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Declaratory Order Index

RCW Chapter 42.17 recodified to 42.17A, effective January 1, 2012.
recodification cross-reference table

(Revised August 11, 2015)

No. Citations Topic / Date / Summary


RCW 42.17.130
WAC 390-05-270

Legislator Newsletters Concerning Ballot Propositions - PDF (November 15, 1977)  

One or more of the cited prohibitions against use of office facilities or public office funds to promote or oppose a ballot proposition would be violated by a legislator using such facilities or funds (a) to prepare and distribute the attached newsletter expressing views in opposition to two ballot measures, or (b) to make speeches or distribute legislative materials for the purpose of opposing such measures


RCW 42.17.130
WAC 390-05-271
WAC 390-05-273

County Council Questionnaire Mailed During Election Campaign - PDF (October 23, 1979)

The production and mailing of a budget questionnaire at county expense during an election campaign would violate RCW 42.17.130 if it includes a cover page which is unrelated to the questionnaire and which draws special attention to a council member who is a candidate.


RCW 42.17.020(33)
RCW 42.17.090

Group Seeking Incorporation of City - PDF (March 25, 1980)

A group of citizens which has publicly circulated petitions to a boundary review board seeking to incorporate a second-class city and has solicited contributions from the general public is a political committee and therefore must file reports of contributions and expenditures from the time of its first contribution or expenditure.


RCW 42.17.130
WAC 390-05-271
WAC 390-05-273
WAC 390-16-206

Endorsements of Candidates Distributed Through School Facilities - PDF (May 27, 1980)

Distribution through the internal mail system of a school district of a newsletter published by a local education association, which contains endorsements of candidates for public office, would violate RCW 42.17.130.


RCW 42.17.020(14)
WAC 390-05-210

Initiative Campaign Receiving Free Air Time Under Fairness Doctrine (December 13, 1988) - Vacated October 25, 2007

A contribution does not result from a good faith decision by a broadcaster to provide free air time to an initiative campaign when advised by counsel that the 'Fairness Doctrine' requires that action.


RCW 42.17.020(14)
WAC 390-05-210

Initiative Campaign Receiving Free Air Time - (March 24, 1992) - Vacated October 25, 2007

A contribution may result when a broadcaster provides free air time or air time at a reduced rate to an initiative campaign.


RCW 42.17.020(3)

Recall Petition is Ballot Proposition When Initially Filed - PDF (August 22, 1989)

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 RCW 29.82.010.


RCW 42.17.241

Reporting Commodity Futures Contract on the Financial Affairs Statement - PDF (August 27, 1991)

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 42.17.241(1)(b) and should be listed in Section 3.A on the F-1.


RCW 42.17.020(8)
WAC 390-05-200

When a Person Becomes a 'Candidate' - PDF (May 27, 1992)

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 42.17.020(5) merely because a nominating petition is being circulated by an independent group.


RCW 42.17.020(10)
RCW 42.17.110

A Printing Company is a Commercial Advertiser - PDF (July 28, 1992)

A printing company is a commercial advertiser pursuant to RCW 42.17.020(6) when the service it sells is that of communicating or producing messages for the general public or segment thereof.


RCW 42.17.130
WAC 390-05-271
WAC 390-05-273

Local Agencies Promoting Ballot Propositions - PDF (November 16, 1993)

Unless express authority is granted by an independent source, a local agency cannot promote a ballot proposition as 'normal and regular conduct' of the agency, for to do so would be in violation of RCW 42.17.130.


Not Issued


RCW 42.17.200

Committee Seeking Creation of New County - PDF (May 24, 1994)

A committee which has been formed for the purpose of creating a new county, solicits contributions for their activities and is engaged in a campaign to obtain the required number of signatures on the petitions to be presented to the Legislature for the formation of the new county is a sponsor of a 'grass roots lobbying campaign' and therefore must file reports pursuant to RCW 42.17.200.


RCW 42.17.130

Use of City Facilities to Broadcast Candidate Forum - PDF (October 24, 1995)

A city is not prohibited by 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.


RCW 42.17.130 and RCW 42.17.190

School District Activities Relating to Support of or Opposition to Initiatives to the Legislature - PDF (May 28, 1996)

An analysis of when and to what extent RCW 42.17.130 and 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.


RCW 42.17.190

Petition by the University of Washington Regarding Application of the Public Agency Lobbying Provisions - PDF (June 29, 1999)

Lobbying under RCW 42.17.190 occurs when the person making the communication to an elected official, or officer or employee of any agency, intends to influence in a material way the adoption or rejection of specific proposed or reasonably anticipated bills, resolutions, motions, amendments, nominations, and other like matters before the state legislature.

The University of Washington's discretionary funds, and returns on those funds, received by the University under RCW 28B.20.130 do not constitute 'public funds' under RCW 42.17.190(3) and (5).

The gift prohibition contained in RCW 42.17.190(3) applies when lobbying occurs within a reasonable period of time before or after receipt of the gift.


RCW 42.17.160 and
RCW 42.17.200

Grassroots Lobbying and Exemption from Registration and Reporting
– PDF (February 26, 2010)

RCW 42.17.160 does not provide petitioners an exemption from the registration and reporting requirements for grassroots lobbying in RCW 42.17.200, given the facts presented. In particular, RCW 42.17.160(4) does not exempt petitioners because that exemption does not apply to grassroots lobbying. If the petitioners engage in the anticipated activities outlined in the petition and exceed the current reporting thresholds by spending at least $500 in the aggregate in one month or $1,000 in the aggregate in three months on a grassroots lobbying campaign, they will be required to register and report their grassroots lobbying expenditures under RCW 42.17.200.


RCW 42.17A.405
RCW 42.17A.125, and
WAC 390-05-400

In the Matter of the Petition of Recall Mark Lindquist for a Declaratory Order under RCW 34.05.240 - PDF (August 11, 2015)

Whether contribution limits identified in RCW 42.17A.405(3) may be applied to Recall Mark Lindquist in light of the Farris decisions [Farris v. Seabrook, 677 F.3d 858, 867 (9th Cir. 2012) and subsequent circuit court opinion] and injunction as well as the factual representations made by the Committee as to its campaign conduct.