Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.
Purpose: The public disclosure commission (PDC) is updating its public records rules to provide access to the public to the agency's records under the Public Records Act, chapter 42.56 RCW. The amendments and new rules address the PDC's jurisdiction, role of public records officer, hours for inspection and copying records, making and processing public records requests, electronic records, copying records, exemptions from disclosure including records of pending investigations, internal reviews of denials of records, and the records index. The PDC is also repealing a rule providing an optional format for requests for lists of individuals because under chapter 42.56 RCW the PDC does not adopt model rules for other agencies. The amendments and new rules implement the recodification of the Public Records Act to chapter 42.56 RCW and modernize the PDC's public records rules in light of changes in technology, and laws and court decisions related to public records. As directed in RCW 42.56.100, the rules will assist the public in accessing the PDC's records, guide the public and PDC staff on records requests, and provide procedures to protect public records and prevent excessive interference with agency functions.
Repealing WAC 390-13-010; new WAC 390-14-011, 390-14-027 and 390-14-028; and amending WAC 390-14-015, 390-14-020, 390-14-025, 390-14-030, 390-14-035, 390-14-040, 390-14-045, 390-37-001, and 390-37-060.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing WAC 390-13-010; and amending WAC 390-14-015, 390-14-020, 390-14-025, 390-14-030, 390-14-035, 390-14-040, 390-14-045, 390-37-001, and 390-37-060.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 42.56.100, 42.56.040, 42.17A.110.
Adopted under notice filed as WSR 12-15-030 on July 11, 2012.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 3, Amended 9, Repealed 1.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 3, Amended 9, Repealed 1.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: August 23, 2012.
The following section of the Washington Administrative Code is repealed:
|WAC 390-13-010||Optional format for requests for lists of individuals.|
WAC 390-14-011 Purpose of this chapter -- To implement the Public Records Act and describe the commission. (1) The purpose of chapter 390-14 WAC is to establish the commission's procedures to provide full access to its public records and to implement the provisions of the Public Records Act under chapter 42.56 RCW for the commission.
(2) The commission implements and enforces chapter 42.17A RCW, the laws governing campaign finance, lobbying, reporting by public treasurers, and personal financial affairs disclosures. A description of the commission organization, general operations and procedures is under chapter 390-12 WAC. More information is located on its web site at www.pdc.wa.gov. The commission does not implement or enforce the Public Records Act for other public agencies.
(3) If you wish to obtain general information or copies of records, you do not need to submit a formal public records request. You will often find such information on the commission's web site, or you may make an informal routine inquiry by contacting the commission office.
(a) The commission is a disclosure agency. The commission is required to operate a web site. Therefore, the commission routinely places numerous categories of records on its web site. You are strongly encouraged to review the web site prior to making a public records request. The web site provides records and other information that can be viewed at no cost, including: The agency's organizational chart; contact information; statutes; rules and rule-making activity; final orders; enforcement case information and records; declaratory orders; interpretive statements; external policies; manuals; fact books; brochures; videos; commission meeting agendas, materials, and minutes; strategic plans; reports; campaign finance data, reports, and forms; lobbying data, reports and forms; other forms and reports; news releases; and, filer information. Information on the web site is updated regularly.
(b) You may also contact the commission office to make an informal routine inquiry for a record.
(i) For example, informal routine inquiries generally seek a particular form, brochure, manual, report, lobbyist directory, or other similar readily available record specifically filed or created for the public under chapter 42.17A RCW and they can often be responded to on the same or next business day by providing the record. Informal routine inquiries do not seek a record that includes any exempt information, require any clarification, require providing records in installments, or require a search of different types of agency records or records sent to storage. In addition, informal routine inquiries do not provide any fair notice that the inquiry is a formal public records request submitted under the Public Records Act under chapter 42.56 RCW.
(ii) If your informal routine inquiry concerns a record or information on the commission's web site, agency staff may direct you to its on-line location.
(iii) Informal routine inquiries are not subject to the time periods or other procedures in the Public Records Act.
(4) If you want to make a formal request for a record under the Public Records Act, see WAC 390-14-025.
(2) You may contact the public records officer through any of the following means:
• By e-mail at email@example.com;
• In writing at P.O. Box 40908, 711 Capitol Way, Room 206, Evergreen Plaza Building, Olympia, Washington 98504-0908;
• By facsimile at 360-753-1112;
• By telephone at 360-753-1111, toll-free 1-877-601-2828.
