Cite as PDC Interpretation No. 95-03
For purposes of RCW 42.17A.565, as amended by section 24 of ESSB 5684, does the term "local official" include an employee of a local agency or does it only apply to local elected officials?
As of July 1, 1995, RCW 42.17A.565 will read, in part: "No state or local official or state or local official's agent may knowingly solicit, directly or indirectly, a contribution to a candidate for public office, political party, or political committee from an employee in the state or local official's agency." (Emphasis added to show ESSB 5684 changes).
"Local agency" is defined in RCW 42.17A.005(1) to include every county, city, town, municipal corporation, quasi-municipal corporation, or special purpose district, or any office, department, division, bureau, board, commission, or agency thereof, or other local public agency.
"State official" is defined in RCW 42.17A.005 as the person who holds one of the nine elected, state-wide executive offices or the office of state legislator. The term "local official" is not defined in RCW 42.17A. However, since the application of .565 at the state level is confined to state elected officials (and does not reach state employees in general), interpreting application of .565 in the local arena in a like fashion is consistent with the apparent intent of this section of law.
Pursuant to RCW 42.17A.565, local elected officials, those appointed to fill vacant local elected offices and agents of such officials are prohibited from directly or indirectly soliciting a contribution to a candidate for public office, a political party or a political committee. Nor may local elected officials or their agents provide an advantage or disadvantage to an employee or employment applicant under the conditions set out in this section of law. However, employees of a local agency who do not otherwise hold a local elected office are not subject to RCW 42.17A.565 unless they act as an agent for a person holding local elected office.