WSR 12-15-023


[ Filed July 11, 2012, 9:38 a.m. ]

PDC Interpretation No. 12-01: The public disclosure commission enforces the campaign disclosure provisions and contribution limits found in chapter 42.17A RCW and TITLE 390 WAC. This interpretative statement is intended to guide campaigns with respect to in-kind loans, pledges, and disclosure of contributions on the twenty-one and seven day preelection reports.


In-Kind Loans: The term "contribution" is defined broadly and includes not only money, but also the vast majority of items and services donated or loaned to assist a campaign. See RCW 42.17A.005(13). Donated items include but are not limited to items such as campaign office space, computers, and auction items. Donated services include, but are not limited to, printing, campaign consulting and campaign website development. Donated items and services are commonly referred to as in-kind contributions. See also WAC 390-05-210.

For purposes of reporting requirements and contribution limits, an in-kind loan must be recorded in writing and executed at the time of the loan, listing the details of the loan. The campaign must timely and accurately report the in-kind loan on a C-4 report, Schedules B and L, and disclose all required information about the contributor.

In-kind loans are subject to contribution limits and the preelection limitations of RCW 42.17A.420. General election in-kind contributions may not be used for the primary election if to do so would cause the contributor to exceed the primary election contribution limit. (WAC 390-17-300.)

An in-kind loan also occurs when a candidate purchases campaign items or services using personal funds with the expectation of being repaid, and the campaign has not fully repaid the candidate within twenty-one days of the expenditure. In order to be reimbursed with campaign funds for out-of-pocket expenditures, a candidate must first submit receipts or similar documentation to the campaign. All out-of-pocket campaign expenditures made by a candidate must be documented in order to be reimbursed. Any undocumented out-of-pocket campaign expenditures made by the candidate are not eligible for reimbursement and are considered in-kind contributions. Repayment of in-kind loans made by the candidate, when combined with other loans repaid to the candidate, may not exceed $5,000. (RCW 42.17A.445; WAC 390-05-400 and 390-16-226.)

Debt: The term "expenditure" includes a promise to pay for a good or service. RCW 42.17A.005(20). Debts are incurred when the candidate, campaign treasurer, campaign official, or campaign agent or principal decision maker, places an order for goods or services, or otherwise obligates itself to a vendor who is in the business of selling the goods or services provided to the campaign, and makes those services available to the campaign in its usual course of business.

A contractual liability, even when it is contingent on a future event such as a "win" bonus, is a debt. (WAC 390-16-042.)

Campaign debts are not subject to contribution limits. However, campaign debts that are forgiven by the vendor become contributions from the vendor and are subject to contribution limits. Campaign debt must be timely and accurately disclosed on a C-4 report, Schedule B. RCW 42.17A.240(8) and WAC 390-05-245.

Further information may be found at The commission meeting materials can be found at under commission meetings. For additional information concerning this interpretation contact Suemary Trobaugh, Administrative Officer, (360) 753-1985, toll-free 1-877-601-2828 or e-mail

Washington State Code Reviser's Office