(3) The name of the current public records officer is on file with the code reviser in accordance with RCW 42.56.580 and is published in the Washington State Register which is available on-line at www.leg.wa.gov/codereviser.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17A.110. 12-03-002, § 390-14-015, filed 1/4/12, effective 2/4/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 99-12-057, § 390-14-015, filed 5/27/99, effective 6/27/99; 85-15-020 (Order 85-03), § 390-14-015, filed 7/9/85; Order 62, § 390-14-015, filed 8/26/75.]
(2) Records and information posted on the commission web site are available to you at any time for inspection and copying from your personal computer or computer terminals publicly available, such as public libraries. A public computer terminal is available in the commission office for you to inspect commission web site records. The terminal is available on a no cost, first-come, first-served basis.
(3) The commission will take reasonable actions to protect records from damage and disorganization while records are being inspected and copied including, but not limited to, the following:
(a) If you seek time at the commission office to inspect records, or if more than one person wants to use the agency's public computer terminal to inspect records on the commission's web site, the public records officer will work with you to provide a schedule. The schedule will take into account the space or time needed to inspect the records, any staff assistance needed, and other demands on the agency.
(b) You may not remove public records from the area the public records officer makes available for inspection. The public records officer has the discretion to designate the means and the location for the inspection of records.
(c) Inspection of any public record must be conducted in the presence of a designated agency employee.
(d) Public records may not be marked or altered in any manner during inspection.
(e) After inspection is complete, the public records officer or designee will make requested copies or arrange for copying and pickup or delivery. Copying and mailing charges apply. See WAC 390-14-030.
(f) Public records that are maintained in a file or jacket, or in chronological order, may not be dismantled except by a designated agency employee for purposes of copying.
(g) Depending upon the specific nature or scope of the request, the public records officer may make other arrangements or provide other procedures to provide full public access to public records, protect public records from damage or disorganization, and prevent excessive interference with other essential functions of the agency or unreasonable disruption of the agency. The public records officer may take into account the volume of records responsive to your request, the availability of staff, and other factors. Such procedures may include making records available on a partial or installment basis.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 99-12-058, § 390-14-020, filed 5/27/99, effective 6/27/99; 85-15-020 (Order 85-03), § 390-14-020, filed 7/9/85; Order 62, § 390-14-020, filed 8/26/75.]
The commission office is located at 711 Capitol Way, Room
206, Evergreen Plaza Building, Olympia, Washington. The
mailing address is: Public Disclosure Commission, P.O. Box
40908, Olympia, ((
WA)) Washington 98504-0908. Telephone
number: 360-753-1111. Toll-free telephone number:
1-877-601-2828. Facsimile number: 360-753-1112. (( Electronic mail)) E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mark your
request to the attention of the public records officer.
Include contact information such as your name, address, e-mail
address and telephone number, or other contact information.
Your request must identify the public records requested, the
date of your request, and describe whether you want copies or
if you want only to inspect the records. The public records
officer may ask you to confirm that you will pay for the
records or ask you for a deposit.
(2) Form. A public records request form is available for you at the commission office and on-line at www.pdc.wa.gov.
(3) E-mail requests.
(a) Send your e-mail request to email@example.com. Do not send your request to other commission e-mail addresses. This procedure helps the agency see your request so it can respond timely. Include the information described in subsection (1) of this section. E-mail requests sent to agency e-mail addresses other than firstname.lastname@example.org will not be considered a public records request under chapter 42.56 RCW but will be responded to as an informal routine inquiry or a general request for information.
(b) Public records requests received via e-mail after regular business hours or on nonbusiness days will be considered received the next business day.
(4) Making oral requests. To avoid misunderstandings about what records you seek, you are strongly encouraged to make a public records request in writing. If you make an oral request, the public records officer will ask you to confirm it before beginning to process it. Your request will be processed after the agency verifies your request in writing.
(5) Records posted on the commission web site. You are strongly encouraged to review the commission's web site at www.pdc.wa.gov prior to making a request to see if the records you seek are already posted.
(6) Assistance. ((
(2))) Whenever (( a member of the
public)) you request(( s)) assistance in making a public
records request, the (( staff member to whom the request is
made shall)) public records officer will assist (( the member
of the public)) you in identifying the appropriate public
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17A.110. 12-03-002, § 390-14-025, filed 1/4/12, effective 2/4/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 02-03-018, § 390-14-025, filed 1/4/02, effective 2/4/02; 99-12-059, § 390-14-025, filed 5/27/99, effective 6/27/99; 85-15-020 (Order 85-03), § 390-14-025, filed 7/9/85; Order 64, § 390-14-025, filed 11/25/75; Order 62, § 390-14-025, filed 8/26/75.]
