What is a reporting modification?

The commission, pursuant to RCW 42.17A.120, may suspend or modify PDC reporting requirements of this chapter if it finds that literal application of this chapter works a manifestly unreasonable hardship in a particular case and the suspension or modification will not frustrate the purposes of this chapter. A modification to the reporting requirements for personal financial affairs disclosure (F-1s) usually exempts the filer from having to disclose certain information. It does not eliminate the filing requirement.

What kinds of information would a modification exempt me from having to disclose?

The most common requests for modifications come from judicial and law enforcement officials and from people who are partners or owners of a business or who are officers, directors or trustees of an organization, association or union.  These types of filers often request modifications because they have a personal safety concern and want to exclude their primary residence's location, or because they would face a hardship or competitive disadvantage by disclosing the names of business customers or governmental agencies that paid their businesses, organizations or associations. Filers also sometimes ask for exemptions from disclosing information related to a spouse.

More information is available in the instructions.

How do I apply for a modification?

Complete the application provided by the commission and submit it with a completed F-1 that provides all required information except that which you are seeking an exemption from having to provide. Please review the types of common requests and accompanying application questionnaires to see if one matches your specific circumstance.

What happens to the information I provide in support of my modification request?

PDC staff summarize the request and include that summary with agenda materials for the meeting where the request will be heard. The original application with greater detail is provided to commissioners. It is a public record and can be disclosed upon request. 

When should I submit my request?

As soon as possible. Annual filers (those in appointed and elected office) ideally should submit an application no later than March 10 in order for it to be heard before the April 15 filing deadline. Newly appointed officials and candidates should submit their applications within two weeks of being appointed or becoming a candidate. 

What should I do about past reports that disclosed the information that I am now seeking to protect?  

The commission can consider retroactive modifications. If a retroactive modification is granted, the PDC will redact the exempted information from those past reports. The originals, with the information included, remain public records and could be released under some circumstances.

How does the commission make its decision?

The commission has established criteria for the review of modification requests in WAC 290-28-100

What happens after the commission grants a modification? 

You will receive an order granting the modification. You will need to ask for a renewal of that modification every year. 

What if I encounter a conflict of interest in my official duties?

You are still obligated to recuse yourself from matters that pose conflicts, whether you disclosed the information on your F-1 or received a reporting modification that exempted you from having to disclose the information.

What if I don’t know if I need a modification or I have questions about the modification process?

You may contact the Public Disclosure Commission staff if you need additional information or have questions.