Report compensation and expenses on an accrual basis.  That is, report them for the month in which each was incurred or earned, not necessarily when received.  (If reported amounts differ from what is actually received from the employer, file an amended report reflecting the correct amounts.) 

Monthly Expenditure Report Instructions

Line 1:  Identify the lobbyist.

On line 1 of the L-2 form, supply the lobbyist’s name and full address, as it appears on the registration statement.  (If the lobbyist is a lobbying firm, show the firm’s name.  And, report the compensation and expenses of all individuals listed in line 11 of the L-1 who lobbied on behalf of the firm’s employers/clients during the month being reported.)  In the space provided, indicate whether the address given on this L-2 is new or is the same as on the L-1.  Include a daytime telephone number – PDC staff may need to call you if there are questions regarding your report.

Line 2:  Identify the reporting period.

On line 2, identify the month covered by the report.  Remember, reports covering a given month’s activity are due by the 15th of the following month.  For example, January’s report must be mailed or hand-carried to the PDC no later than February 15.  If the 15th falls on a weekend or legal holiday, the report is due on the next business day.

Attributing Expenses to Employers: 

Before filling in the expense categories, study the format of the report.  The grid layout allows for subtotals for each of the categories (in the Total Amount This Month column), even if you have more than one employer and make reportable expenditures out of your own funds.  Assign a column (B, C, or D) to each employer.  Use additional L-2 forms if you have more than three lobbyist employers.  The Total Amount This Month column (on the top page of the multi-page report) must include, by category, all reportable accrued income and expenditures for the month.

If you have more than one employer, you must divide or allocate your lobbying expenses among your employers.  If an employer reimburses you directly for expenses, show how much you were reimbursed.  Otherwise, estimate each employer’s share based on either the percentage of time spent on each employer’s effort or the percentage of your total compensation paid by each employer.

 Expenditures that cannot fairly be allocated to a specific employer as well as those that come out of your own pocked are disclosed in column A.

Line 3:  Compensation.

Lobbyists employed by the entity for which they lobby usually do not have to pay their lobbying expenses out of their own pocket (i.e., the employer reimburses them, pays a per diem, or directly pays the expenses through arrangements with vendors or via employer credit cards issued to the lobbyist).  Similarly, many contract lobbyists have agreements with their lobbying employers that obligate the employer to pay actual expenses.  It is possible, in either case, that there may be some lobbying-related expenses that the employer will not or cannot pay.  Or, the lobbyist may make an expenditure that is not attributable to an employer.  Other contract lobbyists charge a flat fee and pay their expenses out of this sum.

 The discussion and examples below explain how to report these various situations.  Read this information carefully before completing the compensation section

Salary plus expenses:

If you made no payments to other lobbyists out of your own pocket, simply put the gross amount (pre-tax dollars) you earned from each employer for lobbying on line 3, columns B, C, or D and put the sum of these figures in the first column.

If you receive a per diem for personal expenses, it’s assumed you will spend the full expense allotment (that is, there will be some left over to add to your compensation), so simply put the full amount earned for compensation on line 3, columns B, C, or D and put the total in the first column.  (The reportable expenses paid out of the per diem will be put in the appropriate categories.)

Payments to a subcontractor are the only expenses that impact the amount of compensation you report receiving from your employers.  All other unreimbursed or unattributed expenses you made for lobbying are reported in column A on the appropriate line, without any corresponding reduction in compensation.

Example:  You purchase a $50 birthday gift for a legislator.  You do so because the legislator is a long-time friend, not because of any lobbying strategy.  The gift is, nonetheless, reportable on your L-2.  Show $50 on line 5, column A, and add that amount to other entertainment expenses attributed to your employers.  The row’s total goes in the first column.

Payments to subcontract lobbyists:

It is presumed that such payments are employer-attributable expenses because neither you nor the employer would bring other lobbyists on board without the intent of the subcontractor aiding the lobbying effort.  If you are paying a subcontractor out of your pocket, deduct the amount from the compensation and report it on line 9 in the appropriate employer column(s).  The compensation amount on line 3 will be the difference between the gross amounts you earned for lobbying that month from each lobbyist employer and the amount lined on line 9 of the respective employer columns.

 For example, let’s assume you earned $4,000 per month from Employer A and $2,000 per month from employer B and you paid another lobbyist $1,000 to assist you.  If the other lobbyist’s work benefited only Employer A, the entire $1,000 is shown on line 9 in that employer’s column and the amount of your compensation from that employer on line 3 is $3,000.  Another scenario is that the other lobbyist lobbies an equal amount of time for Employers A and B during the month.  In that case, report $500 on line 9 in each of these employers’ columns and report your compensation on line 3 as $3,500 from Employer A and $1,500 from Employer B.

