Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Courtesy Notice – September 21, 2015 – Courtesy Notice regarding the September 24, 2015 First Pre-Election Filing Deadline for the November 3, 2015 Election, General Purpose, Independent Expenditures, Late Reporting Period and Disclaimer Requirements

Date: September 21, 2015

To:

  • General Purpose committees
  • Candidates, Primarily Formed Candidate and Ballot Measure committees for the November 3, 2015 election

From: Jesse Mainardi, Acting Executive Director

Re:

  1. Courtesy Notice regarding the September 24, 2015 First Pre-Election Filing Deadline for the November 3, 2015 election;
  2. General Purpose committees that make contributions or expenditures totaling $500 or more during a Pre-Election period;
  3. Independent Expenditures regarding San Francisco ballot measures and Candidates;
  4. Late Reporting Period (August 5, 2015 through November 2, 2015) Filing Obligation; and
  5. Disclaimer Requirements for all City campaigns.

1. Courtesy notice regarding the September 24, 2015 filing deadline

A. Who needs to file?

a. All committees controlled by San Francisco candidates being voted upon in the November 3, 2015 election. 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);

b. All San Francisco candidates without committees being voted upon in the November 3, 2015 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.);

c. All committees primarily formed to support or oppose local candidates or ballot measures being voted upon in the November 3, 2015 election; and

d. General purpose committees that make $500 or more in contributions or 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 September 19, 2015; or (b) if no statement was filed in 2015, January 1, 2015 through September 19, 2015. Candidates without committees file Form 470. The period covered by a Form 470 is the calendar year (i.e., 1/1/15-12/31/15).

C. Do you need to file electronically?

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:

  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.)

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.

2. General Purpose Committees that make contributions or expenditures totaling $500 or more during a Pre-Election period

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 in the applicable pre-election period, but NOT if its only payments are for costs related to the establishment and administration of that committee.  The excluded costs include those for legal and accounting fees and other expenses incurred in setting up and running a sponsored committee.

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 September 19, 2015, you must file Form 465 no later than September 24, 2015.  If you are an electronic filer, you must file Form 465 in electronic format.  (You may also need to file FPPC Form 496, see below “Late Reporting Period” for more information).

4. Late Reporting Period (August 5, 2015 through November 2, 2015) Filing Obligations

The 90-day period immediately preceding an election is called the Late Reporting Period.  For the November 3, 2015 election, the Late Period covers from August 5, 2015 through November 2, 2015.  During this period, you may be required to file additional reports, as described below.

FPPC 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 497. Candidate committees that receive contributions or loans of a $1,000 or more from the controlling candidate must also file a Form 497.  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 file Form 497 in electronic format.

FPPC 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 file Form 496 in electronic format.  In addition, a legible copy of any independent expenditure concerning City candidates must now accompany any Form 496. These communications may be emailed to the Commission at ethics.commission@sfgov.org.  The email should reference the report number(s) of the filed Form 496 and the name of the filer.

SFEC Form 162 Electioneering Communications:  File SFEC Form 162 within 24 hours of making electioneering communication(s) if the cost of the communication attributable to any one City candidate referenced in the communication is $1,000 or more.  A copy of the electioneering communication, including any script or recording, must be filed with the form. Form 162 may be submitted by email (ethics.commission@sfgov.org) or personal delivery.

SFEC Form 163 Member Communications:  File SFEC Form 163 within 24 hours of making payments for member communications if the cost of the communication attributable to any one City candidate referenced in the communication is $1,000 or more. A copy of the member communication, including any script or recording, must be filed with the form. Form 163 may be submitted by email (ethics.commission@sfgov.org) or personal delivery.

5. Disclaimer Requirements for all City campaigns

The disclaimer requirements for all City campaigns (i.e. “Paid for by” rules), including ballot measure campaigns, have changed to supplement state law requirements. The Ethics Commission has produced a number of Disclaimer Charts that indicate how to comply with the new rules. To view these charts please use the following link:

https://www.sfethics.org/ethics/2015/07/announcement-of-important-changes-to-san-franciscos-campaign-finance-ordinance-now-in-effect.html

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