Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Oct 6 2010

OLYMPIA-- Late yesterday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a stay of the recent U. S. District Court decision in Family PAC v. McKenna, et al. that found the $5,000 timing restriction on contributions during the 21 days before a general election unconstitutional for ballot measures.   

The State appealed from that part of U. S. District Court Judge Thomas Leighton’s September 1 decision and also asked the circuit court to stay of that part of the decision so that the upcoming November general election could proceed under the rules that the citizens of Washington expected. 

In issuing the stay, the circuit court order found that “Washington and its voters have a significant interest in preventing the State’s longstanding campaign finance laws from being upended by the courts so soon before the upcoming election.”  Attorney General Rob McKenna said he is pleased “that the court recognized the importance of providing more certainty to all by maintaining the current requirement for greater accountability in this election pending the outcome of this case.”

The 21-day timing provision in RCW 42.17.105(8) remains in effect for the November 2, 2010 general election, and while the case is on appeal.  This means that the law still requires that starting October 12, 2010, no political committee --- including ballot measure committees --- may receive contributions in excess of $5,000 in the aggregate from anyone except a state bona fide party committee. 


  • Janelle Guthrie, AGO, (360) 586-0725 
  • Lori Anderson, PDC, (360) 664-2737