Ensure you’re compliant with state political disclosure  law, whether you’re a candidate, political committee, lobbyist, or an elected or appointed official. 

These guidelines are distilled from the requirements in RCW 42.17A and WAC 390. Care has been taken to ensure the guidelines are accurate and concise. Nevertheless, they do not take the place of local, state, or federal laws. 

Filter by audience for reporting guidelines and restrictions relevant to you or your interest area. Filter by interpretations or declaratory orders to see the Commission’s statements on how the law applies in certain situations.  
 

Title Type of Guideline Audience(s) Topic
Affiliation General Candidates, Political Committees, Out-of-State Political Committees, Incidental Committees Campaign Contributions, Contribution Limits, Registration
Allowable Uses of Campaign Funds General Candidates, Political Committees Campaign Expenditures
Anonymous Contributions General Candidates, Political Committees Campaign Contributions
Campaign Loans Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees Campaign Loans
Campaign Loans & Loan Agreements Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees Campaign Loans
Candidate Loan Repayments General Candidates Campaign Loans
Charging for Endorsement or Media Coverage

Charging money for an endorsement or media coverage is illegal.

General Candidates, Political Committees
Concealment General Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee Campaign Contributions, Campaign Expenditures
Contributing to Other Candidates and Committees General Candidates Campaign Contributions
Contribution Limits General Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee, Out-of-State Political Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer Campaign Contributions, Contribution Limits
Contribution Limits After Redistricting Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Lobbyists Contribution Limits
Contributions - Receiving Currency General Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee Campaign Contributions
Contributions - Reimbursements General Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee, Lobbyists Campaign Contributions
Contributions from Out-of-State Committees General Candidates, Out-of-State Political Committees Campaign Contributions, Reporting Deadlines
Contributions Given Within Three Weeks Of General Election ("11th Hour" Contributions) Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee Campaign Contributions, Contribution Limits
Definition of "Within 21 Days of a General Election" Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees Contribution Limits
Describing Candidates in Ads

Party preference must be stated if the office is a partisan one. Rules govern photo size and certain descriptive terms.

General Candidates, Political Committees, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists Political Advertising
Designation and Disposal of Surplus Funds

Candidates can transfer unspent campaign funds after an election to certain uses.

Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee Surplus Funds
Distinguishing In-Kind Loans, Debt, and Pledges Commission Interpretation Candidates Campaign Debt, Campaign Expenditures, Campaign Loans
Earmarked Contributions General Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee, Lobbyists Campaign Contributions
False Political Advertising

False political ads, published with actual malice, are illegal.

General Candidates, Political Committees, Out-of-State Political Committees, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer Political Advertising
Guidelines for Local Government Agencies in Election Campaigns Commission Interpretation Candidates, Public Agencies Public Agency Facilities
Guidelines for School Districts In Election Campaigns

Public disclosure law governing use of public facilities in school district campaigns

Commission Interpretation Candidates, Public Agencies Public Agency Facilities
In the matter of the Petition from Institute for Free Speech Regarding Pro Bono Legal Work

The Commission issued an order concerning a non-profit organization's plan to provide pro bono legal services to a person who plans to appeal a ruling in a campaign finance court case. The order says the non-profit need not register or file reports with the PDC, nor disclose its donors, as long as it represents the person in his individual capacity in the appeal.  [Declaratory Order No. 18, issued May 27, 2021]

Declaratory Order Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee, Out-of-State Political Committees, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer, Grassroots Lobbying, Public Agencies, Official disclosing personal financial information, Elected Officials, Voters & the Public Enforcement Cases, Rulemaking
Items Exempt from Sponsor ID General Candidates, Political Committees, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer Political Advertising
Legislative Session Freeze General Candidates, Lobbyists, Elected Officials Campaign Contributions
Library Display of Campaign Materials Commission Interpretation Candidates
Limits on "Last Minute" Contributions General Candidates, Political Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer Contribution Limits
Online Campaign Activities Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees Political Advertising
Penalty waivers for Small Business Paperwork Violations Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee, Out-of-State Political Committees, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer, Grassroots Lobbying, Public Agencies, Official disclosing personal financial information, Elected Officials, Voters & the Public
Petition for Declaratory Order for A Better Seattle

The Commission issued an order following a petition from the political committee A Better Seattle, which supports a recall vote against Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant, to lift a $1,000 limit on contributions   from donors. The Commission reviewed a similar request before issuing PDC Declaratory Order 17 in 2015 that suspended enforcement of RCW 42.17A.405 (3) and (14) as applied to a recall committee. The basis for the  Commission's actions was Farris v. Seabrook, 677 F.3d 858 (9th Cir. 2012), a federal case that found Washington State's application of contribution limits to a recall committee was unconstitutional under circumstances   in which the limits do not further the important interest of preventing corruption or the appearance of corruption. [Declaratory Order No. 19, issued Nov. 26, 2021]

Declaratory Order Candidates, Political Committees Contribution Limits
Political Advertising Guide

Learn the definition of political advertising and how to ensure your ad complies with state law.

General Candidates, Political Committees, Out-of-State Political Committees, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer Political Advertising
Post-Election Deadlines for Candidate Contributions General Candidates, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer Reporting Deadlines
Primary and General Election Contributions General Candidates Contribution Limits
Prohibited Contributors to Candidates General Candidates Campaign Contributions
Prohibited Contributors to State Candidates General Candidates Campaign Contributions
Public Inspection of Campaign Records General Candidates, Political Committees
Regarding The Seattle Democracy Voucher Program Commission Interpretation Candidates Campaign Contributions
Reimbursement for Contributions General Candidates, Political Committees
Reporting Contributions Made and Received Through Electronic Technologies Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees Campaign Contributions
Republishing Online Political Advertising Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees Political Advertising
Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act and PDC Proceedings and Filings Commission Interpretation Candidates, Political Committees
Soliciting Government Employees General Candidates, Elected Officials Public Agency Facilities
Spending General Election Contributions General Candidates Contribution Limits
Sponsor ID Placement and Size

Sponsor identification rules on political advertising varies, depending on whether the ad is in print, on a billboard or poster, broadcast or online.

General Candidates, Political Committees, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer Political Advertising
Sponsor ID: What to Include

Political advertising must identify who is paying for it. Learn what details to include. 

General Candidates, Political Committees, Sponsors of Independent Expenditures, Incidental Committees, Lobbyists, Lobbyist Employer Political Advertising
Surplus Campaign Funds

Learn what to do with surplus campaign funds.

General Candidates Surplus Funds
Transfers of Candidate Surplus Funds to Bona Fide Political Party and Caucus Political Committees Commission Interpretation Candidates Surplus Funds
Transmitting Contributions (Bundling) General Candidates, Political Committees
Using Contributions for a Different Office General Candidates Surplus Funds