During the 10 days preceding a primary, general, or special election in which the candidate's name is on the ballot, the campaign's books of account showing all contributions received, expenditures made and outstanding debts must be opened for public inspection. An inspection may occur on weekdays beginning on the eighth day before the election — excluding legal holidays — by appointment between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the location agreed up by both the treasurer and the requester or electronically in lieu of in-person inspection. WAC 390-16-043

“Books of account” means a ledger or similar listing of contributions, expenditures and debts, such as a campaign or committee is required to file regularly with the PDC, but current as of the most recent business day. 

As a practical matter, campaigns and committees might want to consider compiling PDC forms to be available on a daily basis for inspection upon request (but not required for filing), like C-3 and C-4 forms.

If a ledger of contributions, expenditures and debts is not kept, the campaign must make available information sufficient to support such a listing, including: receipts, invoices, copies of checks and notes or documents regarding orders placed, loans, etc. The inspection is not intended to be an exhaustive audit. 

A note for self-funding candidates:  A candidate who self-funds the entire campaign and elects to spend funds from a personal bank account instead of opening a campaign account must allow inspection of the bank account's check register and statements — just as a non-self-funding candidate must allow inspections of campaign-account registers and statements — when books of account are not kept up-to-date on a daily basis for possible inspection.

Candidate's responsibilities:

  • Keep the campaign books current within one business day.
  • PDC staff hopes that candidates and those requesting inspections will be cooperative and accommodating.  
  • If it is not possible to schedule the records inspection at the day or time requested, the candidate must make the records available for inspection within 48 hours of the requested time.
  • Review box #10 on the C-1 Candidate Registration form shortly before the inspection period starts, to ensure that the contact information is up-to-date.
  • If the campaign's only copy of its books are electronic, the requester must be given sufficient instruction to allow the inspection to proceed.

The candidate is not required to:

  • make copies of its books, whether the books are kept on paper or in electronic form;
  • allow videotaping, photocopying or photography during the inspection; or
  • provide the name and address of contributors who gave $25 or less in the aggregate.

Requester's responsibilities:

  • Provide a name (all names, if more than one person will attend) and phone number when making the appointment.
  • Show photo identification for each inspector before the inspection begins.  The inspection may be denied when photo ID is not provided.