Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Courtesy Notice – January 17, 2012 – Regarding the January 31, 2012 Semi-Annual Deadline, Information on Terminating Committees, Guidance on Preparing Campaign Statements

Date:    January 17, 2012

To:      

  • Recipient committees (Including Candidates and Officeholders)
  • Candidates for the June 5, 2012 and November 6, 2012 elections who do not have a committee  
  • Major donor and independent expenditure committees

From:   John St. Croix, Executive Director

Re:      

  1. Courtesy notice regarding the January 31, 2012 semi-annual filing deadline;
  2. Information on terminating committees
  3. Guidance on preparing campaign statements

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 January 31, 2012 filing deadline

This section provides important information about the upcoming January 31, 2012 filing deadline.  Please review the information below to determine your filing obligation.

A. Who needs to file?

The following filers must file a semi-annual statement with the Ethics Commission:

  1. Non-candidate recipient committees must file one of the following forms:
    • FPPC Form 425 Semi-Annual Statement of No Activity,
    • FPPC Form 450 Recipient Committee Campaign Statement-Short Form, or
    • FPPC Form 460 Recipient Committee Campaign Statement.
    • Committees that made independent expenditures of $1,000 or more to support or oppose a single candidate or measure must also file a Form 465 Supplemental Independent Expenditure Report.
  2. Candidate/Officeholder committees must file:1
    • FPPC Form 460 Recipient Committee Campaign Statement.
  3. Candidates for the June 2012 or November 2012 elections who do not have a committee but who, by 12/31/2011, have filed a Form 501 Candidate Intention Statement must file a Form 470 Officeholder and Candidate Campaign Statement-Short Form for the 2011 calendar year. 
  4. Major donor and independent expenditure committees must file:  
    • FPPC Form 461 Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statement if there was any activity during the reporting period covering through 12/31/2011.  However, if you already filed a Pre-Election statement, you must file a Semi Annual statement covering through December 31, 2011 even if you did not have any activity after your Pre-Election filing.
    • Committees that made independent expenditures of $1,000 or more to support or oppose a single candidate or measure must also file a Form 465 Supplemental Independent Expenditure Report. 

B. What is the period covered by the Statement?

The statement covers the period between: either (a) the day after the closing date of the previous statement filed through December 31, 2011; or (b) if no statement was filed in 2011, January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.2

C. What records do you need to keep?

State law requires committees to keep all campaign records for a period of four years from the date the related campaign statement was filed.  The candidate and treasurer are responsible for maintaining the records and for the accuracy of the records.  In general, you must keep a record of all receipts and expenditures.  For more detail on the types of records that you must maintain, please refer to the recordkeeping section of the relevant FPPC Campaign Disclosure Manual.  FPPC Manuals may be obtained from the Commission’s office or from the FPPC’s website at www.fppc.ca.gov

D. What form(s) 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 425 (Semi-Annual Statement of No Activity), Form 470 (Officeholder and Candidate Campaign Statement – Short Form) or Form 461 (Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statement) must be filed.  In addition to the forms listed above, committees that made independent expenditures of $1,000 or more to support a single candidate or measure must also file a Form 465 Supplemental Independent Expenditure Report. 

The Commission requires an original and one copy of each statement signed and dated by the treasurer and candidate.  You may obtain forms at the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) web site: http://www.fppc.ca.gov.  

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

In addition to paper reports, all major donor committees must also file FPPC forms 461 and 497 electronically and all recipient general purpose committees and independent expenditures committees that receive $5,000 or more in contributions or make $5,000 or more in independent expenditures in a calendar year must also file the following FPPC forms electronically: 460, 461, 465, 496 and 497.  A committee that files electronic campaign statements must continue to file electronically until it terminates.  There are two ways to comply with this requirement:

  1. Internet Filing.  Committees may use the Commission’s free San Francisco Electronic Disclosure System (SFEDS).  A registration form and a user guide are available on the Commission’s web site at www.sfethics.org
  2. Political Reporting Services.  Campaigns may wish to purchase political software or reporting services.  You may obtain a list of qualified third-party software vendors at http://www.ss.ca.gov/prd/approved_vendors.htm.  (Please note that these are listed for informational purposes and that the Commission does not endorse these services.) 

F. 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. Information on terminating committees

If no funds are left in the campaign bank account and you will not raise additional funds, you should close the account and campaign committee by filing Form 460 (covering through 12/31/11) indicating a zero-ending cash balance and Form 410 (mark the termination box).  Before terminating, you must have filed all required campaign statements, disclosing all reportable transactions, including the disposition of leftover funds and elimination of all debts. 

If you do not terminate your committee, you must continue to file Form 460.  Please call Commission staff at 415-252-3100 for information on your future filing obligations (if you do not terminate) and what you can do with the money remaining in your campaign bank account.

3. Guidance on preparing campaign statements

If you need guidance in preparing your campaign statements, you may schedule an appointment to meet with staff by calling 415-252-3100.    Due to the high volume of filings received around the filing deadline, staff encourages you to address your filing concerns several days before the January 31 filing deadline.

S:\CAMPAIGN\2012\1.31.2012\Courtesy Notice\Courtesy Notice Template 1.31.2012 Deadline.doc


When a candidate or officeholder controls more than one committee for offices within the same jurisdiction, all committees of that candidate or officeholder must file statements each time any committee statement is due.  When an elected officeholder in one jurisdiction runs for an office in another jurisdiction, the officeholder and all committees that he or she controls must file statements in both jurisdictions (see Cal. Code Regulation Section §18405).

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).

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