for state or local office. [FOOTNOTE 26] Respondent School Districts acknowledge they are ‘employers’ under RCW42.17.680(3) and Chapter 41.59 RCW, the Educational Employment RelationsAct. [FOOTNOTE 27] On June 24, 1997, Appellants Evergreen Freedom Foundation andTeachers For A Responsible Union [FOOTNOTE 28] filed in the Thurston County SuperiorCourt a complaint against Respondents School Districts and EducationAssociation for campaign finance, reporting and contribution violations ofchapter 42.17 RCW. [FOOTNOTE 29] Their amendedcomplaint filed on December 17, 1997 claimed several violations, includingviolation of RCW 42.17.680(3) by the WEA and Respondent School Districtsfor withholding funds from wages or salaries to be used for politicalcommittees or for use as political contributions without obtaining annualwritten authorizations. [FOOTNOTE 30] Respondent Education Association filed its answerto the original complaint on August 12, 1997. [FOOTNOTE 31] The answer of RespondentSchool Districts [FOOTNOTE 32] to that complaint was filed on November 13, 1997. [FOOTNOTE 33] BothRespondents denied each of the claimed violations of chapter 42.17 RCW. On January 9, 1998, the Thurston County Superior Court, theHonorable Wm. Thomas McPhee, granted the motion of the Public DisclosureCommission (PDC) to intervene for the limited purpose of opposingAppellants’ motion to add additional causes of action to its amendedcomplaint. [FOOTNOTE 34] The court denied Appellants’ motion. [FOOTNOTE 35] On April 3, 1998, Respondent Education Association, AppellantsEvergreen Freedom Foundation, Respondent School Districts and VancouverSchool District filed separate motions. [FOOTNOTE 36] Respondent Education Associationmoved to dismiss the claims in Counts III and IV of Appellants’ amendedcomplaint because the Association is not a ‘political committee.’ [FOOTNOTE 37] Intheir motion for partial summary judgment, Appellants claimed the WEA andRespondent School Districts have violated RCW 42.17.680(3) and that the WEAis a ‘political committee’ under RCW 42.17.020(33). [FOOTNOTE 38] The trial court granted Respondent Education Association’s motion todismiss and denied Appellants’ motion for partial summary judgment on July2, 1998. [FOOTNOTE 39]The court concluded the WEA is not an ‘employer or other person or entityresponsible for the disbursement of funds in payment of wages or salaries,’and is therefore not governed by RCW 42.17.680(3). [FOOTNOTE 40] Relying on the ‘lastantecedent rule’ of statutory construction and the use of the phrase’employer or labor organizations’ in subsections (1) and (2) of thestatute, and its omission in subsection (3), the court concluded thedrafters of the law intended to regulate labor organizations in somerespects but did not intend for subsection (3) to apply to them. [FOOTNOTE 41] In the motions for summary judgment by Respondent School Districtsand the Vancouver School District, they asserted there was no violation ofRCW 42.17.680(3) and that they have complied with the PDC’s rule (WAC 390-17-100). [FOOTNOTE 42] The court granted summary judgment in favor of Respondent SchoolDistricts and the Vancouver School District. [FOOTNOTE 43] The court stated thatalthough RCW 42.17.680(3) contains both ‘patent’ [FOOTNOTE 44] and ‘latent’ [FOOTNOTE 45]ambiguities, the rule promulgated by the PDC as the enforcing agency isentitled to ‘great weight when construing Section .680(3); but the courtstill must make an independent determination about the {school} districts’compliance with the statute.’ [FOOTNOTE 46] The court reasoned that, although theschool districts are ‘employers,’ the funds they deduct without priorannual authorization are not withheld as ‘political contributions’ as thatterm is used in RCW 42.17.680(3) and, accordingly, Respondent SchoolDistricts did not violate the statute by withholding funds for the WEA.The court concluded ‘the {school} districts have complied with Section.680(3) as well as {WAC 390-17-100} . . . {and WAC 390-17-100 which}constru{es} the statute is consistent with the purposes of the Act.’ [FOOTNOTE 47] On July 28, 1998, Appellants moved for final judgment on the RCW42.17.680(3) claims. [FOOTNOTE 48] The court granted final judgment on August 24, 1998dismissing counts III and IV of Appellants’ amended complaint; dismissingRespondent School Districts as defendants; and dismissing the claimsagainst Respondent Education Association for violation of RCW 42.17.680(3). [FOOTNOTE 49] On September 21, 1998, Appellants sought direct review by thisCourt. [FOOTNOTE 50] On October 23, 1998, in response to Appellants’ request fordiscovery, the Superior Court issued a revised order dismissing all claimsconcerning COP because they were resolved in the settlement agreement of aseparate lawsuit, WEA, v. PDC Thurston County Cause Number 96-2-04395-5(Oct. 23, 1998). [FOOTNOTE 51] This Court granted direct appeal in this case on August 31, 1999. [FOOTNOTE 52] DISCUSSION Laws of 1993, ch. 2, sec.8, based upon Initiative 134 passed by thevoters on November 3, 1992, now codified in identical language as RCW42.17.680, reads: 42.17.680 Limitations on employers or labor organizations.