Whenever you pay another lobbyist and have multiple lobbying employers, apportion the amount paid the other lobbyist to the various employers based on how much time the lobbyist spent on each account or on what percentage of your overall compensation each of the employers pays.  However you apportion the funds paid to the other lobbyist, your compensation from each employer (line 3, columns B, C, and D) is reduced by the amount attributed to each employer for the other lobbyist.

Flat Fee (all expenses paid out of fee):

Lobbyists who charge employers a flat fee (that is, employers do not reimburse them for expenses or directly pay expenses incurred on their behalf) forego putting compensation figures on line 3, columns B, C, or D until expenses for each employer have been recorded on the form.

The compensation amount received from an employer is actually the amount remaining after expenses paid from the flat fee have been deducted.  However, you do not deduct the amount of contributions you transmit on behalf of a client from the fee.  For example, lobbyist Mary McCoy earned $4,000 for lobbying from Washingtonians for Better Transportation (WBT) and WBT gave one $300 contribution during the period that was delivered by McCoy.  $4,300 is reported on line 10.  McCoy also spent $200 in seminar fees for two lawmakers and paid another lobbyist $400 for services rendered.  (McCoy reports receiving $3,400 – that’s $4,000 less $600 total expenses – in compensation.)  McCoy’s personal campaign contribution of $75 is also reported on her L-2. 

Lobbyists who are paid a flat fee often incur non-reportable as well as reportable expenses.  When this happens, the lobbyist’s “Total Compensation and Expenses” amount on line 10 is first reduced by the amount of the non-reportable expenses, then the reportable expenses are noted on the form and the compensation figure on line 3 is the difference between the reduced amount on line 10 and the reportable expenses.

For example, a lobbyist is paid $2,000 as a flat fee.  Reportable entertainment expenses of $300 and non-reportable expenses of $200 are incurred.  The lobbyist reports $1,800 on line 10, $300 on line 5, and $1,500 as compensation on line 3.  (It is understood that the aggregate amount reported by the lobbyist for the year will not agree with the amount reported by the employer on the L-3, the difference will be the total amount incurred for non-reportable expenses.”

Occasionally, fee-only lobbyists make lobbying expenditures that are not attributable to an employer; they come out of the lobbyist’s own funds.  Show these out-of-pocket expenses in column A.

Line 4:  Personal Expenses.

Report nonexempt personal expenses incurred for lobbying activities during the month, whether or not these expenses were reimbursed.

Generally, this will include those expenses you incur for food, beverages, and travel when you make a special trip to meet with legislators or other state officials or employees, or when you make a trip to lobby a state agency. 

Personal expenses incurred with respect to “hearings of the legislature” are exempt from reporting, as are all lodging expenses whether in Olympia or elsewhere.  

Personal expenses exempt from reporting:

  • unreimbursed personal living and travel expenses, unless they are directly for lobbying;
  • expenses for personal living accommodations (e.g., your home or rented/leased accommodations, including hotel rooms);
  • personal travel expenses to hearings of the legislature* (e.g., meals, beverages, mileage, transportation, vehicle rentals, laundry, parking, toiletry purchase);
  • telephone and facsimile expenses;
  • office expenses, including rent;
  • support staff expenses, including salaries, unless the staff member lobbies; and
  • expenses to produce reports, documents and other communications primarily designed for other purposes and distributed incidentally as part of the lobbying effort.

*"Hearings of the legislature" means any regular or special session of the state legislature or any publicly announced meeting of a standing, conference, joint or special committee of either house of the legislature.  Travel for other lobbying purposes, such as meetings with individual legislatures or staff, state agency hearings or to attend political fund raisers, etc., is reportable.

Line 5:  Entertainment, Receptions, Gratuities, Travel, Seminars.

See Washington State's ethics law, RCW 42.52.010(9)(f), for an explanation of items that may be provided to state officials, employees, and their family members.  Also see Receptions and WAC 390-20-020A, L-2 Reporting Guide

The cumulative value of all entertainment, receptions, gifts, travel, seminars or other educational opportunities, or other items of value that are provided to state officials or employees (or immediate family members) are reportable on line 5 of the L-2. 

“Immediate family” means the spouse or dependent children of the official or employee as well as any other dependent relative who lives in the official’s or employee’s household. 

