March 13, 2023
December 13, 2023

At its February meeting, the Commission voted to make inflationary adjustments to campaign finance reporting thresholds and contribution limits. The new, higher limits take effect April 1, 2023.

The change in the reporting thresholds and contribution limits reflect changes in economic conditions since the last time values were established in statute, with values rounded for easier public understanding.  While the Commission periodically revises contribution limits, some of the reporting thresholds set in statute have never been adjusted since they were enacted.

The new limits amend WAC 390-05-400 and WAC 390-16-034

NOTE: If you are a City of Seattle candidate or committee, you should check with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission for additional limits and thresholds that may apply to your campaign.

Contribution Limits

Recipient of contribution Current contribution limit Contribution limit April 1
Bona Fide Party Committee (Exempt)* Only from Surplus Funds, no limit Only from Surplus Funds, no limit
Bona Fide Party Committee (Non-Exempt)* Only from Surplus Funds, no limit Only from Surplus Funds, no limit
Caucus Political Committee Only from Surplus Funds, no limit Only from Surplus Funds, no limit
Judicial Candidate Prohibited Prohibited
King Co Hosp Dist 1 & 2, Snohomish Hosp Dist 2 Prohibited Prohibited
Legislative Candidate Prohibited Prohibited
Local (County, City, School Board) Office Prohibited Prohibited
PAC Prohibited Prohibited
Port Commissioners Prohibited Prohibited
State Executive Candidate Prohibited Prohibited

* See Exempt and Non-Exempt guidelines for more discussion of the difference between the two types of funds.

Candidates and Committees

In addition to raising contribution limits, the Commission has adjusted most of the thresholds that guide disclosure by candidates and committees. It also raised some allowances on such activity as cash or anonymous contributions and the repayment of candidate loans. 

Contributions and Expenditures
  Current value  Value April 1 

Threshold for required reporting of contributor identity (RCW 42.17A.235(5) & .240(2))



Threshold for reporting a pledge (RCW 42.17A.240(2))



Threshold for itemizing an expenditure (RCW 42.17A.240(7))



Threshold for reporting source of debt (RCW 42.17A.240(9))



Limit on sum of anonymous contributions (RCW 42.17A.220(4))



Threshold for required reporting contributor employer & occupation (WAC 390-16-034)



Value of volunteer services excluded from the definition of "contribution" (RCW 42.17A.005(15))



Maximum candidate loan that can be reimbursed (RCW 42.17A.445(3))

$6,000 per election $7,500 per election

Contribution threshold for including a contributor's name in the Top 5 or Top 3 on a qualifying political ad (RCW 42.17A.350)

$1,000 $2,000

Fundraising: special limits for activities listed in RCW 42.17A.230 
  Current value 

Value April 1 

Limits on amounts eligible for special reporting of fund-raising activities (RCW 42.17A.230(2))





Threshold for reporting identity of contributors (RCW 42.17A.230(4))



Registration and Reporting
  Current value 

Value April 1 

Threshold for monthly reporting of all contribution and expenditure activity (RCW 42.17A.225(2), .235(3)(a))



Mini reporting limit for small campaigns (RCW 42.17A.110(8))

$5,000 $7,000*
Threshold for when aggregate contributions trigger registration and reporting for candidates in small jurisdictions (RCW 42.17A.135) >$5,000 >$7,000

    * the $500 per contributor limit for mini reporting remains the same

Limits on large, last-minute contributions
  Current contribution limit  Contribution limit April 1

Statewide office (RCW 42.17A.420) 



Other office (RCW 42.17A.420)



Recall campaigns
  Current limit Limit April 1

Limits to state or local official facing recall or to PACs supporting recall (RCW 42.17A.405(3))

  • State legislative and local office
$1,000 $1,200
  • Other (non-legislative) state office and port district
$2,000 $2,400

Limits for political parties/caucus committees to state or local officials or PACs supporting recall (RCW 42.17A.405(5))

  • State parties and caucuses
$1.00 per voter $1.20 per voter
  • County and legislative district parties
$0.50 per voter $0.60 per voter
  • Limit for all county and legislative district parties to state official up for recall or political committee supporting recall
$0.50 per voter $0.60 per voter

Sponsors of Independent Expenditures

The new rules raise the thresholds for reporting independent expenditures (activity, often advertising, that supports or opposes a candidate and is made without the consultation or cooperation of the candidate) and electioneering communications (communications that clearly identify a candidate even if they don't outright support or oppose the candidate). Below are the new thresholds that will trigger C-6 reporting. Keep in mind that activity by a PAC remains reportable on a C-4 at any level. 

Sponsors of Independent Expenditures
  Current value

Value April 1

Political advertising that qualifies as "Independent Expenditure" - Threshold for reporting (RCW 42.17A.260)



  • Limit for the value of volunteer campaign worker expenses exempted from threshold for “Independent Expenditure” (RCW 42.17A.005(30))



Independent expenditure ("not otherwise reported") - Threshold for reporting (RCW.42.17A.255(2))



  • Independent expenditure ("not otherwise reported") - Threshold for including incidental volunteer expenses (RCW 42.17A.255(1))



  • Independent expenditure ("not otherwise reported") - Threshold for itemized expenditures (RCW 42.17A.255(5))



Electioneering Communication – Threshold for reporting (RCW 42.17A.005(21))



  • Electioneering communication - Threshold for itemized expenditures (RCW 42.17A.305)



Contribution threshold for including a contributor's name in the Top 5 or Top 3 on a qualifying political ad (RCW 42.17A.350)

$1,000 $2,000

Incidental Committees

Some nonprofits that make or expect to make campaign contributions or expenditures above certain thresholds in a calendar year have reporting requirements as incidental committees, provided they have also received large monetary transfers or in-kind services during that same year. The thresholds for when contribution/expenditure activity and payments trigger registration and reporting will increase under the new rules.  

Incidental Committees

Current value

Value April 1

Incidental committee - Threshold of total expenditures that triggers registration (RCW 42.17A.207(1)(a)(i))



Incidental committee - Threshold for a payment that triggers registration (RCW 42.17A.235(1))



Incidental committee - Threshold for monthly reporting of all contribution or expenditure activity (RCW 42.17A.235(3)(b))



Out-of-state Political Committees

An out-of-state political committee, including political committees filing with the Federal Election Commission, is required to report when it makes a contribution or other expenditure on behalf of a Washington state candidate or political committee of more than $50. Such reporting is done on a C-5. The thresholds for what contributions to the out-of-state PAC must be reported will increase. 

Out-of-state Political Committees
  Current value Value April 1

Threshold for reporting contributions (RCW 42.17A.250) 

In-state: >$25

Out of state: >$2,680

In-state: >$100

Out of state: >$4,000

Additional updates approved Dec. 7, 2023

Independent expenditure (electioneering communication)
  Current value Value Jan. 8, 2024

Threshold for reporting the source of funding from special solicitations or other (nongeneral treasury) funds (RCW 42.17A.305) 



Political committees
  Current value Value Jan. 8, 2024

Threshold for one political committee to be eligible to make a contribution to another political committee (RCW 42.17A.442) 

$10 (each from 10 persons)

$25 (each from 10 persons)