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AGO 1973 No. 12 - May 17, 1973
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Slade Gorton | 1969-1980 | Attorney General of Washington

ELECTIONS ‑- INITIATIVE AND REFERENDUM ‑- POLITICAL ADVERTISING ‑- ELECTORAL CAMPAIGN FINANCING

RCW 29.18.140, which previously required the filing of certain reports of campaign contributions and expenditures made or incurred in connection with a campaign for nomination at a partisan election, has been repealed by § 50 of Initiative No. 276 (chapter 1, Laws of 1973); however, the provisions of RCW 29.85.270 which require all political advertising to be identified as to its sponsorship and the political party of the candidate (if any) remains in effect notwithstanding its apparent repeal by § 20 of Referendum Bill No. 25 because that referendum bill was totally repealed by § 50 of Initiative No. 276 before § 20 thereof had become effective.

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                                                                   May 17, 1973

Honorable A. Ludlow Kramer
Secretary of State
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington 98504

                                                                                                                 Cite as:  AGO 1973 No. 12

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you have requested our opinion on the following question:

            "To what extent are RCW 29.18.140 and RCW 29.85.270 repealed by the provisions of Referendum 25 (Chapter 98, Laws of 1972) or Initiative 276 (Chapter 1, Laws of 1973), either singly or jointly?"

            We conclude that RCW 29.18.140 has been repealed but that 29.85.270 has not ‑ for the reasons set forth below.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            We begin by noting the text of the two RCW sections you have cited.  RCW 29.18.140, which originated as § 30, chapter 209, Laws of 1907, was last amended by § 9, chapter 150, Laws of 1965, Ex. Sess., to read as follows:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "Every candidate for nomination at a primary election, shall, within ten days after the day of holding the primary election at which he is a candidate, file an itemized statement in writing, duly sworn to as to its correctness, with the officer with whom his declaration of candidacy or other nomination paper is filed, setting forth each sum of money and thing of value, or any consideration whatever, contributed, paid or promised by him, or anyone for him, with his knowledge or acquiescence, for the purpose of securing or influencing, or in any way affecting his nomination to said office.  The statement shall set forth the sums paid as personal expenses, stating fully the nature, kind and character of the expense for which the sums were expended separately, and the persons to whom the sums were paid and the purposes for which such payments were made.  In this statement all sums or other considerations promised and not paid shall be included.  The statement, when so filed shall immediately be subject to the inspection and examination of any elector and shall be and become a part of the public records.  Any violation of this section shall be a misdemeanor."

            RCW 29.85.270, which also deals with a matter pertaining to electoral campaigns, originated as § 1, chapter 317, Laws of 1955, and was reenacted by § 29.85.270, chapter 9, Laws of 1965, to read as follows:

            "All political advertising, whether relating to candidates or issues, however promulgated or disseminated, shall identify at least one of the sponsors thereof if the advertising is sponsored by other than the candidate or candidates listed thereon, by listing the name and address of the sponsor or sponsors on the material or in connection with its presentation.  If a candidate or candidates run for partisan political office, they  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] and their sponsors shall also designate on all such political advertising clearly in connection with each such candidate the party to which each such candidate belongs.  The person or persons listed as sponsors of such advertising shall warrant its truth.  The use of an assumed name shall be unlawful.  Whenever any corporation sponsors political advertising, the name and address of the president of the corporation shall be listed on the material or in connection with its presentation."

            Your question deals with the effect of Referendum Bill No. 25 (chapter 98, Laws of 1972, Ex. Sess.), and Initiative Measure No. 276 (chapter 1, Laws of 1973) upon these two preexisting statutes.  First to be noted in response is § 20 of the former which provides as follows:

            "The following acts or part of acts are each hereby repealed:

            "(1) Section 29.18.140, chapter 9, Laws of 1965, section 9, chapter 150, Laws of 1965 ex. sess. and RCW 29.18.140; and

            "(2) Section 29.85.270, chapter 9, Laws of 1965 and RCW 29.85.270."

            By their approval of this referendum bill at the November 7, 1972, general election, the voters caused this referred enactment of the 1972 special session to become effective as of December 7, 1972, except as otherwise provided in the act itself.  Accord, Wash. Const., Article II, § 1 (Amendment 7), which states that such measures as are referred to the voters under this constitutional amendment ". . . shall be in operation on and after the thirtieth day after the election at which . . . [they are] approved. . . ."  This language has been held to refer to both initiatives and referenda.  See,Berndson v. Graystone Materials Co., 34 Wn.2d 530, 209 P.2d 326 (1949); Wynand v. Dept. Labor & Ind., 21 Wn.2d 805, 153 P.2d 302 (1944);Lynch v. Dept. Labor & Ind., 19 Wn.2d 802, 145 P.2d 265 (1944);Skidmore v. Clausen, 116 Wash. 403, 199 Pac. 727 (1921).

