Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Disclaimer and Filing Requirements for Communications by Candidates for their Own Election

To the extent this chart conflicts with state or local law, the law controls.

Communication Disclaimer Requirement Filing Requirement
Mass Mailings
S.F. C&GC Code § 1.161(a)
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.
  • The disclaimer must include the words “paid for by” followed by the committee’s name, street address, city, state and zip code.  A P.O. Box is acceptable only if the candidate committee’s street address is on file on the Form 410 with the Ethics Commission.
  • The disclaimer must appear
  • on the outside of each piece of mail,
  • in no less than 14 point type, and
  • in a color or print that contrasts with the background.
  • If sent by more than one candidate or committee, the disclaimer must:
  • Also appear on at least one insert in the mailing (in at least 6 point type).
  • The FPPC recommends that return envelopes (included in solicitations) include the committee’s name, address and ID number.
Each candidate committee that pays for a mass mailing must file two pieces of the mailing and form SFEC-161a with the Ethics Commission within:

  • Five working days after the date of the mailing; or
  • Within 48 hours of the date of the mailing if the date of the mailing occurs within the final 16 days before the election.

Electronic Mail Messages
Cal. Gov’t. Code § 84305
CCR § 18435
FPPC Political Advertisement Chart #1


  • Only the words “paid for by” and committee name required on electronic messages
  • No less than 6 pt. type/contrasting print color


There is no additional filing requirement.

Faxes and Twitter Feeds
FPPC Political Advertisement Chart #1
  • Required disclaimer: Committee name
  • Disclaimers on other types of electronic media, such as websites, blogs, and social media pages are not required but the following is recommended: Committee name and committee ID number.
There is no additional filing requirement.
Campaign Advertisements
S.F. C&GC Code § 1.162 Definition: A campaign advertisement means:

  • TV or radio ad;
  • newspaper or magazine ad;
  • a billboard; and
  • posters, door hangers and yard signs produced in quantities of 200 or more.
  Any campaign advertisement that urges 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.

  • At a minimum, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
There is no additional filing requirement when a candidate for City elective office pays for a campaign advertisement.
Live and Recorded Telephone Messages
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.
  The telephone call or recorded telephone message must include the following statement:

  • “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.

This requirement does not apply to live calls made by the candidate, campaign manager, or volunteers.

  There is no additional filing requirement.
Persuasion Polls
S.F. C&GC Code § 1.60.5(b) Telephonic Disclosure. 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 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; and
  • Each phone conversation in the survey takes less than four minutes on average to complete excluding any sponsorship identification;
  No person shall authorize, administer or make a payment for a persuasion poll unless, at the beginning of each call:

  • The person making the call identifies the person(s) making payments for or authorizing the call by stating “This is a paid political advertisement by [Name of person(s)]
  • Identifies the person making the call, if different from 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 Form SFEC – 160.5 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.

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