February 14, 2019

Nonprofits Involved in Washington Elections Face New Disclosure Requirements

Nonprofits involved in electoral campaigns in Washington State may now have to publicly disclose their major donors as well as their campaign contributions and expenditures under a new law that went into effect earlier this year.

Under the Disclose Act of 2018, a nonprofit must register with the Washington Public Disclosure Commission (PDC) as an “incidental committee” and file regular reports if it (1) expects to spend $25,000 or more in a calendar year to support or oppose state or local candidates or ballot propositions and (2) receives cumulative payments of $10,000 or more from a single source.  The PDC has indicated that a nonprofit that only makes independent expenditures need not file as an incidental committee, but may be subject to other reporting requirements.  The PDC also clarified in recent emergency rules that a wide range of entities may qualify as an incidental committee, including but not limited to charities, social welfare organizations, trade associations, and even limited partnerships and LLCs controlled by any of the above.  Previously, only nonprofits with a primary purpose of conducting campaign-related activities were required to report.

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