Who must register

A nonprofit organization is required to register with the PDC as an incidental committee if it has the expectation of spending or spends $35,000 or more in a calendar year on one or more election campaigns or political committees (including a sponsored or affiliated committee), and is receiving payments that in aggregate total $15,000 or more from a single source. RCW 42.17A.207

A "nonprofit" for purposes of the incidental committee law is one of the following:

  1. Eligible for an exemption under section 501(c) of the federal Internal Revenue Code
  2. An organization, association or corporation whose income is not paid directly or indirectly to members, stockholders or leaders; or
  3. A limited partnership or limited liability company whose general partner or managing member is an entity described in 1 or 2. WAC 390-05-535

Some organizations that qualify as incidental committees may have filed a Special Political Expenditures (C-7) report with the PDC in the past. If the organization has registered as an incidental committee, it does not need to file a C-7 for activities undertaken during the same calendar year.

Any organization that is only remitting payments in an aggregated form - such as a nonprofit that processes campaign donations solicited by candidates or political committees - is not required to register as an incidental committee. RCW 42.17A.005(28)

How to register

Organizations that meet the definition of a "nonprofit" are required to file an Incidental Committee Registration (C-1ic report) within two weeks of first: (1) having the expectation of spending $35,000 or more on Washington state election campaigns, and (2) receiving cumulative payments from a single source of at least $15,000 within the current calendar year (see what qualifies as a payment here). On the C-1ic, the committee must report:

  • its name and address;
  • the names and addresses of all related or affiliated political or incidental committees*, and the nature of the affiliation;
  • the names, addresses and titles of the committee's officers, or the names, addresses and titles of its responsible leaders and the name of its treasurer; and
  • the names of candidates and political committees it is supporting through monetary or in-kind contributions, and whether the political committees are supporting or opposing candidates or ballot measures. Only candidates for state and local office and only political committees registered with the PDC must be listed.

The C-1ic report is filed by delivering or mailing the completed form to the PDC office (PO Box 40908, Olympia, WA 98504).

If any of the information changes during the calendar year, the committee must file an amended C-1ic report within 10 business days. RCW 42.17A.207

*"Affiliated" or related committees are those that are established, financed, maintained or controlled by the organization designated as an incidental committee, or that are part of the same organizational structure of national, state and local bodies. Examples would be the organization's own political committee, or a parent or branch organization that is itself an incidental committee. See WAC 390-16-309 for more details.