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PDFWAC 390-05-515


In determining whether a communication is to a "member" as that term is used in RCW 42.17A.005 and 42.17A.255, and for the purposes of RCW 42.17A.405, 42.17A.410 and 42.17A.420:
(1) The commission will examine whether the organization is a legitimate membership organization with common interest goals and objectives, taking into account such factors as the organization's permanence, structure and whether it has formal organizing documents, membership criteria and services it provides its members.
(2) With respect to the status of members of an organization, the commission will examine whether a valid, active relationship exists between the organization and its members or classes of members for purposes other than influencing the outcome of an election, taking into account such factors as whether the members affirmatively accept membership and the rights and obligations conferred on members by the organization including whether members have the right to vote for:
(a) Election of directors or officers; or
(b) Changes to the articles or bylaws; or
(c) The disposition of all or substantially all of the assets of the organization or on a merger or dissolution.
A required payment of a predetermined amount of membership dues is also a factor; however, an organization will not be considered a membership organization if it is primarily a commercial entity or for-profit entity selling products to customers even though it may refer to its customers as "members."
(3) If a membership organization and its members satisfy the criteria regarding "membership associations" and "members" established by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) in 11 C.F.R. Sec. 100.134 (e)-(g), the commission will consider the organization and its members as qualifying for the exemption in RCW 42.17A.005 (16)(b)(v) and (22)(b)(vii), unless the communication was not sent primarily to members. However, these FEC criteria are not the only indicators of legitimate membership organizations or valid members, a determination that will be made by the commission on a case-by-case basis as necessary.
(4) In determining whether an internal political communication is "primarily" limited to the members of an organization or political committee, the commission will consider whether any distribution to nonmembers is incidental and isolated.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17A.110(1) and 2018 c 304. WSR 18-24-074, § 390-05-515, filed 11/30/18, effective 12/31/18. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17A.110. WSR 12-03-002, § 390-05-515, filed 1/4/12, effective 2/4/12. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370. WSR 09-04-022, § 390-05-515, filed 1/27/09, effective 2/27/09. Statutory Authority: RCW 42.17.370 and 42.17.562. WSR 06-11-132, § 390-05-515, filed 5/23/06, effective 6/23/06.]
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