Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Courtesy Notice – July 5, 2011 – Reminder about filing requirements

Date: July 5, 2011

To: Potential Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committees

From: John St. Croix, Executive Director

RE: Reminder about filing requirements


This is a reminder about possible filing obligations you may have with the San Francisco Ethics Commission.  If you have questions about your filing obligations call the Commission at 415-252-3100.

I.  What are the filing obligations of a Major Donor Committee?

A Major Donor is an individual or entity that makes monetary or non-monetary contributions (including loans) to state or local candidates, ballot measure committees or other types of committees totaling $10,000 or more in a calendar year. You are a San Francisco Major Donor Committee when more than 50% of your contributions are made to San Francisco committees. 

Under State law, a Major Donor Committee files Form 461 for semi-annual reporting periods.  Additionally, San Francisco law requires a San Francisco Major Donor Committee to also file Form 461 for pre-election reporting periods in which the Major Donor makes contributions totaling $500 or more.  In addition to the Form 461, a Major Donor Committee is required to file Form 497 when it makes a contribution of $1,000 or more to a single candidate or measure during the 16-day period immediately preceding the election at which the candidate or measure is voted upon.  A San Francisco Major Donor Committee must file Forms 461 and 497 in both paper and electronic format with the Ethics Commission.

II.  What are the filing obligations of an Independent Expenditure Committee?

An Independent Expenditure Committee is an individual or entity that makes one or more independent expenditures totaling $1,000 or more in a calendar year to support or oppose candidates, measures, or the qualification of measures.  You are a San Francisco Independent Expenditure Committee when more than 50% of your expenditures are made regarding San Francisco measures and/or candidates. 

Under State law, an Independent Expenditure Committee files Form 461 for semi-annual reporting periods.  Additionally, San Francisco law requires a San Francisco Independent Expenditure Committee to also file Form 461 for pre-election reporting periods in which the Committee makes any expenditures totaling $500 or more.  In addition to the Form 461, an Independent Expenditure Committee may be required to file Forms 496 and 465.  During the 16-day period preceding an election, a Form 496 is due within 24 hours of when the Committee makes independent expenditures totaling $1,000 or more regarding a single candidate or measure that is voted upon in the election.  A Form 465 is required for quarterly, semi-annual, pre-election and signature gathering reporting periods when $1,000 or more in independent expenditures is made during the period relating to a single candidate or measure.  When a San Francisco Independent Expenditure Committee’s spending reaches $5,000 or more in a calendar year, it must file the Forms 461, 496 and 465 in electronic format in addition to paper format. 

A Committee that makes expenditures relating to a candidate for City elective office may be required to file the San Francisco Ethics Commission’s Third Party Disclosure Form.  The Third Party Disclosure Form is used to report independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or member communications that clearly identify a candidate for City elective office and payments for persuasion polls.  See the Third Party Disclosure Form for detailed instructions. 

III. Are there fees for late filings?

S.F. Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code (“C&GC”) Section 1.170(d) imposes a fee of $10 per day for paper campaign statements and an additional fee of $25 per day for electronic filings received after the filing deadline.  If both electronic and paper statements are required and late, the fee is $35 per day.  The fee liability for late filing of paper statements is limited to the amount disclosed by the statement or $100, whichever is greater.  The fee liability for late filing of electronic statements is limited to the amount disclosed by the late statements or $250, whichever is greater.

IV. What are the filing deadlines that occur in 2011?

The table below summarizes filing deadlines that occur in 2011.

FormFiling DeadlinePeriod Covered
FPPC Forms 461 and 465January 31, 2011Period ending 12/31/10 (Semi Annual)
FPPC Forms 461 and 465August 1, 20111/1/11 – 6/30/11  (Semi Annual)
FPPC Forms 461 and 465September 29, 20117/1/11 – 9/24/11   (Pre-Election)
FPPC Forms 461 and 465October 27, 20119/25/11 – 10/22/11   (Pre-Election)
FPPC Forms 461 and 465January 31, 201210/23/11 – 12/31/11    (Semi Annual)
FPPC Form 465Contact EthicsSignature gathering periods
FPPC Forms 497 and 496Within 24 HoursLate reporting period: 10/23/11 – 11/7/11
SFEC Third Party Disclosure FormSee TPD form for detailed instructions

S:\CAMPAIGN\2011\Major Donor and IND committee reminder notice 7.5.11.doc

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