PDC does not determine what types of items or services are permissible under the Ethics Law for you to give or the official, employee or family member to accept.  Depending upon whom you wish to give an item to, contact:

On line 5 of the L-2, you’ll report all expenditures incurred for entertainment, gifts, travel, field trips and other excursions, seminars, flowers, candy, mementos, tributes, services and the like provided to legislators, state officials, state employees and members of their immediate family.  Attribute each expense to the employer who incurred the expense or on whose behalf you incurred the expense. 

It will be necessary for you to itemize, on line 15, all entertainment occasions costing over $50, as well as any receptions, field trips and other excursions, enrollment and course fees, travel, lodging and subsistence expenses incurred for or provided to an official, employee or their immediate family members. 

Expenditures for lobbying-related entertainment occasions costing $50 or less and for items other than travel and educational programs are only reported on line 5.  They are not itemized elsewhere on the form.

Line 6:  Contributions.

See Contribution Limits

Also see Special Reports for Last Minute Contributions

The lobbyist's personal contributions to any state or local candidate or political committee are reportable in column A on line 6 of the L-2. 

A lobbyist who transmits or delivers contributions from another source to any state or local candidate or political committee, including ballot issue committees, reports the contributions on line 6 of the L-2. 

Contributions delivered or transmitted on behalf of the lobbyist’s employer are attributed to that employer in the appropriate column on line 6. 

If the lobbyist transmits or delivers contributions from other than his or her lobbyist employers, the amounts of those contributions are aggregated together and put in a column not assigned to any employer.  The total of these contributions must be added to the lobbyist’s personal contributions and those from employers that were transmitted or delivered by the lobbyist, and the aggregate total of all is shown on line 6 in the first column. 

Note:  If you will be transmitting or delivering contributions from someone other than a lobbyist employer, family member or an association of which you are a member, contact PDC staff to ensure that you are not running afoul of the prohibition on bundling. 

Each contribution exceeding $25, including those delivered or transmitted from non-employers, must be itemized as part of line 16. 

Typical L-2 reportable contributions by lobbyists and their employers include:

  • campaign contributions to candidates for statewide, legislative, judicial, and local office;
  • contributions to political party organizations and other political committees;
  • tickets to caucus fund raisers;
  • contributions to political committees supporting or opposing a state or local ballot proposition;
  • in-kind contributions (e.g., staff assistance, office space, equipment, postage and copying services);
  • donation or use of goods or services for less than fair market value;
  • donation of auction items; and
  • loans to an individual or political committee.

Line 7:  Advertising & Literature.

Include the cost of preparing, printing and mailing advertising, promotional literature, fact books and similar materials. 

“Advertising” includes the preparation, printing or production and distribution or dissemination of printed material, broadcasts, and promotional material that are clearly of an advertising nature and have a separate, identifiable cost related to the lobbying effort. 

The cost of materials produced primarily for another purpose but used incidentally as part of the lobbying effort are not reportable.  Promotional items such as desk sets, calendars, golf balls and similar gifts, even though promotional in nature are included in Item 5.  The cost of placing an advertisement in a candidate or political committee publication is reportable as a contribution in Item 6. 

If your employer sponsors an advertising campaign addressed to the general public (e.g., radio or TV ads, newspaper ads, billboards, inserts in monthly bills) to influence legislation, including an initiative to the legislature, you may disclose these costs on your L-2 report – and no other special reporting by the employer would be necessary – so long as the grass roots campaign is funded with existing employer resources.  If, however, the campaign is partially or fully paid for with funds acquired from sources other than the employer, the primary sponsor of the campaign must keep detailed records of all contributions and expenditures and file grass roots lobbying reports (PDC Form L-6).  See Grass Roots Lobbying.

Line 8:  Political Advertising, Public Relations, Telemarketing, Polling, etc.

Expenditures by lobbyists for political advertising supporting or opposing a state or local office candidate or ballot measure, or public relations, telemarketing, polling or similar activities that directly or indirectly are lobbying related must be reported on line 8 in the appropriate column.  It will also be itemized as part of line 17 by amount, identity of the vendor or other person paid, and a brief description. 

Political Advertising includes any advertising displays, newspaper ads, billboards, signs, brochures, articles, tabloids, flyers, letters, radio or television presentations or other means of mass communication used for the purpose of appealing, directly or indirectly, for votes or for financial or other support in any election campaign.

Line 9:  Other Expenses & Services.

Report “other expenses” that would not have been made but for your attempts to influence the passage or defeat of legislation or the adoption or rejection of any agency rule, rate or standard and that are not reported elsewhere on the L-2 form.  Include such expenses as:

  • miscellaneous personal lobbying expenses;
  • meeting rooms, tours;
  • charitable donations made at an official’s or employee’s request;
  • payments to other lobbyists hired by you or paid by you from a portion of the funds received from the employer.  (If the employer pays other lobbyists directly, that person needs to register separately and you do not report the payments.);
  • grass roots lobbying expenditures (if not already accounted for on line 8).

