All active campaign committees must file their semi-annual campaign disclosure statements by January 31, 2017. Depending on the last filed reports, these statements may cover one of the following periods:
If a committee filed a statement in 2016:
from the day following the closing date of the committee’s last disclosure filing through December 31, 2016
If a committee filed no statement in 2016:
from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2016
Under state law, committees that remained open in 2016 must file disclosure statements even if they had no activity since the last filed disclosure statement.
To assist committees with their filing requirements and help the public understand what information committees are updating, the Ethics Commission’s Education and Compliance staff have prepared the following summary reminders:
Who Needs to File What?
The following filers must submit campaign statements with the Ethics Commission:
Recipient Committee Campaign Statement
Who Needs to File?
- Non-candidate Recipient committees – General purpose, ballot measure and primarily formed candidate committees.
- Candidate committees – Candidate committees are controlled by a person(s) for the purpose of running for an elected office.
- Officeholders that terminated all their committees before the end of 2016 (see below key reminder).
Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committee Campaign Statement
Who Needs to File?
- Major Donor committee – An individual or entity that makes one or more contributions totaling $10,000 or more in a calendar year to political committees.
- Independent Expenditure committee – An individual or entity that makes one or more independent expenditures to pay for a communication totaling $1,000 or more in a calendar year.
- A candidate or an elected officeholder in one jurisdiction who runs for an office in another jurisdiction must file campaign statements for all committees he or she controls in both jurisdictions.
- If an officeholder had an active committee in 2016 but which terminated before the end of the year, the officeholder is required to file an Officeholder Statement (FPPC 460) that covers from the day following the closing date of the last committee disclosure filing through December 31, 2016.
Late filings are subject to a $10-per day late fee for paper reports, and a $25-per day late fee for electronic reports. Committees may pay late fees on-line with a debit/credit card or e-check. In certain limited instances, late filing fees may be waived according to existing Ethics Commission policy. For more information contact the Ethics Commission staff at 415-252-3100 .
After the Campaign: Additional Post-Election Reminders
Terminating a committee
A political committee’s public disclosure obligations do not end simply because the election is over. Under the law, committees must continue to publicly report their campaign activities on a Form 460 until they formally terminate.
If no funds are left in a committee’s campaign bank account and it will not raise additional funds, the committee should close the account and campaign committee.
Before terminating, a committee must have filed all required campaign statements and disclosed all reportable transactions. This includes the disposition of leftover funds and elimination of all debts.
HOW TO TERMINATE
To terminate, a committee must:
- File a Form 460 Termination covering the period through December 31, 2016 indicating a zero-ending cash balance; and
- File a Form 410, marking the termination box.
To learn more about the steps required to terminate as a political committee, including what committees may do with any money remaining in their campaign bank accounts, please contact the Commission’s Education and Compliance staff at 415-252-3100.
All political committees that plan to remain open in 2017 must pay an annual $50 registration fee to the Secretary of State no later than January 15, 2017.
City law requires the Ethics Commission to audit all publicly financed candidates. The Ethics Commission also audits other committees that were active in 2016. Committees are responsible for maintaining accurate and organized documentation of campaign records. See the list of records that committees must keep and provide for audit purposes.
Need More Information?
Ethics Commission Staff are available to assist you with any compliance questions you may have to better understand with these important public disclosure requirements. We encourage you to contact a member of our Education and Compliance Staff for further information and guidance. We can be reached Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm at 415-252-3100 and will be happy to help you.