{ [FOOTNOTE 53]}(1) No employer or labor organization may increase the salary of anofficer or employee, or give an emolument to an officer, employee, or otherperson or entity, with the intention that the increase in salary, or theemolument, or a part of it, be contributed or spent to support or oppose acandidate, state official against whom recall charges have been filed,political party, or political committee. (2) No employer or labor organization may discriminateagainst an officer or employee in the terms or conditions of employment for(a) the failure to contribute to, (b) the failure in any way to support oroppose, or (c) in any way supporting or opposing a candidate, ballotproposition, political party, or political committee. (3) No employer or other person or entity responsible forthe disbursement of funds in payment of wages or salaries may withhold ordivert a portion of an employee’s wages or salaries for contributions topolitical committees or for use as political contributions except upon thewritten request of the employee. The request must be made on a formprescribed by the commission informing the employee of the prohibitionagainst employer and labor organization discrimination described insubsection (2) of this section. The request is valid for no more thantwelve months from the date it is made by the employee. (4) Each person or entity who withholds contributions undersubsection (3) of this section shall maintain open for public inspectionfor a period of no less than three years, during normal business hours,documents and books of accounts that shall include a copy of eachemployee’s request, the amounts and dates funds were actually withheld, andthe amounts and dates funds were transferred to a political committee.Copies of such information shall be delivered to the commission uponrequest. (Emphasis added.) Appellants Evergreen Freedom Foundation make two main contentions.First, they contend that Respondent Education Association, specifically theWEA, is an ‘employer or other person or entity responsible for thedisbursement of funds in payment of wages or salaries’ and is thereforerequired to comply with RCW 42.17.680(3). Second, they claim the WEA andRespondent School Districts, with which it has collective bargainingagreements, have violated the statute because the school districts deductedWEA general membership dues from the salaries or wages of its employee-members without prior annual written authorization, and transmitted thosedues to the WEA, which in turn utilized them for political contributions. The trial court found no violation of Section 680(3) by eitherRespondent Education Association or Respondent School Districts. [FOOTNOTE 54] APPLICATION OF RCW 42.17.680(3) TO LABOR ORGANIZATIONS In this case, certain claims of Appellants against RespondentEducation Association were dismissed under Court Rule (CR) 12(b)(6) andsummary judgment was granted in favor of Respondent School Districts.Dismissal of a claim under CR 12(b)(6) is reviewed de novo and isappropriate only if ”it appears beyond a reasonable doubt that no factsexist that would justify recovery.” [FOOTNOTE 55] This Court reviews an order ofsummary judgment de novo and engages in the same inquiry as the trialcourt. [FOOTNOTE 56] In doing this, the Court will affirm a summary judgment order’only if the pleadings, affidavits, depositions, and admissions on filedemonstrate there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving partyis entitled to judgment as a matter of law.’ [FOOTNOTE 57] Appellants claim the WEA, in its capacity as a labor organization,is an ‘other person or entity responsible for the disbursement of funds inpayment of wages or salaries’ under RCW 42.17.680(3). They claim the terms’person’ [FOOTNOTE 58] and ‘entity’ [FOOTNOTE 59] are broadly defined and should be interpreted toinclude labor organizations. [FOOTNOTE 60] The WEA concedes it is a ‘person or entity’but argues it is not ‘responsible for the disbursement of funds in paymentof wages or salaries’ to its members. [FOOTNOTE 61] Appellants respond that the statuteshould be broadly construed to effectuate its purposes, which they claimwere to limit the taking of salaries or wages for political purposesopposed by an employee-member and to prevent the consolidation of politicalpower in large organizations such as labor organizations. [FOOTNOTE 62] The WEAcounters that the statute is not ambiguous, and thus an inquiry intolegislative intent is not necessary. But this case does require interpretation of RCW 42.17.680(3) as amatter of law. [FOOTNOTE 63] It has not previously been interpreted by this Court. [FOOTNOTE 64]The basic rules of statutory construction applicable to legislativeenactments also apply to initiatives. [FOOTNOTE 65] The objective of statutoryinterpretation is to execute the intent of the Legislature, which must beprimarily determined from the language of the statute itself. [FOOTNOTE 66] When wordsin a statute are plain and unambiguous, this Court is required to assumethe Legislature meant what it said and apply the statute as written. [FOOTNOTE 67] Section 8 of Initiative 134 was adopted by popular vote and latercodified in identical language as RCW 42.17.680(3). Subsection (3)prohibits those responsible for disbursement of funds in payment ofemployee wages from withholding or diverting a portion of those funds forpolitical contributions. The prohibition of subsection (3) is directed toan ‘employer or other person or entity responsible for the disbursement offunds in payment of wages or salaries.’ The language of subsection (3)does include the words ‘labor organization,’ but does not characterize theorganization as an ‘employer or other person or entity’ paying the wages orsalaries of employees. A review of the entire statute indicates several specific referencesto ‘labor organizations’. In particular, the phrase ‘employer or labororganizations’ appears in both subsections (1) and (2), but the same words’employer or labor organizations’ do not appear in subsection (3), althoughsubsection (3) does refer to ‘employer or labor organizationsdiscrimination.’ [FOOTNOTE 68] In this State general membership dues of a labor organization may beused as a source for political contributions. [FOOTNOTE 69] The Federal ElectionCampaign Act of 1974, [FOOTNOTE 70] 2U.S.C. sec. 441b, to the contrary, prohibits use of corporate funds andlabor organization funds for direct political contributions to federalelection campaigns. The federal statute is clear and unequivocal in itslanguage. Appellants’ argument that subsection (3) of the Washingtonstatute, RCW 42.17.680, was intended to achieve a similar result is notsupported by citation to any authority. Appellants have not identified any ambiguity in RCW 42.17.680 as itrelates to labor organizations. Where there is no ambiguity, the meaningof a statute is derived from its language alone. [FOOTNOTE 71] Where a statute is notambiguous, it is not necessary to resort to legislative history tointerpret it. [FOOTNOTE 72] General rules of statutory construction require avoidance ofunlikely, absurd, or strained results. [FOOTNOTE 73] This Court does not ignore clearstatutory language and will not strain to find an ambiguity where thelanguage of the statute is clear. [FOOTNOTE 74] The plain words in RCW 42.17.680(3), an’employer or other person or entity responsible for the disbursement offunds in payment of wages or salaries,’ does not include labororganizations. Nor are they included in the identical wording ofInitiative 134, section 8 (3). Interpretation OF RCW 42.17.680(3) UNDER WAC 390-17-100 The Public Disclosure Commission promulgated WAC 390-17-100 onauthorizations for withholding political contributions under RCW42.17.680(3). It reads: WAC 390-17-100 Contribution withholding author-izations. (1)For purposes of RCW 42.17.680(3), all political contribution withholdingauthorizations existing on or before January 1, 1993, will expire no laterthan December 31, 1993. Beginning January 1, 1994, each employer or otherperson who withholds or otherwise diverts a portion of wages or salary of aWashington resident or a nonresident whose primary place of work is in thestate of Washington (a) For the purpose of making one or more contributions toany political committee required to report pursuant to RCW 42.17.040,{42.17}.050, {42.17}.060 or {42.17}.090(1)(k), or (b) For use, specifically designated by the contributingemployee, for political contributions to candidates for state or localoffice is required to have on file the written authorization of theindividual subject to the payroll withholding or diversion of wages. (Emphasis added.) Appellants contend that Respondent School Districts violated RCW42.17.680(3) by withholding dues and COP assessment deductions from thesalaries orwages of WEA member-employees without their prior annual writtenauthorization for contributions to ‘political committees’ or for use as’political contributions’ to candidates for state or local office.Respondent School Districts counter that transmitting the withheld funds tothe WEA is not a ‘political contribution’ under subsection (3). Appellantsrespond that, since the WEA makes political contributions from the withheldfunds, the payments to it are necessarily also ‘political contributions.’This is not necessarily so. Respondent School Districts agree with the trial court’s conclusionthat RCW 42.17.680(3) contains both ‘patent’ [FOOTNOTE 75] and ‘latent’ [FOOTNOTE 76] ambiguitieswhich are resolved by the administrative rule promulgated by the PDC. [FOOTNOTE 77]The School Districts’ main argument is that their transmitting WEA generalmembership dues and COP assessmentscomplies with the statute because they have fully complied with WAC 390-17-100. The Districts maintain that WAC 390-17-100 resolves the ambiguitiesof subsection (3) by requiring employers to obtain annual authorizationsfor withholding salaries or wages only if (1) the payee is registered as a’political committee’ with the PDC at the time the payment is made or (2)the payment is made as a designated contribution to a person who is acandidate for state or local political office. The Districts argue thecontrary interpretation suggested by Appellants would require an employerto follow the money deducted from the employee-member’s paycheck, determineits intended use and then require authorization, regardless whether therecipient of the deduction uses the funds as intended. They assert theyhave no control over expenditure by the WEA of withheld funds they forwardto it or its affiliates. The powers of an administrative agency are derived from statutoryauthority expressly granted or necessarily implied. [FOOTNOTE 78] The PDC has anexpress grant of authority to adopt rules to implement the policies andstatutes contained in chapter 42.17 RCW. [FOOTNOTE 79] Although an agency does not havethe power to promulgate rules which amend or change legislative enactments,the agency may adopt rules which ‘fill in the gaps’ if those rules arenecessary for effectuation of a general statutory scheme. [FOOTNOTE 80] Implementationand enforcement of RCW 42.17.680(3) required that the PDC promulgate rulesfor guidance to employers concerning the circumstances under which anemployer must require written annual authorization prior to withholding ordiverting a portion of an employee’s wages or salaries for politicalpurposes. ‘{A}dministrative rules adopted pursuant to a legislative grant ofauthority are presumed to be valid and should be upheld on judicial reviewif they are reasonably consistent with the statute being implemented.’ [FOOTNOTE 81]‘{A} party attacking the validity of an administrative rule has the burdenof showing compelling reasons that the rule is in conflict with the intentand purpose of the legislation.’ [FOOTNOTE 82] Appellants have not satisfied thisburden. WAC 390-17-100 requires an annual authorization only for fundswithheld or diverted from an employee’s wages for contributions to apolitical committee or for political contributions to candidates for stateor local offices specifically designated by the contributing employee.When an employer has notice that the funds deducted are for the use of apolitical committee or candidate, the employer may not then make thatdeduction without specific annual authorization. However, when theemployer makes deductions under the Education Employment Relations Act, RCW41.59.100, and the Public Employees Collective Bargaining Act, RCW41.56.110, and the employer is not made aware of the specific intended useof the funds, the employer has no legal obligation or authority to seekannual written authorization. [FOOTNOTE 83] In analyzing an administrative rule adopted by an agency chargedwith enforcing a statute, this Court has stated that: The validity of an administrative rule may also be tested by theconstruction placed on the authorizing statute by the administrativeagency. {citations omitted.