Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Courtesy Notice – October 12, 2012 – Regarding the October 25, 2012 Second Pre-election Filing Deadline, General Purpose Committees that make contributions or any expenditure totaling $500 or more, Independent Expenditures, Late Reports

Date: October 12, 2012

To:

  • General Purpose committees
  • Candidates, Primarily Formed Candidate and Ballot Measure committees for the November 6, 2012 election

From: John St. Croix, Executive Director

Re:

  1. Courtesy Notice regarding the October 25, 2012 Second Pre-Election Filing
    Deadline
  2. General Purpose Committees that make contributions or any expenditures totaling
    $500 or more during a Pre-Election period
  3. Independent Expenditures regarding San Francisco ballots measures and candidates
  4. Late Reporting Period (October 21, 2012 through November 5, 2012) Filing
    Obligations

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 October 25, 2012 filing deadline

A. Who needs to file?

  1. All committees controlled by San Francisco candidates being voted upon in the November 6, 2012 election1; and
  2. All San Francisco candidates without committees being voted upon in the November 6, 2012 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.);
  3. All committees primarily formed to support or oppose local candidates or ballot measures being voted upon in the November 6, 2012 election; and
  4. General purpose committees that 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 October 20, 2012; or (b) if no statement was filed in 2012, January 1, 2012 through October 20, 2012.2

C. What form do you need to file?

Depending on the filer, a Form 460 (Recipient Committee Campaign Statement), Form 461 (Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statement), Form 450 (Recipient Committee Campaign Statement – Short Form) 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. Ballot measure 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).

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 $5,000 or more in contributions or that make $5,000 or more in expenditures in a calendar year must file campaign finance statements electronically (i.e., Form 460 or Form 461) in addition to submitting paper forms. Once the $5,000 threshold is reached, recipient committees must file electronic statements until termination and non-recipient committees must continue to electronically file for the remainder of the calendar year. 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. Any expenditure, including expenditures for overhead costs, counts toward the $500 threshold when determining whether a pre-election filing is due.

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 October 20, 2012, you must file Form 465 no later than October 25, 2012. If you are an electronic filer, you must also file Form 465 in electronic format.

In addition, if you make independent expenditures, member communications or electioneering communications regarding a candidate for city elective office, you may be required to file a Third Party Disclosure Form. For instructions regarding the Third Party Disclosure Form, please refer to the form on our website or contact staff.

4. Late Reporting Period (October 21, 2012 through November 5, 2012) Filing Obligations

The 16-day period immediately preceding an election is called the Late Reporting Period. For the November 6, 2012 election, the Late Period covers from October 21, 2012 through November 5, 2012. During the period, you may be required to file additional reports, as described below.

Form 497: Form 497 is used to report contributions totaling $1,000 or more from a single source during the Late Reporting Period when the contributions are made to or received by candidates, controlled committees and committees primarily formed to support or oppose a candidate(s) or measure(s). Both the candidate or primarily formed committee receiving the contribution, as well as the committee making the contribution, must file Form 4973. File Form 497 within 24 hours of receiving or making a late monetary contribution or loan or making an in-kind contribution. Those who receive an in-kind contribution must file Form 497 within 48 hours of the date the contribution was received. If you are an electronic filer, you must also file Form 497 in electronic format.

Form 496: File Form 496 within 24 hours of making independent expenditure(s) that total $1,000 or more to support or oppose a single candidate or ballot measure. If you are supporting or opposing a candidate or measure in San Francisco, you must file Form 496 with the San Francisco Ethics Commission. If you are an electronic filer, you must also file Form 496 in electronic format.

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1When 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).

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

3As a reminder, candidate committees that receive contributions or loans of a $1,000 or more from the controlling candidate must also file a Form 497.

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