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
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
Political Committee - Definition and Types Commission Interpretation Political Committees, Bona Fide Party Committee
Political Committee Sponsor General Political Committees Registration
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
Public Service Announcements by State Elected Officials and Municipal Officers Commission Interpretation Elected Officials Public Service Announcements
Recall Petition Is Ballot Proposition When Initially Filed

The reporting requirements of chapter 42.17 RCW begin as soon as supporters of a recall election file a petition with the election officer under 29A.561.110 (formerly RCW 29.82.010)  [Declaratory Order No. 6, issued August 22, 1989]

Declaratory Order
Regarding The Seattle Democracy Voucher Program Commission Interpretation Candidates Campaign Contributions
Reimbursement for Contributions General Candidates, Political Committees
Reporting Commodity Futures Contract On The Financial Affairs Statement

Trading in commodity futures is reportable pursuant to RCW 42.17.241(1)(b) and should be listed in Section 3.C on the F-1. Separate accounts from which interest is earned is reportable pursuant to RCW 42.17A.710(1)(b) (formerly RCW 42.17.241) and should be listed in Section 3.A on the F-1.  [Declaratory Order No. 7, issued August 27, 1991]

Declaratory Order
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
School District Activities Relating To Support Of Or Opposition To Initiatives To The Legislature

An analysis of when and to what extent RCW 42.17A.555 (formerly RCW 42.17.130) and RCW 42.17A.635 (formerly RCW 42.17.190) affect a school district's ability to engage in activities relating to the support of or opposition to initiatives to the legislature.  [Declaratory Order No. 14, issued May 28, 1996]

Declaratory Order
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
Use of City Facilities to Broadcast Candidate Forum

A city is not prohibited by RCW 42.17A.555 (formerly RCW 42.17.130) from organizing and broadcasting a candidate forum where the purpose of the forum is to educate voters about the candidates for office, each candidate is provided an equal opportunity to participate, and the forum is presented in a fashion that is unbiased and nondiscriminatory with regard to all candidates.  [Declaratory Order No. 13, issued October 24, 1995]

Declaratory Order
Use of Robes and Courtrooms in Campaign Literature by District and Municipal Court Judges Commission Interpretation Elected Officials Public Agency Facilities
Using Contributions for a Different Office General Candidates Surplus Funds
Wearing Political Pins, Buttons, Etc. Commission Interpretation Public Agencies, Elected Officials Public Agency Facilities
When A Person Becomes A "Candidate"

A person who has neither consented to become a candidate, made a declaration of candidacy nor solicited or accepted campaign contributions is not a 'candidate' within the meaning of RCW 42.17A.005(5) (formerly RCW 42.17.020) merely because a nominating petition is being circulated by an independent group.  [Declaratory Order No. 8, issued May 27, 1992]

Declaratory Order