} Moreover, an administrative constructionnearly contemporaneous with the passage of the statute, especially when thelegislature fails to repudiate the contemporaneous construction, isentitled to great weight.{ [FOOTNOTE 84]}Initiative 134 was passed by popular vote on November 3, 1992 and codifiedin exact language as RCW 42.17.680 (3). WAC 390-17-100 was promulagated bythe PDC to implement the statute and became effective on August 30, 1993. In November 1996, the Executive Director of the PDC concluded thatRCW 42.17.680(3) did not apply to the WEA nor labor organizationsgenerally. [FOOTNOTE 85] The Legislature has neither repudiated that interpretation bythe PDC nor amended the statute. In 1997 and 1998, the Legislatureconsidered proposed legislation which would have amended RCW 42.17.680(3)by restricting expenditures by entities receiving funds through payrolldeductions. No such legislation was passed. [FOOTNOTE 86] The Legislature hasapparently acquiesced in the PDC’s interpretation of RCW 42.17.680(3) since1996. Appellants claim the intent of the drafters of Initiative 134,Section 8, was to protect the ‘constitutional rights’ of labor organizationmembers. They advocate a liberal interpretation of RCW 42.17.680 (3). [FOOTNOTE 87]Respondents Education Association andSchool Districts both assert Appellants’ constitutional argument is withoutmerit because neither the text of the initiative nor the Voter’s Pamphletrefer to the constitution. The intent of the electorate in initiatives must be ascertained fromthe language of the initiative itself, as well as from statements containedin the official Voters Pamphlet. [FOOTNOTE 88] Initiatives are not construed like otherlegislation because, in interpreting them, reviewing courts ‘focus on thelanguage of the initiative ”as the average informed lay voter would readit.”’ [FOOTNOTE 89] Although chapter 42.17 RCW is to be construed liberally, thisCourt need not do so if such a construction would result in an unlikely,absurd, or strained interpretation of the statutory language. [FOOTNOTE 90] Appellants base their arguments on what they perceive to be theintent of subsection (3), while ignoring the language of Initiative 134 andthe language of the voters pamphlet. In determining the purpose or intentof the statute based upon the initiative, the Court may consider argumentsmade for and against the initiative in the Voters Pamphlet. [FOOTNOTE 91] The VotersPamphlet makes no reference to court decisions or agency practice. [FOOTNOTE 92] The intent of the people of this State in enacting Initiative 134can be determined from the declarations in RCW 42.17.610 and .620. [FOOTNOTE 93]Appellants contend that RCW 42.17.610(1) and RCW 42.17.620(2) support theirposition on the purpose of RCW 42.17.680(3). They claim subsection (3) wasadopted to stop unions from ‘amassing large funds . . . for politicswithout authorization.’ [FOOTNOTE 94] However, RCW 42.17.610(1) and RCW 42.17.620(2)relate only to campaign contributions to political candidates, as codifiedin RCW 42.17.640. The remaining findings in RCW 42.17.610 similarly limittheir application to ‘candidates’ and ‘elected officials.’ RCW 42.17.620(2) may be construed as applying only to contributionlimits for political campaigns. It does not identify ‘large organizationalcontributors.’ No distinction is made between labor organizations andcorporations with respect to limits on campaign contributions unlessspecifically noted as in RCW 42.17.760. RCW 42.17.640 relates to contribution limits for all persons. Itslanguage does not distinguish between labor organizations and corporationsand treats all donors equally. Under RCW 42.17.640, the intent to reducethe ‘influence of large organizational contributors’ is achieved byimposition of a maximum contribution limit on all donors. Contrary toAppellants’ assertions, the stated intent to ‘reduce the influence of largeorganizational contributors’ does not mean that labor organizations areprohibited from using their general treasury funds for contributions andexpenditures defined under RCW 42.17.020 (14), (19). The full context of Initiative 134 suggests the reference tolimiting the influence of labor organizations and all ‘large organizationalcontributors’ is associated with the provisions limiting contributions tocandidates. This language does not justify creation of unstatedprohibitions on a wide variety of campaign activity by labor organizations. Prior to passage of Initiative 134, there were no restrictions onthe type of funds a labor organization could use for contributions definedby RCW 42.17.020(14). RCW 42.17.760 restricts the expenditures a labororganization may make in only one way: by preventing labor organizationsfrom using agency shop fees paid by non-members to operate a politicalcommittee or influence an election. In prohibiting only the use of agencyshop fees paid by nonmembers, RCW 42.17.760 inferentially allows labororganizations to use dues paid by members for contributions to politicalcommittees and candidates. The drafters of Initiative 134 prohibited useof agency shop fees collected from nonmembers. This leads to the logicalconclusion that the Initiative did not alter the ability of labororganizations to use members’ dues for contributions under Chapter 42.17RCW. Contrary to Appellant’s assertions, RCW 42.17.680(3) does notprohibit the use of a labor organization’s general treasury funds forpolitical contributions. The trial court was correct in its adoption of the PDC’sinterpretation in WAC 390-17-100 which clarifies both RCW 42.17.680(3) andRCW 42.17.760. RCW 42.17.680(3) permits a labor organization to use forpolitical purposes general treasury funds obtained from dues of members,while RCW 42.17.760 prohibits the labor organization from using forpolitical purposes agency shop fees paid by non-members. It is a basic rule of statutory construction that, wheneverpossible, statutes should be construed so that no part of the statutoryscheme is rendered superfluous. [FOOTNOTE 95] To accomplish this purpose, allprovisions should be harmonized. [FOOTNOTE 96] This we have done. There is no statutoryprohibition against a labor organization using general treasury fundsobtained from members’ dues for the purpose of operating a politicalcommittee, influencing an election or to otherwise make contributions to apolitical committee or candidate. