Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Ethics Commission Makes First Certifications of Eligibility for Publicly-Financed Mayoral Candidates in June 2018 Election

For Release: March 27, 2018

As required by the City’s public campaign funding program, Ethics Commission Executive Director LeeAnn Pelham today announced the first certifications of eligibility to receive public funds in connection with the June 5, 2018 Mayoral race. Based on a review of the Qualifying Requests and supporting documentation submitted by two committees, the Ethics Commission today certified both the London Breed for Mayor 2018 and the Mark Leno for Mayor 2018 committees as eligible to receive public funds. Each campaign committee will now receive $100,000 as an initial grant of public funds from the San Francisco Election Campaign Fund.

“San Francisco voters first created the City’s voluntary public financing system in 2000 and extended it to Mayoral races beginning in 2006,” Pelham said, adding “the availability of public funding in citywide campaigns allows candidates to spend less time on fundraising and more time engaging voters across the City on issues that are important to their communities.”

Candidates who qualify for the program can receive a limited amount of public funds for their campaigns. The list of candidates certified as eligible to receive public funds for the June 5, 2018 election and their expenditure ceilings will be updated regularly on the Commission’s website as further certifications occur. The list of public funds disbursed to eligible candidates is also on the Commission’s website, and will be regularly updated as disbursements occur.

To qualify for public campaign funding, non-incumbent Mayoral candidates must demonstrate that they have received qualifying contributions ranging from $10 to $100 totaling $50,000 from at least 500 residents of the City. Once the Ethics Commission certifies a candidate’s eligibility, various reporting requirements are triggered for all candidates in that race.

To receive public funding, Mayoral candidates must also agree to a $1,475,000 campaign expenditure ceiling. Non-incumbent candidates may qualify to receive up to $975,000 in public funds for their campaign depending on the amount of matching contributions they raise. Under the law, only contributions up to $500 raised from San Francisco residents within 18 months prior to the election are eligible to be matched. Publicly financed candidates must also be opposed by a candidate who has also qualified for public financing, or by a candidate who has received contributions or made expenditures of a threshold amount established in the law.

Both candidates may seek additional public funds based on the amount of matching contributions raised and documented in claims submitted to the Ethics Commission. After the initial grant for a Mayoral candidate, for each dollar of matching contributions up to the next $425,000 raised, a Mayoral candidate may receive two dollars from the Election Campaign Fund. For each additional dollar of matching contributions raised thereafter, a certified Mayoral candidate may receive public funds on a one-to-one match until reaching the maximum amount for their race.

The Election Campaign Fund is funded through the City’s General Fund with an annual appropriation based on the number of city residents, up to a maximum Fund level of $7 million. All candidates who receive public funds are audited by the Ethics Commission after the election.

More information is available by visiting the Public Financing Program page on the Commission’s website or by contacting the Ethics Commission at ethics.commission@sfgov.org or (415) 252-3100.

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