Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

All Non-Independent Expenditure Ads by Candidates and Political Party Committees

VII. All Non-Independent Expenditure Ads by Candidates and Political Party Committees

Unless otherwise covered below, all mass mailings of more than 200 similar pieces must contain:

  • the words “Paid for by” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” immediately adjacent to and either above or in front of the committee’s name and address on the outside of the mailing and on at least one of the inserts
  • in no less than 14-point type and in a color or print that contrasts with the background

If the sender is a single committee, the name and address need only be shown on the outside of each piece of mail

Unless otherwise covered below, all mass emails of more than 200 similar pieces must contain:

  • the name of the committee sending the email preceded by the words “Paid for by” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” in at least the same size font as the majority of the text
CommunicationDisclaimer and Manner of Display
Supporting or Opposing a Ballot Measure: All Advertisements
  • “Ad paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410)*
  • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”

    (Note: a printed letter, internet website, or email message ad may use “Paid for by” instead of “Ad paid for by”)

    *For text messages sent using mass distribution technology please see additional information below.

Supporting or Opposing a Candidate: Radio and television ads
  • Radio: “Ad paid for by” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • followed by name of committee as it appears on most recent Form 410 at the beginning of advertisement read in a clearly spoken manner with pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement
  • Television: “Ad paid for by” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • followed by name of committee as it appears on most recent Form 410 shown for at least four seconds. Letters must be in a type size greater than or equal to four percent of the height of the screen. If the television ad is shorter than the required disclosure display time, the disclosure may be displayed for the length of the advertisement
Supporting or Opposing a Candidate: Social media ads
  • “Ad paid for by,” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • 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 ads under the Act
Telephone calls advocating a candidate, ballot measure or both: 500 or more calls similar in nature and made by:

  • Vendors (“robo” calls) or
  • Paid individuals other than the candidate, campaign manager or volunteers
  • Must identify the candidate’s committee or political party committee that authorized or paid for the call or an organization authorizing the call that files campaign reports
  • Must state that the call is “paid for by” or “authorized by” the identified candidate, committee or organization
    • Examples: This call was paid for by Senator Jones;
    • This call was authorized by [name of committee]
  • Any time during the call
  • No ID required on telephone calls personally dialed by candidate, campaign manager or volunteers
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

If sent by a political party committee:

  • “Paid for by” or “With” followed by the name of the committee, or a hyperlink or URL for an internet website (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) containing the following disclosure:
    • “Paid for by” or “With” [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410 or 461)
    • The text of the disclosure on the internet website shall be in a color that reasonably contrasts with the background on which it appears and in no less than 8-point font
  • If “With” is used:
    • The individual sending the text shall identify themselves by including: “(name of the individual) with (name of committee or hyperlink or URL)” 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.
  • An internet website that is hyperlinked shall remain online and available to the public until 30 days after the election
  • The text of the disclosures on the internet website shall be in a color that reasonably contrasts with the background on which it appears and in no less than eight-point font
  • For text message exchanges consisting of a sequence of multiple text messages sent on the same day the disclosure is only required on the first text message in the sequence that supports or opposes a candidate or measure

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: March 2020

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