Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Information for Persons Making Expenditures Relating to Candidates for City Elective Office for the November 4, 2014 Election

This memorandum summarizes filing and disclaimer requirements for communications by any “person” who makes independent expenditures, electioneering communications or member communications relating to a candidate for City elective office.  A “person” is any individual, partnership, corporation, association, firm, committee, club or other organization or group of persons, however organized. See S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code § 1.104(u). The following information is provided as general guidance for persons subject to these filing requirements.  Any specific questions regarding these filing requirements should be directed to the San Francisco Ethics Commission (SFEC) at (415) 252-3100 or www.sfethics.org.  Please be aware that additional requirements and restrictions may apply. To the extent this memorandum conflicts with state or local law, the law controls.

Although the SFEC may administer and enforce several of the laws listed below, the Commission may not be the sole authority to interpret or enforce all of these or related laws. In addition to the SFEC, the California Secretary of State (SOS) and the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) administer and enforce laws regulating campaign finance.

A “City elective office” includes the office of the: Mayor, Members of the Board of Supervisors, City Attorney, District Attorney, Treasurer, Sheriff, Assessor, Public Defender, Members of the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District, and Members of the Governing Board of the San Francisco Community College District.

For more information about the legal requirements pertaining to the SFEC forms listed below, please review the San Francisco Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (CFRO), Chapter 1 of the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code (“C&GC Code”), and accompanying Ethics Commission Regulations.  Copies of the CFRO and its regulations are available under the “Laws and Advice” section of the Ethics Commission website at www.sfethics.org.  The SFEC forms listed below are available at the Ethics Commission office and on its website under the “File Forms” section. The FPPC forms are available on the FPPC’s website at www.fppc.ca.gov.

Forms marked by “*” denote forms that both San Francisco and non-San Francisco committees must file with the Ethics Commission. Forms without a “*” notation must be filed by San Francisco committees.

I. FPPC forms filed with the San Francisco Ethics Commission

Form #Form NameWho Files/ThresholdClosing Date of StatementWhen Due
460Recipient Committee Campaign StatementSan Francisco general purpose committees file Form 460 or Form 461 for semi-annual and pre-election filing deadlines. All committees must file semi-annual statements. Committees that make contributions or any expenditures totaling $500 or more during the period covered by a pre-election statement must file pre-election statements.6/30/14
9/30/14
10/18/14
12/31/14
1st semi-annual due 7/31/14
1st pre- election due 10/5/14
2nd pre-election due 10/23/14
2nd semi-annual due 1/31/14
461Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statement
*496Late Independent Expenditure ReportAny person who makes independent expenditures that total $1,000 or more to support or oppose a single candidate or a single ballot measure during the 90 days immediately preceding the election in which the affected candidate or measure is voted upon.This form must be filed within 24 hours of making the independent expenditure(s).Within 24 Hours of making the independent expenditure(s).  The late reporting period covers:  8/6/14-11/3/14
*465Supplemental Independent Expenditure ReportRecipient committees and independent expenditure committees that make independent expenditures totaling $1,000 or more in a reporting period to support or oppose a single candidate, a single measure, or the qualification of a single measure in San Francisco must file Form 465 by the semi-annual and pre-election filing deadlines.6/30/14
9/30/14
10/18/14
12/31/14
1st semi-annual due 7/31/14
1st pre- election due 10/5/14
2nd pre-election due 10/23/14
2nd semi-annual due 1/31/14


II. San Francisco Ethics Commission Forms

Form #Pertinent Section of the C&GC CodeWho Files/ThresholdWhen Due
*Third Party Disclosure Form, Part 41.134 (c), 1.152 (a)(3)
or
1.152 (b)(3)
Any person who makes independent expenditures, electioneering communications or member communications that clearly identify a candidate for City elective office in an aggregate amount of $5,000 or more per candidate. This disclosure is required in a race for Mayor or the Board of Supervisors only if the Ethics Commission has certified that at least one candidate for Mayor or one candidate for the Board of Supervisors in the same district is eligible to receive public funding. In all other races, disclosure is required only if at least one candidate has accepted the voluntary expenditure ceiling and the Ethics Commission has not lifted that voluntary expenditure ceiling.Within 24 hours of
(1) reaching the initial threshold of $5,000 and  
(2) each time that the person spends an additional $5,000 or more per candidate.
*Third Party Disclosure Form, Part 51.161(b)
  • Any person who makes independent expenditures for a mass mailing to support or oppose any candidate for City elective office must place the following statement on the mailing in typeface no smaller than 14 points:

Notice to Voters
(Required by City and County of San Francisco)
This mailing is not authorized or approved by any candidate for City and County office or by any election official. It is paid for by [name and committee identification number]. [address, city, state] Total Cost of this mailing is [amount].

  • A  person who makes independent expenditures of $1,000 or more must file two original pieces of the mailing and an itemized disclosure statement within :

(1) five working days from the date of the mailing, or (2) within 48 hours of the date of the mailing if that date occurs within the final 16 days before the election.

