Disclosure Basics

  • Agencies may only spend public dollars to conduct legally authorized lobbying.
  • Agencies may not use public resources to support or oppose an effort to get an initiative before the legislature.
  • Agencies may lobby for passage or defeat of initiatives once they are before the legislature.
  • Agencies must keep detailed records concerning the amount of time employees spend lobbying, what issues were lobbied, and what lobbying expenditures were incurred.
  • L-5 lobbying reports are filed quarterly by agencies. An agency does not file the L-5 for a quarter if no lobbying occurred, unless the agency has a contract lobbyist on retainer. Instead of filing quarterly reports, any agency or lobbyist for an agency may elect to register and report as provided RCWs 42.17A.600, 42.17A.610, 42.17A.615, and 42.17A.630 after first notifying the PDC.
  • Each agency head should designate one person to be in charge of compiling information and completing the L-5 reports. This designee should have the authority to require cooperation from departments, divisions and units within the agency whose expenditures are included in the report. The agency head remains accountable for that agency's complete compliance with the law.


A subagency or department that has independent authority to expend public funds for lobbying may file a separate L-5 report, so long as the subagency gives written notice that it will file separate L-5 reports to the PDC and its parent agency. After this notice is provided, the department, bureau, board, commission, etc. has the responsibility to file its own quarterly reports. For example, this change would allow the King County Prosecutor's Office to file its own report rather than having its lobbying expenditures included in one consolidated report filed by King County.