Monday, June 16, 2008

Public Disclosure Resources for Candidates

The Public Disclosure Commission is responsible for collecting and providing public access to campaign finance reports, lobbyist reports and candidate financial reports. The PDC is also responsible for enforcing Public Disclosure Laws.

The Public Disclosure Commission was formed by Initiative 276 to ensure that the antiseptic qualities of "sunshine" and consistent, transparent, campaign reporting rules provide residents of the state of Washington with an open, honest election system. The initiative passed in 1972 with 72% of the vote indicating that a majority of Washington Voters support public access to campaign finance reports.

Candidates have a legal obligation to read and abide by all PDC rules and all PDC reporting deadlines.

Below, please find the links to important documents that can be printed out to assist candidates with filing timely reports. The PDC has published a brochure titled "Getting Off to the Right Start" to assist candidates with start up questions.


PDC software can be downloaded here:


The PDC also offers training for candidates and political action committees. The next series of classes will be offered on June 21, 2008. Classes are also scheduled for July and August. If you want to avoid having a complaint filed against you, it is a good idea to attend the classes and familiarize yourself with Campaign Reporting laws.

If you have a software calender program, you may want to enter the reporting deadlines with a tickler reminder so you don't accidentally miss a filing deadline.


Here is the link for key reporting dates for 2008 Candidates:

Here is the link for 2008 Political Committee reporting dates:


Local and Judicial Candidate Filing Requirements

State Executive and Legislative Candidate Filing Requirements


For information on Electioneering Communications

For information regarding In-Kind Contributions and the 21 day rule


Political Advertising:

Electioneering Communications Guide


The Public Disclosure Commission staff has published a series of PDC Interpretations and Guidelines for Agencies and Candidates. Please note that the PDC interpretations do not appear to address candidates who are considered Civil Servants under RCW 41.06.250 nor do these interpretations appear to address issues related to state, local and federal employees that are covered by the Hatch Act.

I have written the PDC requesting information about how existing PDC interpretations are affected by Civil Service laws, but have not received an answer at the time of publication

Why is it important to obey campaign finance laws? Many elected officials are charged with the responsibility for modifying and adopting laws and rules that govern the behavior of local and state citizens. Judicial Candidates are responsible for interpreting and enforcing state law. I do not believe that it is too much to ask for a candidate to demonstrate that he/she understands, respects and upholds the laws of our state before they assume the responsibility of public office.

The Public Disclosure Commission relies on Citizens, political organizations, and political parties to file complaints against candidates who allegedly violate state campaign laws.

Information about filing a Public Disclosure Request or Complaint is listed below.

Public Disclosure Requests

How to file a complaint

Past Enforcement Cases can be found here

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