What to report

The incidental committee must report the top 10 sources of payments it receives in the current calendar year and any expenditure or contribution of more than $50 on candidates and political committees. It discloses this information on an Incidental Committee Payments and Political Expenditures Report (C-8 report).

The first C-8 report is due at the time the committee registers. The C-8 report is filed by delivering or mailing the completed form to the PDC office (PO Box 40908, Olympia, WA 98504).

Payments

The committee is required to report the top 10 sources of cumulative payments of $10,000 or more received during the calendar year. This list should include payments for all purposes (unless exempted, as explained below), regardless of whether the nonprofit uses the money to fund political activity. It also must include any sources tied as the tenth largest, so the C-8 report may include more than 10 sources in all.
 
"Payments" for purposes of incidental committee reporting include all monetary transfers or in-kind services (WAC 390-05-521), except when the payment meets all of the following:
  • Is from a private foundation registered as 501(c)(3) entity;
  • Was received pursuant to a contract that explicitly prohibits its use for election campaigns; and
  • Represents less than 25 percent of the incidental committee's total budget. RCW 42.17A.240

If a nonprofit receives a lump-sum payment from multiple people, only that portion that exceeds $10,000 from a single person must be reported. Examples would be a union that receives members dues in an aggregated payment, or an organization that receives one check with the entire proceeds of a fundraiser.

Contributions to campaigns

All contributions, whether monetary or in-kind, must be reported. In-kind contributions can include the use of the nonprofit's staff or property to assist a candidate or ballot measure campaign. They do not include time or money spent on commentary or analysis about a ballot measure, provided it does not advocate specifically a vote for or against the measure.

In-kind contributions occur when a person provides goods, services or anything of value, other than money or its equivalent, to a candidate or political committee free of charge or for less than fair market value. Common examples of in-kind contributions that are reportable include donated office space, printing or polling services, and donated staff time.

Such donations should be reported according to their fair market value, defined in WAC 390-05-235 as "the amount of money which a purchaser willing, but not obligated, to buy would pay a seller, willing, but not obligated, to sell for property, goods or services." See the rule for more details on determining the value of an in-kind contribution.

In-kind contributions do not include time or money spent on commentary or analysis about a ballot measure, provided it does not advocate specifically a vote for or against the measure.

When to report

An incidental committee must file a C-8 report at registration. It must file another C-8 report on the tenth day of each month, if during the preceding month, it:

  • received a payment that would change its top 10 list on the last C-8, or
  • made a contribution to a candidate or political committee of more than $200.

An incidental committee also must file a C-8 report, regardless of activity, on:

  • the 21st and 7th days before an election in which it is participating, and
  • the 10th day of the first month after the election. RCW 42.17A.235

What else to consider

Nonprofits whose only activity is independent expenditures - defined as expenditures that are made in support of or opposition to a candidate but without the candidate's or ballot measure committee's cooperation, consultation or collaboration - may still need to file as incidental committees if such spending exceeds the $25,000 threshold. However, such a nonprofit would report those independent expenditures on a C-6 Independent Spending and Electioneering Communications report. See the form for more information.

What happens at the end of the year

An incidental committee that has no reportable activity in the month of December is automatically dissolved for PDC purposes only on Dec. 31, or upon filing its December C-8 report, whichever occurs later. (A committee may be required to file a C-8 by Jan. 10 of the following calendar year if it had a change in its top 10 sources of payments or it made an additional contribution to a candidate or political committee of more than $200 in December.) WAC 390-16-013

A nonprofit whose only activity is independent expenditures - defined as expenditures that are made in support of or opposition to a candidate but without the candidate's or ballot measure committee's cooperation, consultation or collaboration - may still need to register as an incidental committee in addition to filing a C-6 report.

Please consult the IRS or a lawyer for questions about tax-exempt status and what's allowable political activity.