All candidates and committees subject to the public disclosure law must report to the PDC, regardless of the amount of money they will receive from contributors or spend on their campaigns. The key to complying with both the regulatory and the reporting provisions of the law is to keep detailed records of each contribution and expenditure and file reports on time.
One of the primary purposes of the public disclosure law is to provide citizens of this state, and especially voters, with the means for becoming informed about the financing of political campaigns. The public disclosure law was enacted through voter approval of Initiative 276 in 1972. In 1992, voters instituted contribution limits and other campaign reforms with the passage of Initiative 134.
The process begins with candidate or committee registration, which is a foundational record that discloses how the candidate or political committee is organized, who is authorized to act on its behalf, how the public can contact the campaign, and whether it is subject to detailed contribution and expenditure reporting.
Registrations must be filed electronically. The PDC campaign finance registration works with supported web browsers. (Please note, Internet Explorer is no longer a supported browser.)
Please note: You will need a Secure Access Washington account to use the registration system. Video tutorials available to assist with your use of the system:
How to get a Secure Access Washington account
How to register a new candidate or committee
Find detailed instructions that discuss what a candidate or committee should consider in completing the registration, how to know what reporting option to pick, what to know about your campaign bank account, and a look-ahead calendar of reporting dates.
Choosing mini or full reporting
Updating the registration
An update or amendment is required within 10 days of when the information on a registration changes. You will use the same system to make the amendment.
Reporting by candidates and committees
State law requires candidates and committees that register under full reporting to submit regular reports of financial activity. Those reports are filed on schedules outlined in our key reporting dates calendar.
Reports must be submitted electronically. The PDC provides free software that will fulfill the efiling requirement.
Here is what you'll be submitting to the PDC:
C-3 Contribution Reports: Before June 1 of the election year, candidates fill out a C-3 report for each bank deposit and file these reports with their C-4 reports. Beginning June 1, each deposit must be reported no later than the following Monday. Since contributions must be deposited within 5 business days of receipt, active campaigns will make at least one weekly deposit.
C-4 Summary Reports: This report, along with its attached schedules, summarizes the campaign’s financial activity and shows itemized expenditures for a specific period. C-4s are due:
- Monthly from the beginning of the campaign through May of the election year. If a campaign has over $200 in contributions or expenditures during a month, a C-4 report is filed by the 10th of the following month.
- Starting in June of the election year and continuing through the primary and general elections, C-4 reports are due 21 and 7 days before each election and on the 10th of the month after the month the election was held with the candidate’s name on the ballot, even if there was little or no activity to report.
Knowing what to report is important. See our guidance at the links below.
Expenditures & debts