Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1993 NO. 3 > Mar 19 1993

1.  RCW 42.17.080-.090 require political committees to report campaign contributions to the Public Disclosure Commission.  This requirement only applies to political committees.  An organization is only a political committee if a primary purpose of the organization is to affect, directly or indirectly, governmental decision making by supporting or opposing candidates or ballot propositions. 2.  Washington must have jurisdiction over an out-of-state political committee in order to impose its campaign reporting requirements.  To obtain jurisdiction there must be purposeful minimum contacts between the out-of-state organization and Washington.  This is a factual question that must be determined on a case by case basis, however, the act of making contributions in Washington establishes the necessary jurisdiction. 3.  If Washington does not have jurisdiction over an out-of-state political committee, it is not required to file reports with the state.  However, if this nonreporting committee subsequently makes contributions to candidates in Washington, it must file a report pursuant to RCW 42.17.090(1)(k) as a nonreporting political committee or its contribution will be forfeited to the state.

AGO 2000 NO. 4 > Jul 3 2000

1.  If a political campaign receives a loan from a commercial lending institution which meets the criteria set forth in RCW 42.17.720(3), and the loan is not guaranteed by any other person, the loan is exempt from the campaign contribution limitations set forth in RCW 42.17.640.  2.  In limiting the extent to which candidates may be reimbursed from campaign contributions for loans to their political campaigns, RCW 42.17.125(3) applies to funds borrowed by the candidate personally but used for campaign purposes and also to funds borrowed by the candidate's political committee but guaranteed by the candidate.

AGO 2005 NO. 4 > Apr 4 2005

1.  For purposes of RCW 42.17.130, which generally prohibits the use of public resources on election campaigns but contains an exception for certain acts of “elected legislative bodies,” the term is limited to bodies composed entirely of persons elected by the people to serve on that body, and it does not include “mixed” bodies of partly elected and partly appointed members or bodies composed of officers serving “ex officio” by virtue of their election to some other position.  2.  The term “legislative” for purposes of RCW 42.17.130 is restricted to governing bodies with the power to enact general laws within a defined geographic area, such as the legislative bodies of counties, cities, and towns, and it does not include the governing bodies of districts created for special purposes.

AGO 1993 NO. 12 > Jun 15 1993

1.  RCW 42.17.125, which governs the personal use of campaign contributions, does not authorize the use of such contributions for nonreimbursed public office related expenses.2.  Prior to Initiative 134, RCW 42.17.095 authorized a public officer to use surplus campaign contributions for nonreimbursed public office related expenses.  Initiative 134 repealed this authority such that surplus campaign contributions can no longer be used for this purpose.3.   Although campaign contributions and surplus campaign contributions may not be used for nonreimbursed public office related expenses, a public office may solicit gifts for the specific purpose of defraying nonreimbursed public office related expenses.4.   If a public officer solicits gifts to defray nonreimbursed public office related expenses, such gifts must be reported to the Public Disclosure Commission pursuant to RCW 42.17.240 and .2415.

AGLO 1979 NO. 38 > Oct 16 1979

Explanation of the extent to which RCW 42.17.350 and RCW 42.17.190, as amended, permit members of the Public Disclosure Commission and its staff to lobby or otherwise communicate with the legislature.