(2) The commission will generally provide records in the format you request, to the extent feasible and reasonable and within current resources. If the commission cannot provide the records to you in the format you request, the commission at its option may provide the records in another format. See WAC 390-14-028. The commission may provide records in a format in which the record is maintained by the commission for its business purposes. The commission is not required to create new records in order to respond to your request. The public records officer will explain why any records are withheld in whole or in part. See WAC 390-14-035. You must pay applicable charges for records you receive. See WAC 390-14-030. There is no cost to you for inspecting records at the commission office or on the web site.
(3) The public records officer will close your request when:
(a) You have been provided the requested records;
(b) You withdraw the request or ask that the processing end; or
(c) You fail to:
(i) Provide clarification or otherwise respond to the public records officer when requested;
(ii) Inspect or pay for an installment of records; or
(iii) Pay any requested deposit.
(2) Providing electronic records. The commission may provide records to you electronically if you request them to be provided electronically, to the extent feasible and reasonable and within current resources. Given technology and resource changes, the commission may adjust at any time how or in what specific format records may be provided electronically, and those adjustments may not be set out in rule. However, the following general procedures apply:
(a) Records provided on the commission's web site have been provided to you electronically. The commission will not provide those records in another electronic format. The public records officer will identify the link to the web site location of the records you request.
(b) If you request an electronic record that is not on the web site and not reasonably translatable into the format you request, or the commission cannot provide the record in electronic format you request given the commission's current technology and resources, then at the commission's option either:
(i) Electronic copies will be provided to you in a format currently used by the commission; or
(ii) Paper copies will be provided to you.
(c) The commission does not have an obligation to convert an electronic record to a digital format that is different than a format maintained by the commission.
(d) The commission does not have an obligation to purchase additional software, equipment, licenses or other items to respond to your requests for records.
(3) Exempt information in electronic records. When electronic records you request require redaction to withhold exempt information and redactions cannot be provided electronically, or the records are contained in a data base or program that contains exempt or proprietary information, the commission may provide you paper copies with any redactions noted on those copies.
• Ten cents per page for paper copies of public records maintained on paper or electronically;
• Twenty-five cents per film for copies of public records maintained on microfiche;
• Twenty cents per diskette for copies of electronically maintained public records; and
• Two dollars per CD ROM for copies of electronically maintained public records.
The commission shall charge persons who use agency equipment to make paper copies from microfiche ten cents per page. These charges are the amounts necessary to reimburse the commission for its actual costs incident to copying, including the use of the commission's equipment. Charges will not be assessed if the total cost involved in a particular request is less than one dollar)) made available in the commission office or on the commission web site.
(2) The commission does not charge a fee for locating public records and making them available to you for copying.
(3) The commission may charge a published fee for copying records, if you order copies. The commission's schedule of charges for copies is published on the commission's web site at www.pdc.wa.gov and is available by contacting the public records officer. The executive director may revise the schedule periodically as needed.
(4) Before beginning to make copies, the public records officer may require you to deposit up to ten percent of the estimated costs of copying and mailing all the records selected by you. The public records officer may also require you to pay the remainder of the copying costs before providing you all the records, or require you to pay the costs of copying an installment before providing you that installment. If you do not retrieve or pay for an installment of records within the time frame set by the public records officer, the balance of the request will not be fulfilled and your request will be closed.
(5) If it is reasonable and feasible to do so, the commission may provide copies of records electronically. See WAC 390-14-028. Charges for electronic records, if any, are provided in the commission's schedule. Electronic disclosure of records includes providing them on the commission's web site.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 99-12-060, § 390-14-030, filed 5/27/99, effective 6/27/99; 85-15-020 (Order 85-03), § 390-14-030, filed 7/9/85; 82-18-031 (Order 82-06), § 390-14-030, filed 8/25/82; 82-05-001 (Order 82-01), § 390-14-030, filed 2/4/82; Order 62, § 390-14-030, filed 8/26/75.]
All denials of requests for public records must be
accompanied by)) If the agency denies all or part of your
request, you will be provided a written statement specifying
the reason for the denial, including a statement of the
specific exemption authorizing the withholding of the record
and a brief explanation of how the exemption applies to the
(3) Examples of exemptions that the agency may cite include, but are not limited to: Records related to a pending investigation (RCW 42.56.240(1)); records protected by the attorney client privilege or attorney work product (RCW 42.56.290 and 5.60.060); personal information in any files maintained for employees, appointees or elected officials to the extent that disclosure would violate their right to privacy (RCW 42.56.230); and bank account, credit card or similar numbers (RCW 42.56.230).
