Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Courtesy Notice – July 16, 2013 – Regarding recent changes to campaign finance laws and regulations, the July 31, 2013 semi-annual filing deadline, termination, preparation and filing

Date: July 16, 2013

To:

  • Recipient committees (Including Candidates and Officeholders)
  • Candidates for the November 5, 2013 election who do not have a committee
  • Major donor and independent expenditure committees

From: John St. Croix, Executive Director

Re:

  1. Recent changes to campaign finance laws and regulations;
  2. Courtesy notice regarding the July 31, 2013 semi-annual filing deadline;
  3. Information on terminating committees; and
  4. Guidance on preparing and filing 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. Recent changes to local campaign finance laws and regulations

The following are changes to rules and regulations governing campaign committees.

  • The threshold at which committees must electronically file has been reduced from $5,000 to $1,000. Thus, a committee must file electronic statements and reports if it receives contributions or makes expenditures that total $1,000 or more in a calendar year.
  • County Central Committees – A committee primarily formed to support or oppose a person seeking membership on a San Francisco county central committee, including a committee controlled by the person seeking membership, must now file electronic statements if the committee reaches the $1,000 electronic filing threshold.
  • All individuals required to sign electronic campaign finance statements are required to complete a Signature Verification Card (Form SFEC-112a).
  • Any committee that files electronic statements and completes the electronic signature requirements is no longer required to file paper versions of the statements that are electronically filed.
  • $50 payment to the Secretary of State: A committee that has not terminated by 12/31/2013 will need to pay a $50 fee to the Secretary of State no later than January 15, 2014. If the payment is late, a penalty of $150 may be assessed.
  • 90-day late reporting period: The late reporting period for the November 5, 2013 election covers August 7 through November 4, 2013. Forms 497 and 496 are due within 24 hours during the 90-day late reporting period.
  • Form 462: The form must be filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) within 10 days from the date of an independent expenditure that totals, in the aggregate, $1,000 or more to support or oppose a candidate or measure in a calendar year. A candidate or measure is listed only once for each election. The verification states that the independent expenditure(s) was not coordinated with the affected candidate or measure committee or their opponent and the committee reported all contributions and reimbursements.

For more information about these and other changes, please contact Ethics Staff at 415-252-3100 or by email at ethics.commission@sfgov.org.

2. Courtesy notice regarding the July 31, 2013 filing deadline

This section provides important information about the upcoming July 31, 2013 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:

a. Non-candidate recipient committees must file:

  • 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.

b. Candidate/Officeholder committees must file:

  • FPPC Form 460 Recipient Committee Campaign Statement.

c. Candidates for the November 2013 election who filed a Form 501 Candidate Intention Statement by 6/30/2013, DID NOT have a committee in the year 2012 or 2013 and DID NOT raise or spend $1,000 or more in 2013 must file a Form 470 Officeholder and Candidate Campaign Statement-Short Form for the 2013 calendar year.

d. 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 6/30/2013. However, if you already filed a Pre-Election statement, you must file a Semi Annual statement covering through 6/30/2013 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.

e. For statements that are NOT electronically filed, the Commission requires an original and one copy of each statement signed and dated by the treasurer and/or candidate. You may obtain FPPC forms at the Fair Political Practices Commission website: http:www.fppc.ca.gov. You may obtain local SFEC forms at the SF Ethics Commission website: https://www.sfethics.org.

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 June 30, 2013; or (b) if no statement was filed in 2013, January 1, 2013 through June 30, 2013.

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. Do you need to file electronically?

All major donor committees must file FPPC Forms 461 and 497 electronically and all recipient committees and independent expenditures committees that receive $1,000 or more in contributions or make $1,000 or more in independent expenditures in a calendar year must 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.)

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.

3. 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 Termination (covering through 6/30/2013) 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.

4. 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 July 31 filing deadline.

S:\CAMPAIGN\2013\7.31.2013\7.31.2013 Courtesy Notice Template.doc

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