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Courtesy Notice – September 19, 2011 – Regarding the September 29, 2011 Pre-Election Deadline, General Purpose Committees, Independent Expenditures, and Third-Party Disclosure Form


Date: September 19, 2011


  • General Purpose Committees
  • Candidates, Primarily Formed Candidate and Ballot Measure committees for the
    November 8, 2011 election

From: John St. Croix, Executive Director


  1. Courtesy Notice regarding the September 29, 2011 Pre-Election Deadline
  2. General Purpose Committees that make any expenditures totaling $500 or more
    during a Pre-Election period
  3. Independent Expenditures regarding San Francisco ballots measures and candidates
  4. Third Party Disclosure Form for expenditures regarding candidates for City elective

Please review this memorandum carefully. It contains important information about your campaign disclosure filing obligations. If you have questions on any of the items discussed below, please call our office at 415-252-3100 during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1. Courtesy notice regarding the September 29, 2011 filing deadline

A. Who needs to file?

  1. All committees controlled by San Francisco candidates being voted upon in the November 8, 2011 election1; and
  2. All San Francisco candidates without committees being voted upon in the November 8, 2011 election. (These filers file a Form 470 covering the calendar year and need not file if they have already filed a 470 for the current election and year.); and
  3. All committees primarily formed to support or oppose local candidates or ballot measures being voted upon in the November 8, 2011 election.
  4. All San Francisco general purpose committees who make $500 or more in contributions or any expenditures during the pre-election period.

B. What is the period covered by the Statement?

The first pre-election statement covers the period between: either (a) the day after the closing date of the previous statement filed through September 24, 2011; or (b) if no statement was filed in 2011, January 1, 2011 through September 24, 2011.2

C. What form do you need to file?

Depending on the filer, a Form 460 (Recipient Committee Campaign Statement), Form 450 (Recipient Committee Campaign Statement – Short Form), Form 461 (Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statement) or Form 470 (Officeholder and Candidate Campaign Statement – Short Form) must be filed. Candidates with committees must use Form 460. As discussed above, candidates without committees file Form 470. Primarily formed committees (candidate and ballot measure) and general purpose recipient committees use Form 460 (Form 450 is used only when the committee has not received $100 or more from any person nor has it paid $100 or more to any person during the period covered by the campaign statement). Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committees use Form 461.

The Commission requires an original and one copy of each statement dated and signed by the treasurer and candidate.

D. Do you need to file electronically in addition to your paper filing?

Committees that receive contributions or make expenditures totaling $5,000 or more in a calendar year must file an electronic copy of each semi-annual, quarterly, pre-election and supplemental pre-election campaign statement at the same time as the paper copy is filed with the Ethics Commission. Such committees are required to continue filing electronic copies of campaign disclosure statements, regardless of the committee's level of financial activity, until the committee terminates. Controlled committees formed for county central committee elections are not required to file electronically.

E. What is the fee for the late filing of paper and/or electronic reports?

Filing deadlines will be strictly enforced. Late filings are subject to a $10-per day late fee for paper reports and, if applicable, an additional $25-per day late fee for electronic reports.

2. General Purpose Committees that make contributions or any expenditures totaling $500 or more during a Pre-Election period

Under local law, all San Francisco general purpose committees, which include Independent Expenditure and Major Donor Committees, must file pre-election statements before any election held in the City and County of San Francisco at which a candidate for City elective office or City measure is on the ballot, if the committee makes contributions or expenditures totaling $500 or more during the period covered by the pre-election statement.3

3. Independent Expenditures regarding San Francisco ballot measures and candidates

An independent expenditure is an expenditure that advocates the election or defeat of a candidate or the qualification, passage or defeat of a measure but is not made to or at the behest of the affected candidate or ballot measure committee.

Committees that make independent expenditures regarding a San Francisco ballot measure or candidate may have additional filing obligations with the Ethics Commission. An independent expenditure of $1,000 or more for or against a measure or candidate during any pre-election, semi-annual, quarterly or signature-gathering period requires the filing of Form 465 Supplemental Independent Expenditure Report. If your committee makes independent expenditures of $1,000 or more for a single measure or candidate during the pre-election period ending September 24, 2011, you must file Form 465 no later than September 29, 2011. If you are an electronic filer, you must also file Form 465 in electronic format.

4. Third Party Disclosure Form for expenditures regarding candidates for City elective office

As you may know, any person who makes independent expenditures, member communications or electioneering communications regarding a candidate for City elective office, may have additional filing obligations under San Francisco Governmental Conduct Code Sections 1.34(c), 1.152(a)(3), 1.152(b)(3), 1.116(b), 1.161.5 and 1.160.5. Some of these requirements require committees to provide notification to the Ethics Commission within 24 hours of distributing communications. Please see the Third Party Disclosure Form for more information.

S:\CAMPAIGN\2011\9.29.2011\Courtesy Notice template.doc

1 When a candidate or officeholder controls more than one committee for the purpose of election to office, all committees of that candidate or officeholder must file pre-election statements each time any committee statement is due (see Cal. Code Regulation Section §18405).

2 Candidates without committees file Form 470.  The period covered by a Form 470 is the calendar year (i.e., 1/1/11-12/31/11).

3 Any expenditure, including expenditures for overhead costs, counts toward the $500 threshold when determining whether a pre-election filing is due.

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