July 21, 2020

This was first posted April 9, 2020. It will be continuously updated.

PDC staff remain on the job – albeit remotely – and available to help with any filing problems you might have during this time. You can reach us at pdc@pdc.wa.gov or 360-753-1111.

Other state resources for information about COVID-19 are available at cornoavirus.wa.gov.

That said, we understand that candidates and committees may encounter challenges due to conditions caused by the COVID-19 emergency. Here are some answers to common questions we’re hearing. We’ll update this list as needed.

Low-cost fundraisers during the COVID-19 emergency 

Low-cost fundraisers are certain types of events that generate small contributions from those who participate and require limited tracking and disclosure.  During the COVID-19 emergency, campaigns may not wish to host in-person, low-cost fundraisers where live entertainment is provided or food and beverages are served. 

But PDC guidelines do allow other kinds of low-cost fundraisers that could be conducted online, such as: 

  • retail sales of goods or services at a reasonable approximation of their fair market value; 
  • an auction or similar sale where the total fair market value of items donated by any person is no more than $50. 

Low-cost fundraisers have other limitations. Learn what qualifies as a low-cost fundraiser on the PDC website. 

Hosting an online meeting

If a campaign hosts video conferences or other online meetings, it would report any expenditures for this as they would any other campaign-related expenditures.

If a political committee hosts an online meeting for an election campaign – such as a party organization hosting an online “meet-and-greet” for a candidate – the committee should report it as an expenditure. The committee also should let the candidate know the amount of the expenditure so that the candidate can report it as an in-kind contribution.

Determining contribution “received” dates

Campaigns may be concerned about reporting contributions in a timely fashion if campaign staff members are unable to check their office mail because the office is closed.
Receipt in a closed office is the same as receipt in a mailbox. A contribution sent by mail is not actually “received” until someone takes possession of the mail.

Handling bank deposits

If you can’t make a deposit of contributions because your bank is closed, try depositing by mail, through an ATM or setting up mobile banking for your campaign.

Signatures on "paper” reports

For the limited number of reports that state law allows to be submitted by mail, the PDC will accept delivery by email during the declared emergency. Send the form as an attachment to an email addressed to pdc@pdc.wa.gov.

You also can sign these reports using an “electronic” signature. Simply type your name into the signature line.

The reports that can still be filed this way (because no electronic filing system for them exists):

  • C-5 Out-of-State Political Committee Report
  • C-7 Special Political Expenditures
  • C-1ic Incidental Committee registration
  • C-8 Incidental Committee Payments and Political Expenditures
  • E Special Report Earmarked Contributions
  • F-1 Modification Application
  • L-3c Employer's Monthly Contribution Report
  • L-6 Grass Roots Lobbying Report
  • L-7 Employment of Legislators and State Officials
  • T-1 Public Treasurer's Annual Report
  • Other reports for which individual filers have received hardship exemptions from the PDC

Filing deadlines

Deadlines for filing PDC reports are statutory, and therefore can’t be waived or extended. If you believe you won’t be able to make a deadline due to extenuating circumstances related to COVID-19, send a note explaining the circumstances to pdc@pdc.wa.gov. Your correspondence will be available for review should questions about a late filing arise.

For financial affairs disclosure reports (F-1s) due April 15, the PDC has added a way to indicate when they are incomplete due to problems accessing necessary information. To use this option, you will need to submit a partial report with the information currently available to you. At the final step in the disclosure process when you are asked to certify that the information is correct, you will see a check box that allows you to indicate that you agree to amend your report with additional information after the end of the declared emergency. Check that box and then click the submit button.