Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

San Francisco Political Advertising Disclaimers Electioneering Communications Referring to City Candidates

Print Copy

The disclaimer must include, unless otherwise noted:

“Paid for by name” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”

Examples:

“Paid for by Nonprofit X. Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
“Paid for by John Doe. Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”

These disclaimer rules apply to ads that refer to, but do not expressly advocate for or against, a City candidate and are distributed within 90 days of the election to 500 or more individuals who are able to vote for the office sought by the candidate. Importantly, these disclaimer rules are triggered only if the cost of the communication attributable to any one City candidate referenced in the communication is $1,000 or more.

Note that electioneering communications that are also ballot measure ads must comply with the state and local rules for those ads as well. Refer to the disclaimer chart for those rules.

Communication Manner of Display
All mass mailings (500 or more)
  • Disclaimer on the outside of mailing in no less than 14-point, bold sans serif type font and in contrasting print color
Telephone calls – made by vendors (“robo” calls) or paid individuals
  • Must be at least 3 seconds either at the beginning or end of the call
Radio
  • Must be at least 3 seconds either at beginning or end of the ad
Television
  • Both written & spoken at the beginning or end of ad
  • Not less than 4 seconds
  • Size & contrasting color must be legible to average viewer
  • Exception- no spoken disclosure required if written statement is shown for at least 5 seconds on a 30 second broadcast or 10 seconds on 60 second broadcast
Electronic Media

  1. Websites, blast emails
  2. Ads of limited size (micro bar, button ad, ads limited to 500 characters or less)
  3. SMS texts
  4. Electronic ads sent in an audio format
  5. Electronic ads sent in a video format
  1. Disclaimer statement must be in the same font size as majority of text and displayed conspicuously near the ad
  2. Ad must provide disclaimer via rollover, link, or other connection to website with the disclaimer
  3. If applicable, include the committee ID number and preferably link to the committee’s campaign statement on Ethics Commission’s website.
  4. Same requirements as for radio ads above
  5. Same requirements as for television ads above
Newspaper ads
  • No less than 14-point, bold sans serif type font and in contrasting print color
Yard Signs
Billboards
  • 5% of height of advertisement in contrasting color
Door hangers, flyers, posters, and oversized campaign buttons and bumper stickers (buttons 10” across or larger and stickers 60 sq inches or larger)
  • No less than 14-point, bold sans serif type font and in contrasting print color

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.

References: San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section: 1.162
California Government Code Sections: 82031, 84506, 84507, 84509.
Title 2 Regulations: 18225, 18450.1, 18450.4, 18450.5.

Revised: October 15, 2015

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