Washington law seeks to inform the public about who tries to influence state law and policy through lobbying, their reason for lobbying and how much they spend on lobbying efforts.

Citizens who petition state government – through personal contact, telephone calls, letters and e-mails – without payment of any kind and without spending funds to benefit public officials are not subject to the law.

Who needs to report

Lobbyists: Anyone who is paid to lobby state government or who makes lobbying-related expenditures must register. A lobbyist includes any person who lobbies either on his own or another's behalf. See the criteria for exemptions to lobbyist registration and reporting. The Public Disclosure Commission does not regulate federal or local government lobbying. 

Lobbyist Employers: Any person or entity who employs a lobbyist or compensates another person for lobbying. The term includes individuals, partnerships, corporations, governments, associations, political parties, committees or groups. A lobbyist employer is anyone who pays a lobbyist, reimburses a lobbyist for expenditures, provides funds for the lobbyist's use or furnishes other consideration to or on behalf of a lobbyist.

Public agencies: All state and local public agencies that lobby at the state level are subject to the law's lobbying expenditure restrictions. These agencies must also periodically report their lobbying expenditures, unless they undertake activity that is not reportable, or they don't "lobby" as that term is defined for public agencies. Representatives of public entities may spend public dollars only for statutorily approved lobbying activities. The law applies to all state and local public entities that lobby at the state level, including individual state agencies, each state-funded university or college, and any county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi-municipal corporation and special purpose district (e.g., school, port, water, sewer, fire, library, hospital, and public utility districts). 

Grassroots campaigns: Any person or entity making expenditures toward a grassroots lobbying campaign that seeks to indirectly influence state legislation by mobilizing the public to lobby legislators on a topic of interest to the person or entity. 

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