Line 10:  Total Compensation & Expenses.

Add each column.  The figure in the first column on line 10 should equal the sum of columns A, B, C, and D on line 10, and reflect the amounts actually earned and incurred for reportable lobbying activity.

Line 11:  Employer Names.

Give the full name of each employer for whom you are registered.  Do not use acronyms or initials – show the name exactly as it appears on your registration.  Be sure to list the employer names in the order that corresponds with the expenses shown in columns B, C and D.

Line 12:  Subject Matter of Legislation.

Describe the subject matter or issue or supply the bill number of the legislation you attempted to influence during the month.  Also specify which legislative committee or agency was considering the matter and which employer was represented during your lobbying contacts.  Be as specific as possible. 

Some lobbyists, with their initial L-2, supply an attached list of bills, issues and committees and then reference this list on subsequent reports.  If you use this approach, be sure that you review the list each month to make sure no deletions or additions are in order.  The information must be current for the month being reported. 

Line 13:  Time Spent Lobbying.

Of the time you spent lobbying during the month, what percentage of it was used for legislative lobbying?  For lobbying state agencies?  Do not factor in time devoted to non-lobbying activities.  Only consider the time you spent lobbying during the reporting period and indicate the percentage for legislative lobbying and for state agency lobbying.  For example, if approximately half of your lobbying time was devoted to each, put 50% for both types of lobbing.

Line 14:  Termination.

The registration is valid until January 10, 2021, unless you terminate it sooner.  Complete line 14 only if you wish to terminate your registration for one or more of your employers.  Specify the date each termination is effective.

Line 15:  Itemized Entertainment, Reception, Travel and Enrollment or Course Fees.

Itemize all entertainment occasions and receptions costing over $50 and all enrollment and course fees, travel, lodging and subsistence expenses incurred for or provided to an official, employee of their immediate family members.

Entertainment occasion exceeding $50 -

Spending more than $50 for a single occasion, including the portion attributable to the lobbyist, requires itemized reporting.  Include:

  • the date of the event;
  • who attended and the amount attributable to each;
  • a description of the entertainment (plus name and city where the entertainment occurred);
  • the name of the sponsoring employer; and
  • the total spent.

Whenever the bill for a lobbying entertainment occasion amounts to over $50, you must itemize the event on line 15, unless all officials, employees and their family members present fully pay their own way and none of the amount you pay is attributable to them.  That is, the amount you spent for a dinner, sporting event tickets, or the like only covers your own costs. 

If, as part of an entertainment occasion, the actual or prorated cost for food and beverages for a state elected official (either singly or in conjunction with immediate family members) exceeds $50, the official must be given notice of the entertainment.  Notice is provided by giving a copy of the L-2 report (showing the food and beverage cost attributable to the official/family) to the official or providing the official with an L-2 Memo Report.

Travel -

Itemize all expenses associated with providing a state official, employee or a member of their family with travel, lodging, meals, field trips and other excursions, and other travel-related items.  Include:

  • date of the event;
  • who attended and the amount attributable to each;
  • a description of the event  (plus name and city where the event occurred);
  • the name of the sponsoring employer; and
  • the total spent.

Enrollment and course fees -

Whenever a lobbyist or lobbyist employer either waives the fees charged other attendees and/or pays the expenses of a legislator, other state official or any state employee to attend any type of occasion permitted by RCW 42.52.010(9)(f), the value of everything provided and cost of expenses incurred are reported by the lobbyist on line 5 and itemized on line 15.

Notify Officials of Entertainment, Travel and Seminars

State officials and some employees must annually disclose if they or their family members are provided:

  • food and/or beverages costing over $50 per occasion, either singly or in conjunction with family members, except for food and beverage served at a qualifying reception, (Notice must be provided regardless of whether a single person pays for the food and beverage or the cost is shared so that each person pays less than $50.)
  • travel-related expenses or reimbursements of any amount, including field trips and other excursions, and/or
  • admission and other costs associated with attending seminars, educational programs or training

If you or your employer pays for any of these items for the benefit of a state official, employees, or their immediate family member(s), provide the recipient with a copy of your L-2 report or an L-2 Memo Report itemizing the expenditures or benefits given. 

The L-2 Memo Report should be used as an attachment to the L-2 report (assuming the L-2 does not itself show the itemized expense).  Do not attach the Memo Report to your L-2 if it simply duplicates detailed information already contained on the L-2. 

