Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

San Francisco Political Advertising Disclaimers Independent Expenditure Ads Referring to City Candidates

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II. Independent Expenditure Ads Referring to City Candidates 

Communication 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 10 inches in diameter or larger and stickers 60 square inches or larger)
  • “Paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410 or 461).
  • “Committee major funding from [names of top three donors of
    $20,000 or more]” each listed on a separate horizontal line, centered horizontally, in descending order, beginning with the largest contributor (not applicable to non-recipient committees)
  • Newspaper, magazine or other print advertisements that are 20 square inches or less must only disclose the single top contributor of $50,000 or more
  • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • This advertisement was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate”
  • Disclaimer Format: Text must be in Arial equivalent font, in at least 12-point size, in a contrasting color, and located in a printed or drawn box with a solid white background at the bottom of at least one page and set apart from other printed matter
  • “Committee major funding from” and “Not authorized by”
    disclaimers may not appear in all capital letters
Billboards and signs (including yard signs)
  • “Paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410 or 461)
  • “Committee major funding from [names of top three donors of $20,000 or more]” each listed on a separate horizontal line, centered horizontally, or on one line separated by commas, in descending order, beginning with the largest contributor (not applicable to non-recipient committees)
  • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
  • “This advertisement was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate”
  • Disclaimer Format: Text must be in Arial equivalent font with a height of at least five percent of the advertisement on a solid background with sufficient contrast that is easily readable by the average viewer
  • “Committee major funding from” and “Not authorized by” disclaimers may not appear in all capital letters
Radio ads, telephone calls and audio only electronic media ads
  • “Paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410 or 461)
  • “Committee major funding from [names of top three donors of $20,000 or more]” in descending order, beginning with the largest contributor (not applicable to non-recipient committees)
    • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
    • “This advertisement was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate”
    • Disclaimer Format: Must be spoken clearly for at least three seconds at the beginning or end of the ad or call, in a pitch and tone substantially similar to the rest of the advertisement
    • Radio and prerecorded telephone ads must disclose only the top two contributors of $20,000 or more unless the ad lasts 15 seconds or less or the disclaimer statement would last more than eight seconds, in which case only the single top contributor must be disclosed
Television and video ads (including those disseminated over the Internet)
  • “Paid for by [committee’s name]” (on file with Form 410 or 461)
    • “Committee major funding from [names of top three donors of $20,000 or more]” in descending order, beginning with the largest contributor (not applicable to non-recipient committees)
    • “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”
    • “This advertisement was not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate”
    • Disclaimer Format: Text must be in a contrasting color and in Arial equivalent type and must be underlined.The size for the smallest letters in the disclaimer must be four percent of the height of the display screen unless this causes the name of any top contributors to exceed the width of the screen or causes the disclaimers to exceed one-third of the display screen, the type size of the name of the top contributor shall be reduced until the name fits on the width of the screen or the entire disclaimer fits within one-third of the display screen, but in no case shall the type size be smaller than 2.5 percent of the height of the screen.Disclaimer must appear on a solid black background on the entire bottom third of the display screen, or bottom one-fourth of the screen if the committee has no top contributors.Disclaimer must be displayed at the beginning or end of the ad for at least five seconds of a broadcast of 30 seconds or less or for at least 10 seconds of a broadcast longer than 30 seconds.Top contributors must be disclosed on a separate horizontal line and centered horizontally and is not required to be underlined.Top contributors must be disclosed on a separate horizontal line and centered horizontally and is not required to be underlined.The “Not authorized by” disclaimer must appear below all other text in the solid black background in a contrasting color, in Arial equivalent type, and in no less than 2.5 percent of the height of the display screen and is not required to be underlined.

      The “Committee major funding from” and “Not authorized by” disclaimers may not appear in all capital letters

Electronic media ads not covered below (except video ads, see above), and 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,” “Committee major funding from,” “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org,” and “Not authorized by” disclaimers in a contrasting color and in no less than 8-point font
    • “Committee major funding from” and “Not authorized by” disclaimers may not appear in all capital letters
    • Must remain online until 30 days after the date of election
 Social media ads
  • “Paid for by,” “Committee major funding from,” “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org,” and “Not authorized by” 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
  • “Committee major funding from” and “Not authorized by” disclaimers may not appear in all capital letters
    • Not required when the only expense or cost of the communication is compensated staff time unless the account was created only for the purpose of ads under the Act
Website
  • “Paid for by,” “Committee major funding from,” “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org,” and “Not authorized by” disclaimers in a contrasting color and in no less than 8-point font
  • “Committee major funding from” and “Not authorized by” disclaimers may not appear in all capital letters
Electronic media ads that are audio only
  • See disclaimer requirements for radio ads above*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.

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 1, 2018

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