October 6, 2021

The Commission welcomes public feedback on legislation it is proposing for the 2022 legislative session.  These changes promote the Commission’s goals to respond to the evolving landscape of campaign finance law, and to continue to improve transparency for the public. 

They also seek to adjust campaign reporting schedules to reflect the state’s vote-by-mail system. The campaign finance law and filing deadlines were created at a time when there was a single election day, but voting now starts as soon as ballots are mailed.

If you want to comment on the proposed legislation, please send your comments to pdc@pdc.wa.gov by Oct. 20, 2021.

Here are highlights of the proposed legislation:

Campaign reporting calendar adjustments

  • Making weekly contribution reporting start earlier (five months before election day instead of the current four months), and weekly expenditure reports starting the month before the election month (e.g. Oct. 1 for a November general election).
  • Making campaign books of account available for public inspection 18 days before an election, instead of the current 10 days.
  • Expanding the window in which spending on qualifying political ads must be reported within 24 hours. It would move from 21 days before an election to 60 days before.
  • Updating reports of large last-minute contributions. Currently the reporting window opens seven days before a primary election and 21 days before a general election. This would standardize the period by requiring reporting one month before an election date. 
  • Raising the threshold amount for reporting large last-minute contributions from $1,000 to more than $2,000. This would largely exclude maximum contributions from individuals and businesses. 
  • Requiring such large contributions be deposited within two days during those periods. This change would allow treasurers to report the contribution only once – on a C-3 – rather than the double reporting that now occurs, while preserving expedited reporting of high-dollar amounts.

Other Policy Changes 

  • Updating grassroots lobbying provisions to require expedited reporting and sponsor identification. 
  • Streamlining the process for applying a contribution limits exemption to recall committees. This is in response to federal case law striking limits as applied to recall committees that do not coordinate with potential candidates or the appointing authority.
  • Requiring disclaimers on political ads with endorsements when the endorsement was for the candidate running in a different election or race than the current one, and on ads that encourage votes for a person who is not a candidate for office as of the date the advertisement is first presented.

Incorporating PDC Proposals in Past Legislation  - HB 2772 (2020)

  • Clarifying that “ballot proposition” applies to local ballot measures.
  • Aligning reporting periods for the F-1 to provide consistent reporting periods for elected officials who are also candidates.
  • Focusing reporting on the information classifications required and establish minimum standards of disclosure that would be expounded by rule.
  • Making the PDC Transparency Account a non-appropriated fund to establish a permanent, stable, and independent funding source that will allow for effective long-term agency strategic planning.