Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Annotated Prop C. Regulations

Adopted by the San Francisco Ethics Commission at its February 29, 2016 Special Meeting

Regulation 2.105-5. Expenditure Lobbyist Definition.

Note:  Section 2.105 of the Ordinance defines activities that count toward qualification as an Expenditure Lobbyist, and the level of those activities that trigger the requirement to register and file monthly reports.  This regulation clarifies what counts, and how and when those activities are to be counted.  

(a) A person “makes payments” for an activity to solicit, request, or urge other persons to communicate directly with an officer of the City and County in order to influence a matter of local legislative or administrative action, at the time the activity takes place.
(b)  For the purposes of qualifying as an Expenditure Lobbyist, a person must make payments totaling $2,500 or more in a calendar month for activities to solicit, request, or urge other persons to communicate directly with officers of the City and County in order to influence local legislative or administrative action.
(i)  Any payment made for these activities will count towards the $2,500 threshold if within 6 months of the payment, the services or work product paid for are cited, incorporated, or quoted in any communication urging other persons to lobby officers of the City and County on local legislative or administrative action.
(c)  Charitable organizations that act as a fiscal sponsor to other charitable projects are not required to register as an expenditure lobbyist for the activities of those projects that it sponsors.  Nothing in this regulation prevents a nonprofit organization that acts as a fiscal sponsor for charitable projects from qualifying as an expenditure lobbyist through its own activities.
(d)  Salary paid by an employer to an employee for activities to solicit, request, or urge other persons to communicate directly with an officer of the City and County in order to influence a matter of local legislative or administrative action shall not constitute a payment toward the $2,500 qualifying threshold
(e) No payments made by any person prior to the February 1, 2016 implementation date of the Proposition C amendments approved on November 3, 2015 shall count toward the qualifying threshold or for reporting purposes.

Regulation 2.105-6. Payments for Communications with Members.

Note:  Section 2.105 of the Ordinance provides that certain types of payments shall not be considered for determining whether a person qualifies as an Expenditure Lobbyist, including “payments made by an organization to distribute communications to its members.”  This regulation further defines the term “member.”

“Member” means an employee or shareholder of an organization, a person who pays dues or fees to an organization or any other person who affirmatively requests to regularly receive an organization’s communications.

Regulation 2.110-10. Registration and Reporting.

Note:  Section 2.110(a) of the Ordinance provides that persons who qualify as an Expenditure Lobbyist “shall register prior to making any additional payments to influence local legislative or administrative action.”  The Ordinance further sets out under Section 2.110 (b)(2) and (c)(2) the registration and reporting process for Expenditure Lobbyists.  This regulation provides further guidance about the registration and reporting process.  

(a)  For registration, Expenditure Lobbyists shall use SFEC Form 2110A.
(b)  For monthly reports, Expenditure Lobbyists shall use SFEC Form 2110B.
(i)   As used in Sec 2.110(c)(2)(B) and (C) payments are “made” on the date the activity to solicit, request or urge other persons to communicate directly with officers of the City and County in order to influence local legislative or administrative action occurs.
(ii)  For purposes of disclosing campaign contributions, reportable contributions include contributions that would be required to be disclosed under SFEC Regulation 2.110-4.
(iii) Salary paid to an employee of an Expenditure Lobbyist shall not constitute a payment for the purpose of reporting.
(c)  Registered Expenditure Lobbyists must continue to file monthly reports until they cease all expenditure lobbying activity and affirmatively terminate their registration.

Regulation 2.110-11. Fees.

Note:  Section 2.110 (e)(3) of the Ordinance provides that the Ethics Commission “shall waive all registration fees for any full-time employee of a tax-exempt organization presenting proof of the organization’s tax-exempt status under 26 U.S.C. Section 501(c)3 or 501(c)(4).”  This regulation clarifies that a similar fee waiver applies in limited circumstances to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

The Ethics Commission shall waive the $500 registration fee and the $500 annual re-registration fee for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that file or reasonably intend to file an IRS Form 990-EZ or IRS Form 990-N or otherwise demonstrate that their annual budget is $500,000 or less.

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