State of Washington
68th Legislature
2023 Regular Session
ByRepresentatives Pollet and Gregerson; by request of Public Disclosure Commission
Read first time 01/13/23.Referred to Committee on State Government & Tribal Relations.
AN ACT Relating to improving transparency in grassroots lobbying disclosure; and amending RCW 42.17A.640.
Sec. 1. RCW 42.17A.640 and 2010 c 204 s 809 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) Any person who has made expenditures, not reported by a registered lobbyist under RCW 42.17A.615 or by a candidate or political committee under RCW 42.17A.225 or 42.17A.235, exceeding one thousand dollars in the aggregate within any three-month period or exceeding five hundred dollars in the aggregate within any one-month period in presenting a ((program))campaign to the public, a substantial portion of which is intended, designed, or calculated primarily to solicit, urge, or encourage the public to influence legislation, shall register and report, as provided in subsection (2) of this section, as a sponsor of a grass roots lobbying campaign.
(2) ((Within thirty days after becoming a sponsor of a grass roots lobbying campaign, the))(a) The sponsor shall register by filing with the commission a registration statement:
(i) Within 24 hours of the initial presentation of the campaign to the public during the period:
(A) Beginning on the 30th day before a regular legislative session convenes and continuing through the date of final adjournment of that session; or
(B) Beginning on the date that a special legislative session has been called or 30 days before the special legislative session is scheduled to convene, whichever is later, and continuing through the date of final adjournment of that session; or
(ii) Within five business days of the initial presentation of the campaign to the public during any other period.
(b) The registration must show, in such detail as the commission shall prescribe((, showing)):
(((a)))(i) The sponsor's name, address, and business or occupation and employer, and, if the sponsor is not an individual, the names, addresses, and titles of the controlling persons responsible for managing the sponsor's affairs;
(((b)))(ii) The names, addresses, and business or occupation and employer of all persons organizing and managing the campaign, or hired to assist the campaign, including any public relations or advertising firms participating in the campaign, and the terms of compensation for all such persons;
(((c) The names and addresses of each person contributing twenty-five dollars or more to the campaign, and the aggregate amount contributed))(iii) Each source of funding for the campaign of $25 or more, including:
(A) General treasury funds. The name and address of each business, union, group, association, or other organization using general treasury funds for the campaign; however, if such entity undertakes a special solicitation of its members or other persons for the campaign, or it otherwise receives funds for the campaign, that entity shall report pursuant to (b)(ii) of this subsection; and
(B) Special solicitations and other funds. The name, address, and, for individuals, occupation and employer, of a person whose funds were used to pay for the campaign, along with the amount;
(((d)))(iv) The purpose of the campaign, including the specific legislation, rules, rates, standards, or proposals that are the subject matter of the campaign;
(((e)))(v) The totals of all expenditures made or incurred to date on behalf of the campaign segregated according to financial category, including but not limited to the following: Advertising, segregated by media, and in the case of large expenditures (as provided by rule of the commission), by outlet; contributions; entertainment, including food and refreshments; office expenses including rent and the salaries and wages paid for staff and secretarial assistance, or the proportionate amount paid or incurred for lobbying campaign activities; consultants; and printing and mailing expenses; and
(vi) Such other information as shall be required by the commission by rule in conformance with the policies and purposes of this chapter.
(3) Every sponsor who has registered under this section shall file monthly reports with the commission by the tenth day of the month for the activity during the preceding month. The reports shall update the information contained in the sponsor's registration statement and in prior reports and shall show contributions received and totals of expenditures made during the month, in the same manner as provided for in the registration statement.
(4) When the campaign has been terminated, the sponsor shall file a notice of termination with the final monthly report. The final report shall state the totals of all contributions and expenditures made on behalf of the campaign, in the same manner as provided for in the registration statement.
(5)(a) Any advertising or other mass communication produced as part of a campaign must include the following disclosures:
(i) All written communications shall include the sponsor's name and address. All radio and television communications shall include the sponsor's name. The use of an assumed name for the sponsor is unlawful;
(ii) If the sponsor is a political committee established, maintained, or controlled directly, or indirectly through the formation of one or more political committees, by an individual, corporation, union, association, or other entity, the communication must include the full name of that individual or entity; and
(iii) If the communication costs $1,000 or more, the communication must include:
(A) The statement "Top Five Contributors," followed by a listing of the names of each of the five largest sources of funding of $1,000 or more, as reported under subsection (2)(b) of this section, during the 12-month period preceding the date on which the advertisement is initially to be published or otherwise presented to the public; and
(B) If one of the "Top Five Contributors" listed includes a political committee, the statement "Top Three Donors to PAC Contributors," followed by a listing of the names of the three individuals or entities other than political committees making the largest aggregate contributions to political committees using the same methodology as provided in RCW 42.17A.350(2).
(b) Abbreviations may be used to describe entities required to be listed under (a) of this subsection if the full name of the entity has been clearly spoken previously during the communication. The information required by (a) of this subsection shall:
(i) In a written communication:
(A) Appear on the first page or fold of the written advertisement or communication in at least 10-point type, or in type at least 10 percent of the largest size type used in a written communication directed at more than one voter, such as a billboard or poster, whichever is larger;
(B) Not be subject to the half-tone or screening process; and
(C) Be set apart from any other printed matter. No text may be before, after, or immediately adjacent to the information required by (a) of this subsection; or
(ii) In a communication transmitted via television or another medium that includes a visual image or audio:
(A) Be clearly spoken; or
(B) Appear in print and be visible for at least four seconds, appear in letters greater than four percent of the visual screen height on a solid black background on the entire bottom one-third of the television or visual display screen, or bottom one-fourth of the screen if the sponsor does not have or is otherwise not required to list its top five contributors, and have a reasonable color contrast with the background.
(6) The commission is authorized to adopt rules, as needed, to prevent ways to circumvent the purposes of the required disclosures in this section or otherwise in conformance with the policies and purposes of this chapter.
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