Within
(1) five  working days from the date of the mailing, or
(2) within 48 hours of the date of the mailing if the mailing is sent during the final 16 days (10/19-11/3) before the election.
*Third Party Disclosure Form, Part 61.161.51.  Every electioneering communication must include the following disclosure to identify the person who paid for the communication:
“paid for by ________(insert the name of the person who paid for the communication).”
If the disclosure is required in printed form, it must be printed in at least 14 point type. If the disclosure is required in spoken form, it must be at the same volume and speed as the rest of the communication and otherwise appropriately conveyed for the hearing impaired. 2.  Any person who makes payments for electioneering communications in an aggregate amount of $1,000 during any calendar year must, within 48 hours of each disclosure date, file an itemized statement.
Within 48 hours of each disclosure date.
*Third Party Disclosure Form, Part 71.160.51. At the beginning of each call that is a persuasion poll, the person making the call must identify the person making payments for or authorizing the call by stating “This is a paid political advertisement by [Name of person(s)], and, identify the person making the call, if different from the sponsor, by stating “This call is conducted by [Name of person].” 2. Any person who authorizes, administers or makes payment for a persuasion poll must
within 48 hours of each disclosure date, file an itemized disclosure statement.  Among other things, the statement must include a copy of the script used in conducting the persuasion poll, if any, and a copy of every question asked in the survey and every statement made to respondents in the survey.
Within 48 hours of each disclosure date.

III.  Disclaimer and Filing Requirements for Communications by Recipient Committees and Independent Expenditure Committees that Spend Money to Support or Oppose Candidates for City Elective Office

Primarily formed committees for or against a candidate must add an additional disclaimer that lists $50,000 donors.

CommunicationDisclaimer RequirementFiling Requirement
Mass Mailings
See San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct (“C&GC”) Code § 1.161(b).
Cal. Gov’t. Code § 84305.
2 Cal. Code Regs. (“CCR”) § 18435 Definition: “Mass mailing” means over 200 substantially similar pieces of mail sent within a calendar month.
Any  person who makes independent expenditures for a mass mailing to support or oppose any candidate for City elective office must place the following statement on the mailing in typeface no smaller than 14 points: “Notice to voters (Required by City and County of San Francisco) This mailing is not authorized or approved by any candidate for City and County office or by any election official. It is paid for by [name and committee identification number]. [address, city, state]. Total Cost of this mailing is [amount].” An insert in the mailing must also state that the ad was “not authorized by the candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate” (in at least 6 point type). 1) Complete and submit Part 5 of the Third Party Disclosure (TPD) Form; and 2) File two pieces of the mailing within:

  • five working days after the date of the mailing, or
  • within 48 hours after the date of the mailing, if the date of the mailing occurs within the final 16 days before an election.

 

Telephone Calls
S.F. C&GC Code § 1.163
Cal. Gov’t. Code § 84310
CCR § 18440 The requirements apply to:  1) any recorded telephone message distributed to 500 or more individuals or households; and 2) any telephone calls (including live calls) that are similar in nature and aggregate to 500 or more and that advocate support of, or opposition to, candidate, ballot measure or both.
The telephone call or recorded telephone message must include the following statements:

  • “Paid for by _________ (insert name of person who paid for the call or recorded telephone message)
  • This statement must be played at the same speed and volume as the rest of the telephone message.
  • “Not authorized by the candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate”
  • This statement must be at the beginning or end; and
  • Must be at least 3 seconds.
There is no specific filing requirement for telephone calls.  However, if the telephone calls are independent expenditures, member communications or electioneering communications, there may by additional filing requirements.  The following must be kept with the committee’s records:

  • a record of the number of calls distributed for each message
  • a transcript of each message
  • a copy of the recording, if the calls are recorded messages
Electronic Media
CCR § 18450.4

  • Websites and blast emails
  • Ads of limited size (micro bar, button ad, ads limited to 500 characters or less)
  • SMS texts
  • Electronic ads sent in an audio format
  • Electronic ads sent in video format
Disclaimer:  “Paid for by committee name” and “Not authorized by the candidate or a committee controlled by the candidate”

  • Websites and blast emails:  Disclaimer statement must be in the same font size as majority of text and displayed conspicuously near the ad.
  • Ads of limited size:  Ad must provide disclaimer via rollover, link, or other connection to website with the disclaimer.
  • SMS texts:  Include the committee ID number and if technically possible link to the committee’s campaign statement on Secretary of State’s website.
  • Electronic ads sent in an audio format:  At least 3 seconds either at beginning or end of ad.
  • Electronic ads sent in video format: 
  • Both written and spoken at the beginning or end of ad
  • Not less than 4 seconds
  • Size and 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
There is no specific filing requirement for electronic medium.  However, if the electronic media is an independent expenditure, electioneering communication or member communication, there may be additional filing requirements. 
Campaign Advertisements
S.F. C&GC Code § 1.162
Cal. Gov’t. Code § 84506 and § 84506.5
CCR § 18450.4 Definition: A campaign advertisement means:

  • a TV or radio ad;
  • a newspaper or magazine ad;
  • a billboard; or
  • posters, door hangers, flyers and

yard signs produced in quantities of 200 or more. Oversized campaign buttons and bumper stickers are also considered to be campaign advertisements but the only disclaimer requirements that apply to these ads are the ones directly listed below the “oversized campaign buttons and bumper stickers” bullet point.

