RCW 42.17 was recodified to RCW 42.17A effective January 1, 2012 (see the recodification cross-reference table). For this interpretation see:
RCW 42.17.105 = 42.17A.265 and .420
RCW 42.17.105(8) = 42.17A.420(1)
RCW 42.17.105(1) through (6) = 42.17A.265(1) through (8)
RCW 42.17.090 = 42.17A.240
RCW 42.17.095 = 42.17A.430
RCW 42.17.095(3) = 42.17A.430
RCW 42.17.640 = 42.17A.405
RCW 42.17.640(5) = 42.17A.405
RCW 42.17.020 = 42.17A.005

Also see RCW 42.17A.410 (contribution limits for judicial candidates)

PDC Interpretation






June 27, 1995


















RCW 42.17.105


The Commission









Transfers of Candidate Surplus Funds to Bona Fide Political Party and Caucus Political Committees



Issues:  1) Does the $5,000 contribution maximum imposed during the 21 days before the general election by RCW 42.17.105(8) apply to the distribution of candidate surplus funds to a bona fide political party or caucus political committee?  2) What are the reporting requirements applicable to transfers of candidate surplus funds?


Background:  RCW 42.17.105(8), as amended by section 4 of ESSB 5684, reads as follows:  It is a violation of this chapter for any person to make, or for any candidate or political committee to accept from any one person, contributions reportable under RCW 42.17.090 in the aggregate exceeding fifty thousand dollars for any campaign for state-wide office or exceeding five thousand dollars for any other campaign subject to the provisions of this chapter within twenty-one days of a general election.  This subsection does not apply to contributions made by, or accepted from, a ((major Washington state)) bona fide political party as defined in ((RCW 29.01.090)) this chapter, excluding the county central committee or legislative district committee. An exception is not made for reportable contributions received by bona fide political party or caucus political committees, nor for otherwise legal contributions made by candidates.


The legislature also changed 42.17.095(3) via ESSB 5684 to allow candidates to transfer their surplus funds “without limit” to a political party or caucus political committee and reinforced the unlimited nature of candidate surplus transfers by adding the following language at the end of .095:  “The disposal of surplus funds under this section shall not be considered a contribution for purposes of this chapter.”  The apparent intent of these two amendments is to reverse WAC 390-16-234(3), adopted in July of 1993, that had, in applying the limits found in RCW 42.17.640, limited candidate contributions of surplus funds to party and caucus non-exempt accounts to a maximum of $2,500 and $500 per year respectively.


Interpretation:  Pending further clarification by the legislature, the Commission determines that:


        The language of RCW 42.17.095 allowing candidates to transfer surplus funds “without limit” to a political party or caucus political committee, and stating that the disposal of surplus funds “shall not be considered a contribution” is for purposes of  the limits on contributions found in RCW 42.17.640;


        Candidates who transfer their surplus funds to a bona fide political party or caucus political committee are making a reportable expenditure under RCW 42.17.020 and .090;


        A bona fide political party or caucus political committee that receives a transfer of surplus funds from a candidate has received a reportable contribution according to RCW 42.17.020, 090 and .105(1)-(6); and


        Transfers of surplus funds by candidates to a political party or caucus political committee are not subject to the limits in RCW 42.17.640(5).


Regarding the application of .105(8) to surplus funds transfers from candidates to political party and caucus committees, the Commission finds there is sufficient ambiguity regarding the unlimited nature of such transfers that legislative clarification is warranted; however, should such direction not be forthcoming during the 1996 legislative session, the Commission will re-examine this issue.


Effective Date:  July 1, 1995

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