June 1, 2018

A new state law that takes effect June 7 makes changes to when campaigns must report debts, pledges and initial financial activity.

Public Disclosure Commission staff are working to help candidates and political committees comply with the new requirements. This is the first of several guides in the coming weeks to help explain Engrossed Substitute House Bill (ESHB) 2938.

Debts

ESHB 2938 raises the threshold for debt reporting. Debts of more than $750 must be reported when they: 1) have been outstanding for more than five business days in the 30 days before an election; or 2) have been outstanding for more than 10 business days during all other times.

The law also clarifies that regularly recurring expenses of the same amount (such as rent, utilities, insurance, cellular phone costs, and payments to campaign staff) do not have to be reported unless they were past due on the last day of the reporting period.

Pledges

Pledges (a promise to make a contribution to the campaign) of any amount must be reported under the new law. The previous threshold was $100.

Initial expenses

Candidates or political committees that register after June 6 will not have to report contributions received and expenditures made prior to registration until the next reporting deadline. Previously, campaigns were required to report those initial contributions and expenses immediately upon registration.

Questions?

This guide is intended as a resource to aid compliance with ESHB 2938, and is not intended to replace applicable RCW or WAC provisions. The PDC encourages the public to consult ESHB 2938 and the emergency rules adopted by the commission to implement ESHB 2938, which are available at our website: www.pdc.wa.gov/ESHB_2938_news. The PDC will consider public input as it makes additional changes to the WAC during permanent rulemaking this summer and fall.

PDC staff also are available to answer questions. Email pdc@pdc.wa.gov with your questions or suggestions for how we might continue to improve our filer assistance resources.