             [[Orig. Op. Page 4]]

            However, in the case of Referendum Bill No. 25, we next observe that § 25 thereof provided for a deferral of the effectiveness of certain portions of this act by stating that:

            "The effective date of sections 9 through 25 of this act shall be January 30, 1973 if passed by a vote of the people."

            Accordingly, it will readily be seen that if this referendum bill were the only measure involved in your question, the result attending the voters' approval thereof would have been that both RCW 29.18.140 and RCW 29.85.270,supra, would have remained in effect until January 30, 1973, (because § 20),supra, is within the scope of § 25, supra), at which time both of these preexisting statutes would have been repealed.  However, of course, the matter is not quite so simple.  In addition to granting their approval to Referendum No. 25 at the November 7, 1972, general election, the voters also approved Initiative No. 276 (now designated chapter 1, Laws of 1973) at this same election.  Because of § 49 of this measure, which states that "The effective date of this act shall be January 1, 1973," no portion of this initiative took effect on the 30th day after the election ‑ when all of Referendum No. 25 except §§ 9 through 25 became effective in accordance with the Constitution.  But on Initiative No. 276's effective date (January 1, 1973), which was prior to the effective date of the repealer contained in § 20 of Referendum No. 25,supra, this entire initiative measure did go into effect, including § 50 thereof which provides as follows:

            "Chapter 9, Laws of 1965, as amended by section 9, chapter 150, Laws of 1965 ex. sess., andR.C.W. 29.18.140 [[RCW 29.18.140]]; and chapter 131, Laws of 1967 ex. sess. and R.C.W. 44.64 [[chapter 44.64 RCW]]; and chapter 82, Laws of 1972 (42nd Leg. 2nd Ex. Sess.) and Referendum Bill No. 24; and chapter 98, Laws of 1972 (42nd Leg. 2nd Ex. Sess.) and Referendum Bill No. 25 are each hereby repealed."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            We now may return to the two preexisting statutes above quoted.  Because the first of them, RCW 29.18.040, is covered both by the repealer contained in § 20 of  [[Orig. Op. Page 5]] Referendum No. 25, supra, and by that contained in § 50 of Initiative No. 276,supra, there can be no question but that this prior statute is no longer in effect.  Even if Initiative No. 276 had not been approved, and thereby had not taken effect on the 1st of January of this year, RCW 29.18.140, supra, would have ceased to exist through the operation of § 20 of Referendum No. 25, on January 30, 1973.

            The path to an understanding of the current status of RCW 29.85.270,supra, is, on the other hand, somewhat more complex.  Hadall of Referendum No. 25 gone into effect on December 7, 1972 (thirty days after the election), this statute relating to the sponsorship of political advertising would also no longer be in effect.  But for the fact that by virtue of § 25 of the referendum, the provisions of § 20 did not become effective until January 30, 1973, both of the preexisting statutes to be repealed by this section would have ceased to exist on December 7, 1972, by virtue of the voters' approval of Referendum No. 25.  And then, in turn, the entire referendum would, itself, have been repealed on January 1, 1973, in consequence of its inclusion in § 50 of Initiative No. 276, supra.

            However, solely by reason of the easily overlooked technicality that because of § 25 of the referendum § 20 thereof did not go into effect on this earlier date, neither RCW 29.18.140 nor RCW 29.85.270 had been yet repealed by the referendum at that point in time ‑ January 1, 1973 ‑ when the referendum itself was repealed by Initiative No. 276.  Therefore, it follows that although the first of these two preexisting statutes above quoted, RCW 29.18.140, was repealed by the initiative itself at the same time as the entire referendum bill was repealed, the other preexisting statute cited in your request, RCW 29.85.270, currently remains in effect.

            This statute, requiring sponsorship identification on political advertising, was not repealed by Initiative No. 276 (because this statute, unlike RCW 29.18.140, was not among those listed in § 50 of the initiative,supra); and, moreover, it was not effectively repealed by Referendum No. 25 for the reason that the section of that referendum which purportedly repealed this statute had not yet taken effect  [[Orig. Op. Page 6]] at that point in time when the entire referendum itself was repealed by the initiative.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of some assistance to you.

Very truly yours,


SLADE GORTON
Attorney General


PHILIP H. AUSTIN
Deputy Attorney General


WAYNE L. WILLIAMS
Assistant Attorney General

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