(4) During the course of any investigation, records generated or collected as a result of that investigation are exempt from public inspection and copying under RCW 42.56.240(1), until the investigation is completed. See WAC 390-37-060(4).
(5) If you make a request for a record that implicates the privacy of an individual as defined in RCW 42.56.050, the agency may provide written notice of the request to allow the individual to request a protective order from a court under chapter 42.56 RCW.
(6) The commission is required by law to return certain documents provided to the commission by candidates, campaigns, or political committees within one week of the completion of an audit or field investigation; therefore, those records may not be in the agency's possession if a records request is made after that time. See RCW 42.17A.105.
(7) The agency is prohibited by RCW 42.56.070 from disclosing lists of individuals for commercial purposes. If you request such records you may be required to sign an affidavit attesting that you will not use those records for commercial purposes.
(8) The commission may, in its discretion, release requested records despite the applicability of exemptions, if it determines that it is in the public interest and that the rights of third parties will not be prejudiced. This provision does not apply to releases of lists of individuals for commercial purposes.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17A.110. 12-03-002, § 390-14-035, filed 1/4/12, effective 2/4/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 99-12-061, § 390-14-035, filed 5/27/99, effective 6/27/99; 85-15-020 (Order 85-03), § 390-14-035, filed 7/9/85; Order 62, § 390-14-035, filed 8/26/75.]
Immediately after receiving a)) The public records
officer will immediately refer your written request for review
of a decision denying a public record(( , the public records
officer shall refer it)) to the chair of the commission or the
chair's designee. The chair (( shall)) or chair's designee
will immediately consider the matter and either affirm or
reverse, in whole or in part, such denial or call a special
meeting of the commission as soon as legally possible to
review the denial. In any case, the (( request shall be
returned)) agency will provide you with a final decision
within two business days following your petition for review of
the original denial in accordance with RCW 42.56.520 unless
you and the agency agree to a longer time period for this
(3) The agency may also consider, and you are encouraged to consider, using alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to address the issues in your request for review.
(4) If the agency denies you access to public records because it claims the record is exempt in whole or in part from disclosure, you may request the attorney general's office to review the matter under RCW 42.56.530. See WAC 44-06-160.
(5) You may seek court review of a denial of a public records request under RCW 42.56.550 beginning two business days after the agency initially denies your request, regardless of any internal administrative appeal.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17A.110. 12-03-002, § 390-14-040, filed 1/4/12, effective 2/4/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 99-12-062, § 390-14-040, filed 5/27/99, effective 6/27/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.390. 94-05-010, § 390-14-040, filed 2/3/94, effective 3/6/94. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 85-15-020 (Order 85-03), § 390-14-040, filed 7/9/85; Order 62, § 390-14-040, filed 8/26/75.]
(a) All records issued before July 1, 1990, for which the commission has maintained an index.
(b) Final adjudicative orders and declaratory orders issued after June 30, 1990, that contain an analysis or decision of substantial importance to the commission in carrying out its duties.
(c) Interpretive and policy statements ((
issued after June 30, 1990.
(2) Final and declaratory orders ((
shall be)) are
evaluated by the executive director or executive director's
designee. Those orders which are determined to have
substantial importance (( shall be)) are indexed and posted on
the agency's web site.
(3) Final orders ((
shall be)) are indexed by the name of
the person against whom the order was issued and by citation
to the law involved.
(4) Declaratory orders ((
shall be)) are indexed by
number, subject matter, phrase describing the issue or holding
and citation to the law involved.
(5) Interpretive statements and policy statements ((
be)) are indexed by number and subject matter and are
available on the agency's web site.
(6) Most indexes are available on-line and the indexes are available for public inspection and copying weekdays, excluding legal holidays or other days the agency is closed, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. at the Public Disclosure Commission, 711 Capitol Way, Room 206, Evergreen Plaza Building, Olympia, Washington 98504-0908.
