Electronic filing of campaign committee disclosure statements in San Francisco is mandatory. Campaign finance statements can be filed electronically using Netfile, free of charge. Netfile is a web-based, data entry filing system that allows candidates and campaign committees to submit disclosure statements mandated by California’s Political Reform Act or San Francisco’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.
Candidates and committees should review their reporting obligations prior to creating an electronic filing account.
Step 1: Create a Netfile User Account
If you have never used the electronic filing system before, or if you previously used third-party vendor software to file campaign statements, you will need to first register for a Netfile User Account. The Netfile User Account will be your on-line identity that can access all committee accounts for which you are responsible. You will need a Netfile User Account if you either sign electronic statements or you enter information into the FPPC forms. If you already have a Netfile User Account, skip this step.
Complete the following steps to create a Netfile User Account:
- Proceed to this page: Create a Netfile User Account.
- Complete the form and click “Create Netfile User”. Please note that it is unlawful to use a City e-mail address for campaign purposes.
- A confirmation e-mail will be sent to the e-mail address that you provided on the form to verify the authenticity of the account. Open the e-mail and click the link.
- Your web browser will be taken to a page with a unique password. Print the page or write down the password and keep it in a safe place. The password can be changed later.
- To log in to your account, proceed to the Netfile User Log In.
Step 2: Complete a Signature Verification Card (Form SFEC-112a)
All committee officers that sign electronic campaign statements must complete the Signature Verification Card (Form SFEC-112a) to authenticate the identity of the signer. If you are involved in multiple committees, this process must only be completed once. Please note that if you have created a signature verification card for another city that uses the Netfile system, you will still need to complete Signature Verification Card for San Francisco.
If you are required to file FPPC Form 496 or 497 and have not completed the signature verification process, please note that these forms do not require a signature and can be filed without completing this step. However, you will need to complete the Signature Verification Card before your next campaign statement (i.e., FPPC Form 460 or 461) is due.
Complete the following steps to create a Signature Verification Card.
- Proceed to this page: Signature Verification.
- Enter the e-mail address for your Netfile User Account under the heading “Sign Up” and click the “Sign Up” button.
- Complete the Signer Registration form. If you plan to register in more than one city, check off each city in which you will be filing electronic campaign statements. For more information about using the signer registration form, see the Netfile Signature Verification Application Instructions.
- Print or record your Signer ID number and Signer PIN Code. The Ethics Commission will not be able to retrieve this information for you should you fail to save it.
- Download the Signature Card Packet and print the Signature Verification Card form.
- Do one of the following;
- Bring the Signature Verification Card (Form SFEC-112a) and photo identification (SF City ID Card, State ID Card, Driver’s License or Passport) to the Ethics Commission and sign the statement in the presence of an Ethics Commission staff person; or
- Bring the Signature Verification Card (Form SFEC-112a) to a notary public and sign the statement in his or her presence. Documents verified by a notary public must have an official and current stamp. Once authorized, you must deliver the original signed Signature Verification Card (Form SFEC-112a) to the Ethics Commission. The Ethics Commission will not accept copies of the form.
- Once your Signature Verification Card (Form SFEC-112a) has been approved by Ethics Commission staff, you will be able to sign electronic statements. To sign statements pending submission to the Ethics Commission, proceed to the Signature Verification Sign In page and sign in to your account.
Note: Committees using approved third-party software must input the Signer ID number for each signer into the disclosure statement’s electronic CAL document in the third field of the “CVR3” record. Third-party vendors may require that filers complete this process manually or may support inputting the Signer ID number automatically in the CAL document from within the software product. Third-party vendors may require filers to use the Ethics Commission’s free electronic filing system to approve and sign statements or may provide a method to sign statements from within the software product. Any third-party vendor can support signing electronic statements and submitting statements directly into the Ethics Commission’s electronic filing system by complying with the open source Vendor Submission API at https://bitbucket.org/netfileopensource. Contact your vendor for more information about how your software may comply with the electronic signature requirements.
Step 3: Establish an Electronic Filing Account for a Committee (Form SFEC-112b)
All committees must establish an Electronic Filing Account to file disclosure statements. If you are a candidate that files the FPPC Form 470 and want to opt in to filing electronic statements then you must complete this step. You may use this account to complete all of the required disclosure statements in either the City’s free electronic filing system or an approved third-party software product. A list of approved third-party vendors of electronic filing products is available from the California Secretary of State. Please note that switching products mid-campaign may be very labor intensive and the Ethics Commission cannot assist with data migrations.
The committee Electronic Filing Account is different from the Netfile User Account. Discussed in Step 1, the committee Electronic Filing Account contains the transactions and forms and is controlled by a committee officer with a Netfile User Account.
Most often, the treasurer controls the Electronic Filing Account for the committee. However, any authorized officer of a committee may control this account. Additional signers on a statement, including controlling candidates, assistant treasurers, and principal officers who are required to sign statements but who are not entering information into the FPPC forms do not need access to the committee’s Electronic Filing Account to sign statements and do not need to complete this step. Access to the account is required only to complete the contents of FPPC forms. One officer of the committee must have access to the Electronic Filing Account for the committee to file statements.
The committee officer requesting access to the Electronic Filing Account for the committee should complete the following steps:
- If you have not already established your committee, then review the reporting obligations section and file a Statement of Organization (FPPC Form 410) before creating the electronic committee account.
- After you have established the committee, proceed to this page: Committee Account Registration Form (SFEC Form 112b).
- Complete the form and click the “Submit” button. Ethics Commission staff will review the request and send the account credentials to the e-mail address provided on the form.
- When you receive the committee Filer ID and Password to the committee via e-mail, go to the Ethics Commission’s web site and log in to use the City’s free electronic filing system or, if you are using third-party vendor software, you have finished the registration process.
- Enter your e-mail address and password and click “Log In”. Click your name in the upper-right corner of the page to access the Netfile User Home.
- Click “Link Local Campaign Filer Account”.
- Complete the form by entering the committee Filer ID and Password.
- Once you have linked your committee account to your Netfile User Account, when you log in to your Netfile User Account you will either be transferred into the committee’s Electronic Filing Account or, if you are responsible for multiple committees, you will be presented with a list of your committee accounts. To log in to your committee account, proceed to the Netfile User Log In.