Filings by Elected Officials
When an elected official asks a third party to make a contribution to a charity, that official has requested a behested payment on his behalf. Behested payments are payments made principally for legislative, governmental, or charitable purposes under California Government Code Section 82004.5, rather than for personal or campaign purposes. Generally, a payment is made at the behest of elected officials if it is requested, solicited, or suggested by the official or his agent, or otherwise made to a person in cooperation, consultation, coordination with, or at the consent of, the elected official. The Fair Political Practices Commission requires elected officials to disclose behested payments on Form 803.
FPPC Form 803 should be filed with the elected official’s agency. Elected officials should not file the form directly with the Ethics Commission. Within 30 days of receipt of the report, the elected official’s agency must forward a copy of the report to the Ethics Commission.
On January 10, 2017, the Board of Supervisors voted 11-0 to approve an ordinance proposed by Supervisor Peskin to require behested payments reports by City Board and Commission members under certain circumstances. The ordinance was signed by the Mayor on January 20, 2017, and becomes operative on January 1, 2018. As adopted, the ordinance requires members of boards and commissions who are required to file a Statement of Economic Interest (Form 700) to disclose if they directly or indirectly request or solicit charitable contributions of $1,000 from parties or participants (or their agents) while certain matters are pending before that commissioner’s board. The disclosure requirement applies to both monetary and non-monetary contributions to a government agency, educational institution, and both 501c and Section 527 tax-exempt organizations.
The ordinance requires the Ethics Commission to make all reports available on its website and permits the Commission, by regulation, to require electronic filing for commissioner behested payment reports. Information about any potential regulations will appear on the Commission’s Policy Issues page as it becomes available.
Additional background and the text of the enacted ordinance can be accessed online at the Board of Supervisors’ Legislative Research Center (File No. 160478).