Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Independent Expenditure Ads on Ballot Measures (by Candidates and Political Party Committees)

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IV. Independent Expenditure Ads on Ballot Measures

(by Candidates and Political Party Committees)

Communication Disclaimer and Manner of Display
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 ten (10) inches in diameter or larger and stickers sixty (60) square inches or larger)  

  • “Paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410)
  • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • Disclaimer Format: Text must be in no less than 12-point font, in a color that has a reasonable degree of contrast with the background of the advertisement
Billboards and signs (including yard signs)
  • “Paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410)
  • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • Disclaimer Format: Text must constitute at least five percent (5%) of the total height of the advertisement and must be in a color that has a reasonable degree of contrast with the background of the advertisement
Radio ads, telephone calls and audio only electronic media ads
  • “Paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410)
  • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • Disclaimer Format: Must be spoken clearly for at least three (3) seconds at the beginning or end of the ad or call, in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement
Television and video ads (including those disseminated over the Internet)
  • Paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410)
  • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • Disclaimer Format: Text must be of sufficient size to be legible to an average viewer, in a contrasting color to the background and must appear for at least four (4) seconds at either the beginning or end of the advertisement
      • Disclaimer must also be spoken during the ad if the written disclaimer appears for less than five (5) seconds of a broadcast thirty (30) seconds or less or for less than ten (10) seconds of a broadcast of sixty (60) seconds or more
Electronic media ads not covered below, including email
  • “Who funded this ad” text as a hyperlink in a contrasting color and font size that is easily readable by the average viewer*
      • Must hyperlink to a website containing the “Paid for by,” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” disclaimers in a contrasting color and in no less than 8-point font
      • Must remain online until 30 days after the date of election

    *This text is not required if including it is impracticable. In such circumstances the ad need only include a hyperlink to a website containing the website disclaimers.

Social media ads
  • “Paid for by,” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” disclaimers in a contrasting color and in no less than 8-point font on the committee’s profile, landing page, or similar location and is not required to include disclaimers on each individual post or comment
    • 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
  • “Paid for by,” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org” disclaimers in a contrasting color and in no less than 8-point font
Electronic media ads that are audio only
  • See disclaimer requirements for radio ads above
Paid Spokesperson: Payment of $5,000 or more to an individual
for individual’s appearance in a ballot measure ad
  • In addition to other disclaimers, include: “[spokesperson’s name] is being paid by this campaign or its donors”
  • Printed, televised or video ad: shown continuously in highly visible font except when the disclosure for television and video ads above is being shown
  • Radio broadcast or phone message: spoken in clearly audible format
Paid Spokesperson: Payment of any amount to an individual portraying a member of a licensed or certified occupation (e.g., nurse, firefighter, lawyer)
  • In addition to the disclaimer above, include: “Persons portraying members of an occupation in this advertisement are compensated spokespersons not necessarily employed in those occupations”
  • Printed or televised ad: shown continuously in highly visible font
  • Radio broadcast or phone message: spoken in clearly audible format

Exception: If the paid individual is actually a member of the occupation portrayed, the committee may omit this disclaimer. The committee must maintain documentation of the individual’s license or certification.

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: May 2018

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