The Public Disclosure Commission has determined that entertainment expenses must be reported at full value.  That is, if the actual cost of an official’s meal is $60, the official must be given notice of the expense even if the official gives you $10 or more toward the bill &under the mistaken impression that this would bring the expense below the over-$50 threshold and the official would then not be required to report receipt of the meal on his/her F-1 statement).  

Entertainment, travel and enrollment and course fee expenditures typically include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • meals and refreshments purchased for legislators, state officials and staff (also include your own expenses related to this entertainment);
  • tickets to sporting events or theater performances;
  • entertainment sponsored jointly with other lobbyists (report your share of the overall expense);
  • home entertainment, dinners;
  • golf outings;
  • transportation, lodging and other travel-related costs for legislators, legislative staff, state officials, state employees and their families;
  • company vehicle or air transport provided legislators, officials, legislative staff or other employees;
  • tuition, fees, travel, lodging and subsistence costs associated with a legislator, legislative staff, state official or employee attending a seminar or other training.

When a lobbyist draws upon the resources of the members of an association (or any other employer organization) to provide any of the above items, benefits and services, the lobbyist must report the value of the resources utilized and the identity of the member(s) who made them available.

Line 16:  Itemized Contributions.

Total contribution figures are included on line 6 of the form.  In this section, itemize each contribution that was over $25 and was given to:

  • a candidate for state or local office or a committee supporting or opposing a candidate for one of these offices;
  • a local or state official or employee or a committee supporting or opposing a state official or employee;
  • a legislative caucus committee;
  • a political party committee;
  • a political committee supporting or opposing a state or local ballot measure; or
  • a grass roots lobbying campaign.

Provide all the information requested and use additional pages, if necessary.   

If the lobbyist transmits or delivers a contribution from one of his or her employers and that contribution is over $25, it is itemized on line 16, reported in that employer’s column on line 6 and built into the total column for line 6. 

If a lobbyist transmits or delivers a contribution from a source other than a lobbyist employer and that contribution is over $25, it must be itemized on line 16 of the L-2, reported on the front of the L-2 in a column not assigned to any employer, and included in the overall contribution total on line 6.  This includes contributions that the lobbyist transmits or delivers from the employer’s PAC. 

However, if the lobbyist does not transmit or deliver a contribution from the employer’s PAC, but is aware that the PAC made contributions during the lobbyist’s reporting period, the lobbyist is not required to report these contributions in detail, but should note the name of the PAC in the space provided at the bottom on line 16.

Lobbyist Employer’s Direct Contributions:  If the employer makes a direct contribution in excess of $110 to a state or local candidate or political committee and the lobbyist was not involved in the process, the lobbyist has no obligation to report the contribution.  Nevertheless, the lobbyist may report the contribution on the L-2.  If this is done, the lobbyist employer is relieved of reporting this contribution on an L3c report.  If the employer uses general fund dollars to make the contribution and it was not reported by the lobbyist, the employer will have to file an L-3c if the contribution was over $110.  If the employer used PAC funds, the contribution would be reported on the Committee’s regular campaign disclosure report.) 

Notify Recipients of Contributions:  If you make a personal contribution, or you transmit or deliver a contribution from another source to:

  • local, judicial, or state candidate
  • local or state elected official
  • local or state officer or employee
  • political committee supporting or opposing any local or state ballot proposition

then you must give the recipient a copy of the L-2 report on which the contribution appears or provide notice by using an L-2 Memo Report that itemizes the contribution.  RCW 42.17A.620. 

The L-2 Memo Report should also be used as an attachment to the L-2 report (assuming the L-2 does not itself show the itemized contribution.)  Do not attach the Memo Report to your L-2 if it simply duplicates contributions already itemized on line 16 of the L-2

Line 17:  Itemized Expenditures for Political Advertising, Public Relations, Telemarketing, Polling, etc.

Any expenditures of this nature that were made during the reporting period must be itemized on a separate sheet and attached to the L-2 report.  Give the amount, vendor or person receiving payments and a brief description of the activity if you or your employer made expenditures for:

  • political advertising supporting or opposing a state, local, judicial candidate or ballot measure; or
  • public relations telemarketing, polling or similar activities that directly or indirectly are intended, designed or calculated to influence legislation.

The total of these types of expenditures are shown in the appropriate columns on line 8 of the L-2

Line 18:  Itemized "Other Expenses."

Any time an expense is listed on line 9 on the front of the form, it must be itemized showing the date of the expense, whom the expense was made to, which employer benefited or on whose behalf the expense was incurred, and the amount spent.