Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Communications by City Candidate Committees for their own Election

I. Communications by City Candidate Committees for their own Election

The disclosure must include (unless otherwise noted):

“Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”

Example: “Paid for by Doe for Supervisor 2020. Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”

CommunicationDisclaimer and Manner of Display
All mass mailings (more than 200 sent within a calendar month)
  • “Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” – must be in at least 14-point bold font
  • Committee name, address (as listed on Form 410), and SFEC website reference on outside of mailing in no less than 14-point, bold font and in contrasting print color
    • Return envelopes (included in solicitation) – committee’s name, address and ID number are recommended but not required
All mass electronic mailings (more than 200 sent within a calendar month)
  • “Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” – must be in at least the same size font as a majority of the text (no address is required on mass electronic mailings)
Telephone calls
(more than 500 calls made by
vendors (“robo” calls) or paid individuals)
  • Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” – must be at least three (3) seconds either at the beginning of the call in a clearly spoken manner and in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement
  • No disclaimer required for telephone calls personally dialed by candidate, campaign manager or volunteers
Radio
  • “Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” – must be at least three (3) seconds at the beginning of the ad, read in a clearly spoken manner with pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of advertisement
Television ads
  • “Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org”must be displayed in writing at least four (4) seconds. Letters must be in a type size greater than or equal to four percent (4%) of the height of the screen. The required disclosure must also be spoken at the beginning of the advertisement. If the television ad is shorter than the required disclosure display time, the disclosure may be displayed for the length of the advertisement.
Electronic media ads that are a graphic, image, animated
graphic, or animated image that the online platform hosting
the advertisement allows to link to an internet website not
covered below (except for video ads, see above)
  • “Who funded this ad?” or “Paid for by” or “Ad paid for by”
    included or displayed as a hyperlink, icon, button or tab in a
    contrasting color and font size that is easily readable by the average
    viewer for the duration of the advertisement.*
    o Must link to a website containing the “Ad paid for by” and “Not
    authorized by” disclosures in a contrasting color and in no less
    than 8-point font.
    o “Not authorized by” disclosure may not appear in all capital
    letters
    o Must remain online until 30 days after the date of election*This text is not required if including it in 8-point font would take up more than one third of the graphic or image. In such circumstances the ad need only include a hyperlink
    to a website containing the website disclosures.
Social Media Ads
  • “Ad Paid for by [name of committee],” disclosure in a contrasting color that is easily
    readable by the average viewer and in no less than 10-point font on
    the cover or header photo committee’s profile, landing page, or
    similar location; disclosures are not required on each individual
    post or comment.
  • The disclosures must be visible on the cover or header photo when
    the profile, landing page, or similar location is viewed from any
    electronic device that is commonly used to view this form of
    electronic media including, but not limited to, a computer screen,
    laptop, tablet or smart phone. If this is impracticable only a
    hyperlink, icon, button, or tab to an internet website containing the
    required “Ad paid for by,” disclosure is permissible.
  • Not required when the only expense or cost of the communication
    is compensated staff time unless the social media account was
    created only for the purpose of advertisements under the Act.
Website and email
  • “Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” in a contrasting color and in no less than 8-point font at the top or bottom of the email message and every publicly accessible page of the website
Electronic media ads that are audio only
  • See disclaimer requirements for radio ads above
Print ads designed to be individually distributed including mailings, door hangers, flyers, faxes, posters, newspaper and magazine ads and oversized campaign buttons and bumper stickers (buttons 10 inches in diameter or larger and stickers 60 square inches or larger)
  • “Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” – must be in no less than 14-point, bold font and in a color that has a reasonable degree of contrast with the background of the advertisement
Print ads larger than those designed to be individually distributed, such as billboards and signs (including yard signs)
  • “Ad Paid for by [name of committee]” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” – must be at least five percent (5%) of height of advertisement and in a color that has a reasonable degree of contrast with the background of the advertisement
Text messages sent using mass distribution technology
  • If sent by a candidate-controlled committee for elective office of the
    controlling candidate:
    “Paid for by” or “With” followed by the name of the candidate
    followed by “For” followed by the name of the office sought in a
    color that reasonably contrasts with the background on which it
    appears and in a font size that is readable by the average viewer.
  • If “With” is used:
  • The individual sending the text shall identify themselves by
    including: “(name of the individual) with (name of the
    candidate) for (name of office sought)” in a color that
    reasonably contrasts with the background on which it
    appears and in a font size that is readable by the average
    viewer.
  • A disclosure using “With” may appear anywhere in the text
    message, including conversational content, and need not
    appear as a separate statement apart from the content of the
    message.

The guidance above incorporates requirements imposed pursuant to state and San Francisco law. The information on this chart does not carry the force of law. If there are any discrepancies between the chart and state or local law or their corresponding regulations and opinions, the law, regulations and opinions will control.

Revised: February 2020

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