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION In determining whether the WEA as a labor organization is an ‘otherperson or entity responsible for the disbursement of funds in payment ofwages or salaries’ under RCW 42.17.680(3), the Court looks first to thestatute. Under the clear and unambiguous language of the statute, it isevident that labor organizations are not subject to its provisions. Labororganizations are not required to obtain annual written authorization foruse of funds for political contributions prior to receiving generalmembership dues by payroll deduction from its members. The interpretation of RCW 42.17.680(3) by the Public DisclosureCommission in WAC 390-17-100 clarifies any ambiguity and helps to implementthe statute without amending it or frustrating its intent. We affirm the decision of the Thurston County Superior Court whichdismissed the claims by Evergreen Freedom Foundation and Teachers For AResponsible Union for violations of RCW 42.17.680(3) against RespondentSchool Districts and granted summary judgment in favor of RespondentEducation Association. :::FOOTNOTES::: FN1 Evergreen Freedom Foundation is a Washington nonprofit corporation.Clerk’s Papers at 14. FN2 Teachers For A Responsible Union is an unincorporated association ofpublic school employees. Clerk’s Papers at 14. FN3 The fifteen school districts named as Respondents in this case arereferred to collectively as ‘Respondent School Districts.’ Clerk’s Papersat 15-16 and 35. FN4 The Washington Education Association (WEA) (a labor organizationincorporated in Washington and affiliated with the National EducationAssociation) (NEA). Kristeen Hanselman (an employee of NEA), the twenty-one individually named Uniserv Councils (regional affiliates of WEA andNEA), and the Seattle Education Association (a local education associationaffiliated with WEA) are referred to collectively as ‘Respondent EducationAssociation.’ Clerk’s Papers at 14-16, 26-29 and 154. FN5 See RCW 42.17.680(3). FN6 S. B. Rep. ESSB 5864, at 1 (Mar.15, 1991). FN7 Id. FN8 1 Legislative Digest and History of the Senate and House ofRepresentatives, 52d Leg. 356 (Final No. 6, Wash. 1991-92). FN9 Edward D. Seeberger, Sine Die: A Guide to the Washington StateLegislative Process 164-65 (1997); see also, S. B. Rep. ESSB 5864, at 1(Mar. 15, 1991). FN10 Senate Journal, 52d Leg., Reg. Sess. 17 (Wash. 1992); see WashingtonState Constitution, article II sec.1(a). FN11 Clerk’s Papers at 310. FN12 WEA represents approximately 65,000 educational employees who work in theState’s K-12 and post-secondary schools. An annual deduction of $13 permember was paid to PULSE with a portion distributed to Uniserv PACs.Clerk’s Papers at 154 and 310. This concept, also referred to as ‘reversedues check-off,’ occurred after an initial authorization to deduct duesfrom members’ salaries was received by the WEA, and all subsequent payrolldeductions to fund PULSE were automatic and would be discontinued only atthe employee’s request. See Br. of Appellant at 14. FN13 The WEA also noted a decline in the number of contributors to PULSE froma high of 44,785 to a low of 9,756 as of September 1995. Clerk’s Papers at348. Contributions to PULSE after the passage of Initiative 134 fell by$455,364. Br. of Appellant at 15. FN14 The WEA’s ‘Life After Initiative 134 Task Force’ stated the PULSE structure was outmoded. In April 1994, based on the recommendations of theTask Force, the WEA Representative Assembly disbanded PULSE and the UniservPACs. The dissolution of PULSE reduced each WEA member’s payroll deductionby $13, while the deduction for general dues increased to $12. Clerk’sPapers at 151-57 and 310-11; see also Br. of Appellant at 17-19. FN15 WEA-PAC is a centralized ‘political committee’ as defined by RCW42.17.020(33) and replaces the Uniserv PACs. WEA-PAC continues many of thepolitical activities formerly conducted by PULSE, such as contributing tocandidate campaigns, school levies and ballot propositions. Clerk’s Papersat 155-56 and 311. FN16 An April 1994 amendment to WEA bylaws, Article II, Section 2, initiallyreferred to the entity as ‘Political Education.’ Since November 1996, COPhas not been recognized by the Public Disclosure Committee as a ‘politicalcommittee’ under RCW 42.17.020(33). Clerk’s Papers at 156-60 and 563. FN17 Each WEA-PAC member is assessed a $12 annual payment ($1 per month).Clerk’s Papers at 156-57. Appellants do not claim funding of WEA-PACviolates RCW 42.17.680(3). See Br. of Appellant at 8; Br. of Resp’tSchool Districts at 2. FN18 Resp’t Education Association’s Resp. to Amicus Curiae Br. of FoundationFor Campaign Finance Compliance at 2; see Br. of Resp’t School Districtsat 4; Clerk’s Papers at 151-57. (Respondent Education Associationacknowledges that the WEA receives general dues from its members and usesgeneral treasury funds for contributions defined by RCW 42.17.020(14)).Br. of Resp’t Education Association at 8. FN19 Under United States Supreme Court precedent, the First Amendment rightsof agency shop fee payers are preserved if they are not compelled tocontribute to political or ideological causes they oppose. Specifically inAbood v. Detroit Board of Education, 431 U.S. 209, 97 S. Ct. 1782, 52 L.Ed. 2d 261 (1977), the Court did not hold that a labor organization cannotuse its general treasury fund for participation in the political process,but stated that the United States Constitution requires only thatexpenditures be financed ‘by employees who do not object to advancing thoseideas and who are not coerced into doing so against their will by thethreat of loss of governmental employment.’ Abood, 431 U.S. at 235-36; seealso Railway Employees’ Dep’t, v. Hanson, 351 U.S. 225, 76 S. Ct. 714, 100L. Ed. 1112 (1956); International Ass’n, of Machinists v. Street, 367 U.S.740, 81 S. Ct. 1784, 6 L. Ed. 2d 1141 (1961); Lehnert v. Ferris FacultyAss’n, 500 U.S. 507, 111 S. Ct. 1950, 114 L. Ed. 2d 572 (1991). FN20 There is no dispute that ‘agency shop fees’ collected by WEA forrepresenting non-union members in its collective bargaining units are notused for political purposes. ‘Agency shop fee’ payers, in addition toCommunity College, Technical College and four-year University members, arenot assessed for NEA, WEA, COP, Uniserv Councils, Local EducationAssociations, WEA-PAC and NEA-PAC. Clerk’s Papers at 148-49 and 151-57;Br. of Appellant at 18; and Resp’t Education Association’s Resp. to AmicusCuriae Br. of Foundation For Campaign Finance Compliance at 2. FN21 Br. of Resp’t School Districts at 4; Clerk’s Papers at 460-509. FN22 Before withholding general membership dues, payroll officers do notobtain annual written authorization from WEA member-employees prior totransmittal of funds to the WEA. Br. of Resp’t School Districts at 4. Thepayroll officers separately deduct dues from WEA members for the following:NEA, WEA, COP, NEA-PAC, WEA-PAC, Uniserv and Local. Br. of Resp’t SchoolDistricts at 4; Clerk’s Papers at 151, 156-58, 183-218, 519 and 815. FN23 The WEA’s local education associations obtain member signatures on formsand provide copies to the school districts’ payroll officers. The schooldistricts do not independently verify compliance with RCW 42.17.680(3).Clerk’s Papers at 148-49 and 519; see Br. of Appellant at 18; and Br. ofResp’t Education Association at 8. A total deduction amount is provided byWEA to the school districts which in turn forward a single check reflectingthe total deductions from the WEA member-employees’ salaries or wages. Thefunds collected by WEA are then disbursed to the various recipients.Clerk’s Papers at 460-509 and 518-19. FN24 School district payroll officers transmit the withheld funds to BlueCross of Washington and Alaska or the local affiliates of the WEA whichthen forward the funds to the NEA, WEA, Uniserv Councils and LocalEducation Associations. Br. of Resp’t School Districts at 4-5; Clerk’sPapers at 183-218 and 815. FN25 Br. of Resp’t School Districts at 4-5; Clerk’s Papers at 153-66. FN26 WAC 390-17-100; see also Clerk’s Papers at 100-03. FN27 Br. of Resp’t School Districts at 3; Clerk’s Papers at 15-16 and 36. FN28 Appellants Evergreen Freedom Foundation and Teachers For A ResponsibleUnion are referred to collectively as ‘Appellants Evergreen FreedomFoundation.’ FN29 Clerk’s Papers at 12-25. FN30 Appellants claimed the following violations of chapter 42.17 RCW: (CountI) Violation of RCW 42.17.040, .050, .080 and .090–WEA failed to registerand report as a political committee; (Count II) Violation of RCW 42.17.040,.050, .080 and .090–Uniserv Councils failed to register and report aspolitical committees; (Count III) Violation of RCW 42.17.680(3)–WEAdirects school districts to withhold or divert funds in payment of wages orsalaries for political committees or for use as political contributionswithout obtaining annual written authorizations; (Count IV) Violation ofRCW 42.17.680(3)–School districts are ‘employers’ and withhold or divertfunds in payment of wages or salaries for political committees or for useas political contributions without obtaining annual written authorizations;(Count V) Violation of RCW 42.17.150, .155, .170 and .180 by the NEA andKristeen Hanselman for filing incomplete reports under-reporting NEA andNEA-PAC contributions; (Count VI) Violation of RCW 42.17.100 and .180 byWEA for not reporting expenditures supporting local elections; and (CountVII) Violation of RCW 42.17.180 by Seattle Education Association for notreporting contributions in 1996. Clerk’s Papers at 42-54. FN31 Clerk’s papers at 26-34. FN32 Respondent School District’s answer was filed on behalf of all fifteenschool districts, including Vancouver School District 037. Clerk’s Papersat 35. FN33 Clerk’s Papers at 35-41. FN34 Clerk’s Papers at 86-88. FN35 Clerk’s Papers at 89-90. FN36 Clerk’s Papers at 91, 228-55, 271, 723-53. FN37 Clerk’s Papers at 91 and 684-711A. FN38 Clerk’s Papers at 228-55. FN39 Clerk’s Papers at 648-51. FN40 Clerk’s Papers at 648. FN41 The trial court also concluded there are ‘clear issues of fact’concerning the Appellants’ contention that ‘Section 680(3) applies to WEAas the principal of the school districts, who act as its agents inwithholding dues . . . deductions from the districts’ teachers.’ The courtconcluded the school districts have not violated section 680(3), andtherefore no liability can be imputed to Respondent Education Association.Clerk’s Papers at 649-51. FN42 Clerk’s Papers at 271-93 and 712-53. FN43 Clerk’s Papers at 643-47. FN44 The court stated the ‘patent’ ambiguities of RCW 42.17.680(3) involve thephrase ‘for use as a political contribution’ being juxtaposed with thephrase ‘contributions to political committees.’ Clerk’s Papers at 645. FN45 The court stated the ‘latent’ ambiguities of RCW 42.17.680(3) involve the’political committees to whom payments are regulated {but} are notidentified{,} nor is the responsibility for identifying them assigned.’Clerk’s Papers at 645. FN46 Clerk’s Papers at 647. FN47 The court issued a third order on July 2, 1998 on the issue of whetherthe WEA is a ‘political committee’ as defined by RCW 42.17.020(33). Thecourt denied the motions of both Appellants and Respondent EducationAssociation and stated that additional discovery is required beforeassessing the impact of the ‘primary purpose test’ under State v. Dan J.Evans Campaign Committee, 86 Wn.2d 503, 546 P.2d 75 (1976), on the WEA.Clerk’s Papers at 647 and 652-56. FN48 Clerk’s papers at 657-59. FN49 Clerk’s Papers at 663-67. FN50 Clerk’s Papers at 668-70. FN51 The settlement agreement in WEA v. PDC contained conclusions involvingthe active roles WEA, its affiliates and NEA played in the effort to defeatInitiatives 173 (establishment of vouchers to attend public or privateschools) and 177 (creation of independent/charter schools and renewedschool districts). Clerk’s Papers at 69-88 and 348-67. The agreementincluded the following conclusions: COP dues will not be used for paymentof administrative expenses of WEA-PAC or for contributions to any otherpolitical committee, candidate or political party and any funds so expendedwill be returned to WEA members; COP has never been a ‘political committee’as defined by RCW 42.17.020(33); WEA-PAC violated the reportingrequirements of RCW 42.17.080 and .090; WEA violated RCW 42.17.170 and .180regarding its contributions to WEA-PAC and to the ‘No on 173/177 Committee;’ WEA and NEA violated RCW42.17.120 by submitting $410,00.00 to the ‘No on 173/177 Committee’ withoutdisclosing NEA as the source of those funds; NEA violated RCW 42.17.180 byfailing to file employer lobbyist reports; WEA-PAC exceeded thecontribution limits of RCW 42.17.640; and penalized WEA and its affiliatesin the amount of $80,000.00 in addition to costs and attorneys’ fees in theamount of $20,000.00 both payable to the State. Clerk’s Papers at 153-66. FN52 Order dated Aug. 31, 1999. FN53 Laws of 1993, ch. 2, sec. 8. FN54 Briefs amicus curiae were filed in support of the WEA by the WashingtonState Labor Council and in support of Appellants by the Foundation ForCampaign Finance Compliance and the Initiative And Referendum Institute. FN55 Reid v. Pierce County, 136 Wn.2d 195, 201, 961 P.2d 333 (1998) quoting,Cutler v. Phillips Petroleum Co., 124 Wn.2d 749, 755, 881 P.2d 216 (1994). FN56 Reid, 136 Wn.2d at 201. FN57 Id. FN58 ‘Person’ as defined by RCW 42.17.020(30) ‘includes an individual,partnership, joint venture, public or private corporation, association,federal, state, or local governmental entity or agency however constituted,candidate, committee, political committee, political party, executivecommittee thereof, or any other organization or group of persons, howeverorganized.’ FN59 ‘Entity’ is not defined by chapter 42.17 RCW. BLACK’S LAW DICTIONARY 699(6th ed. 1990) defines it as ‘{a} real being; existence . . .. Anorganization or being that possesses separate existence.’ FN60 Appellants also claim the WEA is ‘responsible for the disbursement offunds’ by relying upon the collectively bargained contract right of the WEAto inform the school districts of the amount of the general membership duesto withhold and ‘may withhold or divert a portion of an employee’s wages orsalaries.’ Clerk’s Papers at 238-41. FN61 According to Respondent Education Association it ‘may direct schooldistrict payroll officers as to the amount of union dues to be deductedfrom the salary of an employee, . . . {h}owever, this fact does not makethe union an ‘entity responsible for {the} disbursement of funds in paymentof wages or salaries.” Respondent reiterates that school districts are’employers’ and operate unilaterally in the area of disbursement of wages.Br. of Resp’t Education Association at 14-15. FN62 Br. of Appellant at 31-40. FN63 State v. Martin, 137 Wn.2d 774, 788, 975 P.2d 1020 (1999). FN64 However, this Court interpreted another section of the statute, RCW42.17.680(2) in Nelson v. McClatchy Newspapers, Inc., 131 Wn.2d 523, 531,936 P.2d 1123 (1997). (Fair Campaign Practices Act prohibits employersfrom discriminating against employees because of employees’ refusal toabstain from political involvement.). FN65 State ex rel. Heavey v. Murphy, 138 Wn.2d 800, 808, 982 P.2d 611 (1999);Seeber v. Public Disclosure Commission, 96 Wn.2d 135, 139, 634 P.2d 303(1981). FN66 Roberts v. Johnson, 137 Wn.2d 84, 91, 969 P.2d 446 (1999). In re Custodyof Smith, 137 Wn.2d 1, 8, 969 P.2d 21 (1998). FN67 In re Custody of Smith, 137 Wn.2d at 8. FN68 Accord Seeber, 96 Wn.2d at 139. (‘It is an elementary rule that wherecertain language is used in one instance, and different language inanother, there is a difference in legislative intent.”). FN69 Chapter 42.17 RCW. FN70 2 U.S.C. sec. 431-55. FN71 Geschwind v. Flanagan, 121 Wn.2d 833, 840, 854 P.2d 1061 (1993). FN72 Geschwind, 121 Wn.2d at 841. FN73 Double D Hop Ranch v. Sanchez, 133 Wn.2d 793, 799, 947 P.2d 727, 952 P.2d590 (1997), citing, State v. Stannard, 109 Wn.2d 29, 36, 742 P.2d 1244(1987). FN74 Geschwind, 121 Wn.2d at 841. FN75 The ‘patent’ ambiguity relates to the phrase ‘for use as politicalcontributions.’ School Districts assert that although ‘contributions’ aredefined in RCW 42.17.020(14), chapter 42.17 RCW, neither defines the term’political’ nor the phrase ‘political contribution’ to guide employers onwhen a withheld payment is ‘for use as a political contribution’ undersection 680(3). Br. of Resp’t School Districts at 7. FN76 Similarly, the Districts identify a ‘latent’ ambiguity: ‘No languageguides employers on whether they must determine for themselves whether apayee of a withheld salar{y} or wag{e} is a political committee under RCW42.17.020(33) or whether the duty to obtain annual requests applies onlywhen the payee is registered as a political committee with the PDC.’ Br.of Resp’t School Districts at 7. FN77 Respondent School Districts indicate that although a ‘politicalcommittee’ is defined under RCW 42.17.020(33) and such organizations mustregister with the PDC and file reports under RCW 42.17.040-.090 and .105,section 680(3) is ambiguous. Br. of Resp’t School Districts at 7. FN78 State v. Ford, 110 Wn.2d 827, 831, 755 P.2d 806 (1988), citing, GreenRiver College v. Higher Education Personnel Bd., 95 Wn.2d 108, 622 P.2d 826(1980) modified, 95 Wn.2d 962, 633 P.2d 1324 (1981). FN79 RCW 42.17.370. FN80 Green River College, 95 Wn.2d at 112, (citing Hama Hama Co. v. ShorelinesHearings Bd., 85 Wn.2d 441, 448, 536 P.2d 157 (1975)). FN81 Green River College, 95 Wn.2d at 112. FN82 Id. FN83 In this case, chapters 41.56 and 41.59 RCW are the collective bargaininglaws governing school district employees. These statutes require theemployer under a collective bargaining agreement to deduct dues fromsalaries of employees and to transmit those dues to the other party to theagreement, the labor organization. The interpretation by the PDC of RCW42.17.680(3) does not conflict with the collective bargaining statutesbecause that interpretation does not restrict the employer in making duesdeductions intended for the general treasury of labor organizations. FN84 Green River College, 95 Wn.2d at 117-18; see In re Sehome Park care Ctr.,Inc., 127 Wn.2d 774, 903 P.2d 443 (1995). FN85 Clerk’s Papers at 705-09. FN86 Clerk’s Papers at 710-11A. FN87 Br. of Appellant at 31. Also, Appellants provide no authority for theirclaim that precedent established by United States Supreme Court and UnitedStates Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit interpreting theconstitutionality of labor organizations’ security provisions is thefoundation for Initiative 134 and enactment of RCW 42.17.680(3). Br. ofAppellant at 40-50. FN88 State v. Thorne, 129 Wn.2d 736, 763, 921 P.2d 514 (1996). FN89 Senate Republican Campaign Comm. v. PDC, 133 Wn.2d 229, 243, 943 P.2d1358 (1997); see City of Spokane v. Taxpayers of City of Spokane, 111 Wn.2d91, 98, 758 P.2d 480 (1988), quoting, Estate of Turner v. Department ofRevenue, 106 Wn.2d 649, 654, 724 P.2d 1013 (1986). FN90 Senate Republican Campaign Comm. v. PDC, 133 Wn.2d at 243. FN91 State v. Thorne, 129 Wn.2d at 763. FN92 Only a single sentence in the Voter’s Pamphlet relating to agency feesrefers to sections 26 and 16 (codified as RCW 42.17.760). There is noreference to section 8(3). In the section entitled ‘The Effect ofInitiative Measure 134, if approved as law’ it states ‘{v}oluntary statepayroll deductions for political committees would no longer be permittedand agency shop fees could not be used for political purposes withoutindividual authorization.’ Clerk’s Papers at 743-44. FN93 ’42.17.610 Findings. The people of the state of Washington findand declare that: ‘(1) The financial strength of certain individuals or organizationsshould not permit them to exercise a disproportionate or controllinginfluence on the election of candidates. ‘(2) Rapidly increasing political campaign costs have led manycandidates to raise larger percentages of money from special interests witha specific financial stake in matters before state government. This hascaused the public perception that decisions of elected officials are beingimproperly influenced by monetary contributions. ‘(3) Candidates are raising less money in small contributions fromindividuals and more money from special interests. This has created thepublic perception that individuals have an insignificant role to play inthe political process. ’42.17.620 Intent. By limiting campaign contributions, the peopleintend to: ‘(1) Ensure that individuals and interest groups havefair and equal opportunity to influence elective and governmentalprocesses; ‘(2) Reduce the influence of large organizational contributors; and ‘(3) Restore public trust in governmental institutions and theelectoral process.’ FN94 Br. of Appellant at 33. FN95 State ex rel. Heavey, 138 Wn.2d at 807 fn. 2, (citing Sim v. State Parks& Recreation Comm., 90 Wn.2d 378, 383, 583 P.2d 1193 (1978)). FN96 State v. Thomas, 121 Wn.2d 504, 511, 851 P.2d 673 (1993); see Puyallup v.Pacific N.W. Bell Co., 98 Wn.2d 443, 448, 656 P.2d 1035 (1982).`
Washington v. Washington Education Ass’n In the Supreme Court of the State of Washington State of Washington Ex Rel., Evergreen Freedom Foundation, a Washington Nonprofit Corporation, and Teachers For A Responsible Union, an Unincorporated Association, Petitioners, v. Washington Education Association; National Education Association; Kristeen Hanselman; Bellevue Uniserv Council; Cascade Uniserv Council; Chinook Uniserv Council; Eastern Washington Uniserv Council; Fourth Corner Uniserv Council; Kent Uniserv Council; Lower Columbia Uniserv Council; Mid-State Uniserv Council; North Central Uniserve Council; Olympic Uniserv Council; Pilchuck Uniserv Council; Puget Sound Uniserv Council Rainier Uniserv Council; Riverside Uniserv Council; Samammish Uniserv Council; Seattle Uniserv Council; Soundview Uniserv Council Southeast Washington Uniserv Council; Spokane Uniserv Council; Vancouver Uniserv Council; Tacoma Uniserv Council; Seattle Education Association; Seattle School District No. 001; Bellevue School District No. 405; Central Kitsap School District No. 401; Everett School District No. 002; Federal Way School District No. 210; Highline School District No. 401; Kent School District No. 415; Lynden School District No. 504; Olympia School District No 111; Pasco School District No. 001; Sedro-Wooley School District No. 101; Spokane School District No 081; Tacoma School District No. 010; Vancouver School District No. 037; And Yakima School District No. 007, Respondents. No. 67126-5 Appeal from Superior Court of Thurston County. Docket No: 97-2-01419-8, Hon. Wm. T. McPhee. Argued: November 18, 1999 Filed: May 18, 2000 Before: Charles Z. Smith, Richard P. Guy, Charles W. Johnson, Philip A. Talmadge, Faith E Ireland, Gerry L. Alexander, Barbara A. Madsen, Richard B. Sanders
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