A campaign advertisement that urge(s) support for or opposition to one or more candidates for City elective office must include a disclosure statement identifying the person who paid for the advertisement, as follows:

  • The statement must contain the following words, “paid for by ___ (insert the name of the person who paid for the communication)” and appear at least once on the advertisement. The advertisement must also state that it was “not authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.”
  • If the ad is in written form, the disclaimer must be printed in at least 14-point type and in a color or print that contrast with the background (disclaimers for billboards and yard signs may need to be larger than 14-point type, see below; disclaimers for flyers must be in at least 10-point type).
  • If the ad is in spoken form, the disclaimer must be spoken at the same volume and speed as the rest of the communication and, appropriately conveyed for the hearing impaired.
  • A broadcast or mass mailing advertisement that is an independent expenditure must also identify the names of the persons from whom the committee making the independent expenditure has received its two highest cumulative contributions of $50,000 or more during the 12 month period prior to the expenditure.

In addition to the requirements listed above, disclaimers for

  • Radio ads must be
  •  Either at beginning or end of ad
  • At least 3 seconds
  • Television ads must be
  • Both written and spoken at the beginning or end of ad
  • Not less than 4 seconds
  • Size and 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
  • Billboards must be at least 5% of height of advertisement in contrasting color
  • Yard signs (more than 200) must be at least 5% of height of advertisement in contrasting color

Oversized campaign buttons and bumper stickers of more than 200 (buttons 10” across or larger and stickers 60 sq inches or larger) must:

  • contain the statement “not authorized by the candidate or committee controlled by the candidate” in at least 10-point type in contrasting color
There is no specific filing requirement for campaign advertisements.  However, if the campaign advertisement is an independent expenditure, electioneering communication or member communication, there may be additional filing requirements. 
Electioneering Communications
S.F. C&GC Code § 1.161.5 Definition: An electioneering communication means: Any communication, including but not limited to any broadcast, cable, satellite, radio, internet, or telephone communication, and any mailing, flyer, doorhanger, pamphlet, brochure, card, sign, billboard, facsimile, or printed advertisement, that:

  • refers to a clearly identified candidate for City elective office or a City elective officer who is the subject of a recall election; and
  • is distributed within 90 days prior to an election for City elective office sought by the candidate or a recall election regarding the City elective officer to 500 or more individuals.
Every electioneering communication must include a disclosure statement identifying the person who paid for the communication.

  • Such disclosure statement must, at a minimum, contain the following words: “paid for by _____ (insert the name of the person who paid for the communication).”
  • If the communication is in written form, the disclaimer must be printed in at least 14-point type and in a color or print that contrasts with the background.
  • If the communication is in spoken form, the disclaimer must be spoken at the same volume and speed as the rest of the communication and otherwise be appropriately conveyed for the hearing impaired.
Every person who makes payments for electioneering communications in an aggregate amount of $1,000 during any calendar year must, within 48 hours of each disclosure date, file the following with the Ethics Commission:

  • Part 6 of the TPD Form; and
  • a legible copy of the communication if in printed form, or a transcript of the communication if in spoken form.
Persuasion Polls
S.F. C&GC Code § 1.160.5 Definition: A persuasion poll is any telephone  survey, or series of telephone surveys  that are substantially similar or identical, that:

  • refers to a clearly identified candidate for City elective office or a City elective officer, other than in a basic preference question;
  • includes at least one call made within 60 days prior to an election for City elective office sought by the candidate named in the survey or a recall election regarding the City elective officer named in the survey;
  • includes at least 1,000 completed calls, such as person-to-person discussions following the survey script.
Any caller who makes a persuasion poll must, at the beginning of each call:

  • Identify the person funding, sponsoring or authorizing the call by stating “This is a paid political advertisement by [Name of person(s)”]; and
  • Identify the name of the person making the call if different from the name of the sponsor, by stating “This call is conducted by [Name of person].”

Examples: This call was paid for by Senator Jones; This call was authorized by (name of committee) These disclosures must be:

  • spoken at the same volume and speed as the rest of the communication;
  • clearly audible by the call recipient and otherwise appropriately conveyed for the hearing impaired; and
  • repeated upon request of the call recipient.

 

Any person who authorizes, administers or makes payment for a persuasion poll must file Part 7 of the Third Party Disclosure Form with the Ethics Commission within 48 hours of the date of each of the following:

  • The date that a written formal agreement regarding the persuasion poll sponsor(s) or the sponsor(s)’ agent
  • The date of the 1000th call in the poll; and
  • The date of each 1000th additional call in the poll.

  Along with Part 7 of the Third Party Disclosure Form, the filer must also submit a copy of the script used in conducting the persuasion poll, and a copy of every question asked in the survey and every statement made to respondents in the survey. 

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