Occasionally, committees receive funds from truly anonymous sources; that is, no one involved with the committee knows who donated the money. Up to a point, the law allows committees to keep these anonymous contributions. Specifically, ballot measure committees may receive as much as $300 or one percent of the total contributions received to date for this campaign, whichever is greater. (The one percent won’t come into play until the campaign receives over $30,000 in contributions.) Continuing political committees may receive $300 or 1% of total contributions received to date for the calendar year, whichever is greater.
When a political committee reaches the limit applicable to the campaign (or the calendar year for continuing committees), no more anonymous funds may be accepted. These excess dollars must be returned to the donors if they can be identified or forfeited to the state’s general fund. If the contributors cannot be identified, immediately send a check to PDC payable to the State Treasurer in the amount of the overage, along with an explanation of the circumstances surrounding receipt of excess anonymous funds.
Committees may not legally use the anonymous contribution provision to avoid identifying contributors. Only contributors who give a total of $25 or less in the aggregate need not be identified on contribution reports, but a private list identifying these donors and how much they’ve given to date must be kept by the committee.
Contributions received in connection with a qualifying low-cost fundraiser are NOT considered anonymous donations and are not subject to the $300 or 1% limit. RCW 42.17A.220(4).