Any expenditure of a candidate's campaign funds that is not directly related to the candidate's election campaign is a prohibited personal use of campaign funds. This means that campaign contributions may not be used to defray non-reimbursed public office related expenses, charitable donations, club memberships, newspaper subscriptions, constituent gifts and entertainment as well as other miscellaneous expenses that are not directly related to a candidate's campaign. (Public officials may establish a "Surplus Funds Account" to pay for non-reimbursed public office related expenses. RCW 42.17A.445.)
According to statute, campaign contributions may only be spent for the personal use of the candidate, the treasurer or other person associated with the campaign under the following circumstances:
- reimbursements to cover earnings lost as a result of campaigning, including reimbursements for loans taken out to cover lost earnings;
- reimbursements for services performed for the campaign;
- reimbursements for direct out-of-pocket campaign or post-election expenses; and
- repayment of loans made by a person to the campaign. Repayment of loans made by the candidate to his or her campaign is subject to limits.
Complete documentation of these types of payments must be maintained as part of the campaign records. Documentation of lost-earnings payments would include copies of pay stubs reflecting what the person would have been paid had he or she been working at his or her regular job.
Documentation of out-of-pocket expenses is either a detailed list of the date, vendor, purpose and amount of each expense, with actual receipts kept by the committee, or submission of copies of the receipts. No reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses may be made to a person without a receipt being provided to the campaign.
Child care can be reimbursed if the expense would not have occurred but for the campaign. A candidate also can be reimbursed for the use of personal property, including cellphones and vehicles, provided the expenses are prorated for the portion of campaign use.
When loans are received by the campaign, the treasurer must fill out Part 1 of Schedule L and submit this Schedule L with the C-3 report that shows the loan being deposited into the campaign account. When re-payments of loans are made, that information is reported in Part 2 of the Schedule L. This Schedule L reporting, in addition to showing the expense on Schedule A, will suffice for reporting purposes (unless PDC requests more information).