(7) The indexes ((
shall be)) are updated (( quarterly))
periodically. In addition to the indexing system, the
commission also maintains and continually updates its web site
at www.pdc.wa.gov, which includes commission rules, manuals
and brochures; commission meeting agendas and materials;
historical data, reports and other agency documents.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 02-03-018, § 390-14-045, filed 1/4/02, effective 2/4/02; 99-12-063, § 390-14-045, filed 5/27/99, effective 6/27/99. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370. 91-16-072, § 390-14-045, filed 8/2/91, effective 9/2/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 85-15-020 (Order 85-03), § 390-14-045, filed 7/9/85; Order 62, § 390-14-045, filed 8/26/75.]
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 03-22-065, filed 11/4/03, effective 12/5/03)
WAC 390-37-001 Enforcement cases -- Jurisdiction. The commission enforces ((
the sections of)) chapter 42.17A RCW
concerning campaign financing, lobbyist reporting, reporting
of public officials' financial affairs, reporting by public
treasurers, political advertising, (( and)) campaign
contribution limitations and the other provisions in chapter 42.17A RCW. The commission does not enforce the Public
Records (( provisions of)) Act under chapter (( 42.17)) 42.56
RCW (( because RCW 42.17.340)). RCW 42.56.550 provides for
direct review by the superior courts for persons seeking to
enforce chapter 42.56 RCW.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370. 03-22-065, § 390-37-001, filed 11/4/03, effective 12/5/03.]
(a) The executive director will conduct an initial review
of the complaint to determine if it is obviously unfounded or
,)) or appears on its face to have merit. An
initial review is a preliminary investigation to determine if
there is sufficient ground indicating that a material
violation of chapter 42.17A RCW may have occurred and/or the
respondent may not be in substantial compliance with the
relevant statutes and rules.
(b) Whenever an initial review of a complaint indicates
that a material violation of chapter 42.17A RCW may have
occurred and/or the respondent may not be in substantial
compliance with the relevant statutes and rules, the executive
shall)) may direct (( an)) a formal investigation be
(c) If ((
after an initial review of the complaint it is
determined that a complete and thorough)) the executive
director determines a formal investigation will require the
expenditure of substantial resources, the executive director
may request review and concurrence by the commission before
(( continuing the investigation)) proceeding.
(2) The executive director shall initiate an adjudicative
proceeding or provide a report to the commission whenever an
investigation reveals facts that the executive director has
reason to believe are a material violation of ((
of)) chapter 42.17A RCW (( under the commission's
jurisdiction,)) and do not constitute substantial compliance.
(3) The respondent shall be notified of the date of the adjudicative proceeding no later than ten calendar days before that date. The notice shall contain the information required by RCW 34.05.434. The complainant shall also be provided a copy of this notice.
(4) It is the policy of the commission during the course of any investigation that all records generated or collected as a result of that investigation are exempt from public inspection and copying under RCW 42.56.240(1).
(a) The records are exempt until:
(i) The enforcement matter is scheduled for an adjudicative proceeding;
(ii) After receiving a report on an enforcement matter, the commission accepts the investigation as complete and moves the matter forward to an adjudicative proceeding, or dismisses the complaint, or refers the matter to law enforcement authorities under RCW 42.17A.105 or 42.17A.755(3);
(iii) The commission or chair concur in a dismissal by the executive director; or
(iv) The commission or executive director otherwise finally disposes of the complaint.
(b) Without waiving any exemptions from public disclosure that are otherwise available for pending investigations, the commission may make public:
(i) A copy of a complaint filed with or submitted to the commission, including any attachments; and
(ii) Materials concerning an enforcement matter that are placed on the commission's web site with a commission meeting agenda.
(c) If a request is made for any such record that
implicates the privacy of an individual as defined in RCW 42.56.050, written notice of the records request ((
be provided to the individual in order that such individual
may request a protective order from a court under RCW 42.56.540.
(d) Certain documents provided to the commission shall be returned to candidates, campaigns, or political committees as required by RCW 42.17A.105 within seven calendar days of the commission's final action upon completion of an audit or field investigation.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17A.110. 12-03-002, § 390-37-060, filed 1/4/12, effective 2/4/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370. 05-11-001, § 390-37-060, filed 5/4/05, effective 6/4/05; 03-22-065, § 390-37-060, filed 11/4/03, effective 12/5/03; 93-24-003, § 390-37-060, filed 11/18/93, effective 12/19/93; 91-16-072, § 390-37-060, filed 8/2/91, effective 9/2/91. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370(1). 86-04-071 (Order 86-01), § 390-37-060, filed 2/5/86; 84-12-017 and 84-12-029 (Orders 84-03 and 84-03A), § 390-37-060, filed 5/25/84 and 5/29/84; Order 81, § 390-37-060, filed 7/22/76.]