Not Christopher Rufo, but not not Christopher Rufo.
Not the actual Christopher Rufo. But maybe kinda close? AGNIESZKA MARCINSKA / EYEEM / GETTY IMAGES

When Discovery Institute "fellow" and Fox News guest Christopher Rufo dissolved his short-lived campaign for Seattle City Council eight months ago, he distributed a majority of his remaining donations to two organizations; $5,600 went to Seattle's Union Gospel Mission, and $10,000 went to the Documentary Foundation.

On Friday, Tallman Trask, the policy and advocacy director at the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, filed a complaint with Washington's Public Disclosure Commission alleging that the donation to the Documentary Foundation, which Rufo runs and from which Rufo drew a $60,000 salary in 2017, may have violated the law.

In the complaint, Trask argues that Rufo's donation to the Documentary Foundation broke a campaign finance law that allows campaigns to donate surplus funds to nonprofits, but only to "charitable organizations" registered "in accordance with 19.09 RCW." Trask claims Rufo's foundation was only registered as a nonprofit corporation in accordance with another state law.

"Registering as a charity under 19.09 involves some specific disclosures to the state," Trask said in a follow-up email. "It's all about making sure that people can get a significant amount of information about the mission and finances of organizations they're considering giving money to and, because of that, registering under 19.09 is actually required for organizations that want to raise funds from the public."

Aside from the potential registration fail, Trask thinks it's "kind of concerning" that a candidate for public office would donate half of the contributions from his campaign to an organization from which he draws a salary. "Candidates being able to dispose funds to charity is a good thing and something we should encourage, but I wonder why it's legal in Washington to donate to ones that they run," he said.

In his response, Rufo called the complaint "frivolous" and essentially argued that the Documentary Foundation meets the definition of a "charitable organization" under 19.09, so the PDC should consider it a charitable organization.

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That said, this morning Rufo went ahead and registered the foundation as a charity with the state.

"The Documentary Foundation has been registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization since 2008 and, after amending a minor clerical filing this morning, is now registered as a public charity in Washington State in full compliance with the law, according to the Secretary of State’s office," Rufo said in an email Tuesday morning.

Whether or not a late registry will satisfy the PDC will be up to them. I've left a message with them and will update when I hear back.