During the 10 days preceding a primary, general, or special election in which a candidate's name is on the ballot or in which a committee participates, the campaign's books of account showing all contributions received, expenditures made and outstanding debts must be opened for public inspection.  

An inspection may occur on weekdays beginning on the eighth day before the election - excluding legal holidays -  by appointment between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the location agreed up by both the treasurer and the requester or electronically in lieu of in-person inspection. If the treasurer and requestor are unable to agree on a location and the treasurer has not provided digital access to the books of account, the default location for an appointment must be a place of public accommodation selected by the treasurer within a reasonable distance from the treasurer's office. However, if the treasurer is located out-of-state, the default location must be within the state of Washington and reasonably accessible to both parties. WAC 390-16-043

"Books of account" means a ledger or similar listing of contributions, expenditures and debts, such as a campaign or committee is required to file regularly with the PDC, but current as of the most recent business day. They must include the underlying source documents such as receipts, invoices, copies of contribution checks, copies of canceled checks for expenditures, digital transactions, notes, or other documentation concerning expenditures, orders placed, and loans. WAC 390-16-043

A candidate who self-funds the entire campaign and elects to spend funds from a personal bank account instead of opening a campaign account must allow inspection of the bank account's check register and statements - just as a non-self-funding candidate must allow inspections of campaign-account registers and statements - when books of account are not kept up-to-date on a daily basis for possible inspection.

Candidate or committee's responsibilities:

  • Keep the campaign books current within one business day.
  • PDC staff hopes that committees and those requesting inspections will be cooperative and accommodating.  
  • If it is not possible to schedule the records inspection at the day or time requested, the committee must make the records available for inspection within 48 hours of the requested time.
  • Review the committee registration shortly before the inspection period starts to ensure that the contact information is up-to-date.
  • If the committee's only copy of its books are electronic, the inspector must be given sufficient instruction to allow the inspection to proceed.
  • Continuing committees will allow inspection of its books for the calendar year.  Ballot measure committees will allow inspection of all campaign books. 

The candidate or committee is not required to:

  • make copies of its books, whether the books are kept on paper or in electronic form, 
  • allow videotaping or photographs, or
  • provide the name and address of contributors who gave $25 or less in the aggregate.

Inspector's responsibilities:

  • Provide a name (all names, if more than one person will attend) and phone number when making the appointment.
  • Show photo identification before the inspection begins.  The inspection may be denied when photo ID is not provided.