Independent expenditures and electioneering communications are important because they are a constitutionally protected form of speech and, unlike contributions, not subject to limit.  As long as an expenditure does not constitute a contribution as defined in RCW 42.17A.005(13)(a) and WAC 390-05-210, the person making it is free to spend as much or as little as he or she likes.

Definitions

Independent Expenditure

  • Costs at least $1,000 (either alone or in conjunction with other ads by the same sponsor benefitting the same candidate);
  • Supports or opposes a clearly identified candidate for state or local office;
  • Is paid for by someone other than a candidate, a candidate’s committee or agent; and
  • Is paid for by some individual or entity who undertakes the advertising without having received the benefitting candidate’s encouragement or approval or without collaborating with the candidate or the candidate’s agent. 

Be aware that if an expenditure meets the statutory definition of contribution, it is subject to limit and it is not an independent expenditure

Electioneering Communication

  • Clearly identifies at least one candidate for state, local, or judicial office;
  • Appears within 60 days of an election in the jurisdiction where the candidate seeks election;
  • Is in one or more of the following media – radio, television, postal mailing, billboard, newspaper, or periodical,
  • Either alone, or in combination with other communications by the sponsor identifying the candidate, has a fair market value of $1,000 or more, and
  • Is paid for by some individual or entity who undertakes the advertising without having received the benefiting candidate’s encouragement or approval or without collaborating with the candidate or the candidate’s agent.

Reporting

A lobbyist or lobbyist employer who sponsors an electioneering communication or an independent expenditure ad that appears within 21 days of an election must file PDC form C-6 in addition to the lobbyist/lobbyist employer reports.  See the PDC’s Political Advertising Brochure and Electioneering Communications supplement for more information