Date: September 13, 2013
- General Purpose committees
- Candidates, Primarily Formed Candidate and Ballot Measure committees for the
November 5, 2013 election
From: John St. Croix, Executive Director
- Recent changes to campaign finance laws and regulations
- Courtesy Notice regarding the September 26, 2013 First Pre-Election Filing
- General Purpose Committees that make contributions or any expenditures totaling
$500 or more during a Pre-Election period
- Independent Expenditures regarding San Francisco ballots measures and candidates
- Late Reporting Period (August 7, 2013 through November 4, 2013) Filing
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.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Courtesy notice regarding the September 26, 2013 filing deadline
A. Who needs to file?
- All committees controlled by San Francisco candidates being voted upon in the November 5, 2013 election1; and
- All San Francisco candidates without committees being voted upon in the November 5, 2013 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.);
- All committees primarily formed to support or oppose local candidates or ballot measures being voted upon in the November 5, 2013 election; and
- General purpose committees that make $500 or more in contributions or ANY expenditures during the pre-election period.
- 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 first pre-election statement covers the period between: either (a) the day after the closing date of the previous statement filed through September 21, 2013; or (b) if no statement was filed in 2013, January 1, 2013 through September 21, 2013.2
C. Do you need to file electronically in addition to your paper filing?
All major donor committees, recipient committees and independent expenditures committees 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:
- 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.
- 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.)
D. 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 or $25-per day late fee for electronic reports.
3. 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.
4. 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 21, 2013, you must file Form 465 no later than September 26, 2013. 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.
5. Late Reporting Period (August 7, 2013 through November 4, 2013) Filing Obligations
The 90-day period immediately preceding an election is called the Late Reporting Period. For the November 5, 2013 election, the Late Period covers from August 7, 2013 through November 4, 2013. 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. You must 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. You must file Form 496 in electronic format.
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).