Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Ethics Commission Fact Sheet: Lobbyist Disclosures and Documents

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This fact sheet summarizes the disclosure requirements for lobbyists in San Francisco.  Lobbyists are responsible for monthly disclosure reports, disclosures about employment, and document retention.

Monthly Disclosures

By the fifteenth day of every month, you are required to disclose your lobbying activity during the prior calendar month to the Ethics Commission.  This includes information about:

  • Any individuals or organizations who paid for your lobbying;
  • Any lobbying contacts* you made;
  • The payments you received (or expected) from your employer or client(s) for lobbyist services;
  • Any “activity expenses”** you incurred (including consulting fees and gifts);
  • Any political contributions** of $100 or more you made or raised; and
  • Any changes to your registration information.

*To learn more about what counts as a lobbying contact, see the Ethics Commission’s “Lobbying Contacts” Fact Sheet.

**To learn more about activity expenses and political contributions, see the Ethics Commission’s “Lobbyist Contributions, Fundraising & Activity Expenses” Fact Sheet.

For a full list and description of your required monthly disclosure reports, see the Ethics Commission’s Lobbyist Manual.

NOTE: A company may file these statements on behalf of its lobbyists.

Economic Consideration and Shared Client Reporting

If several lobbyists work for the same employer, any one of them may disclose all payments received from the employer’s clients for lobbyist services on his or her monthly reports.  The same lobbyist should report all such payments this way for the full calendar year.  Alternatively, the payments can be split up among the lobbyists.

Disclosures Regarding Employment

You must file an employment statement if you employ or induce a client to employ:

  • Any City officer;
  • Any immediate family member or registered domestic partner of any City officer; or
  • Any person you know to be a full-time employee of the City in any capacity.

You must also file a statement if one of your employees is appointed to a City office. 

Statements must be filed within ten days of the employment or appointment.  The statements must include:

  • Employee’s name;
  • Date first employed;
  • Nature of the employment duties; and
  • Salary or rate of pay of the employee. 

Document Retention

You must retain documents that substantiate your registration and disclosure reports for the prior five years.  This includes copies of all fundraising solicitations for City candidates or ballot measures that you sent. 

You may be required to supply these documents to the Ethics Commission and the City Attorney.  For instance, the Ethics Commission audits randomly-selected lobbyists every year.  If you receive a request for records, you must reply with the documents within ten days. 

If you fail to produce documents requested by Ethics Commission, you may face penalties.  

The San Francisco Ethics Commission and the UC Hastings Center for State & Local Government Law collaborated to produce this fact sheet. Its guidance is necessarily general. Refer to the Lobbyist Ordinance and its implementing regulations regarding your specific situation.

Last Updated 12/8/14

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