San Francisco, CA Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance

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San Francisco, CA, US

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Type: Ordinance

Status: Adopted

Source File: http://www.sfgov.org/site/ethics_page.asp?id=14074

Text:

Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance
San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code
Article I, Chapter 1, Sections 1.100, et seq.

SEC. 1.100. PURPOSE AND INTENT.
(a) Huge sums of moneys often are necessary to finance American election campaigns. Inherent to the high cost of election campaigning is the problem of improper influence, real or potential, exercised by campaign contributors over elected officials. In addition, this fundraising distracts public officials seeking reelection from focusing upon important public matters, encourages contributions which may have a corrupting influence, and gives incumbents an unfair fundraising advantage over potential challengers.These developments undermine the integrity of the governmental process, the competitiveness of campaigns and public confidence in local officials.

(b) It is the purpose and intent of the People of the City and County of San Francisco in enacting this Chapter to:

  1. Place realistic and enforceable limits on the amount individuals may contribute to political campaigns in municipal elections and to provide full and fair enforcement of all the provisions in this Chapter;
  2. Ensure that all individuals and interest groups in our city have a fair opportunity to participate in elective and governmental processes;
  3. Create an incentive to limit overall expenditures in campaigns, thereby reducing the pressure on candidates to raise large campaign war chests for defensive purposes beyond the amount necessary to communicate reasonably with voters;
  4. Reduce the advantage of incumbents and thus encourage competition for elective office;
  5. Allow candidates and officeholders to spend a smaller proportion of their time on fundraising and a greater proportion of their time dealing with issues of importance to their constituents' community;
  6. Ensure that serious candidates are able to raise enough money to communicate their views and positions adequately to the public, thereby promoting public discussion of the important issues involved in political campaigns;
  7. Limit contributions to candidates and committees, including committees that make independent expenditures, to eliminate or reduce the appearance or reality that large contributors may exert undue influence over elected officials;
  8. Assist voters in making informed electoral decisions and ensure compliance with campaign contribution limits through the required filing of campaign statements detailing the sources of campaign contributions and how those contributions have been expended;
  9. Make it easier for the public, the media and election officials to efficiently review and compare campaign statements by requiring committees that meet certain financial thresholds to file copies of their campaign statements on computer diskettes or other designated electronic media;
  10. Help restore public trust in governmental and electoral institutions; and
  11. Help ensure the integrity of the election process by prohibiting campaign advertisements that contain knowing false endorsements of current and former public officials, candidates, political clubs, and organizations. Such false endorsements undermine the integrity of the electoral process by misleading and confusing voters about the actual support for or opposition to candidates or ballot measures and it is too burdensome for individual voters, inundated with campaign messages, to verify the accuracy of such claims and for persons whose positions are misrepresented to correct the misrepresentations close in time to the election.

(c) This Chapter is enacted in accordance with the terms of Sections 5 and 7 of Article XI of the Constitution of the State of California and Section 1.101 of the Charter of the City and County of San Francisco.

SEC. 1.102. CITATION.
This Chapter may be cited as the San Francisco Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.

SEC. 1.103. AMENDMENT OR REPEAL OF CHAPTER.
The voters may amend or repeal this Chapter. The Board of Supervisors may amend this Chapter if all of the following conditions are met:

(a) The amendment furthers the purposes of this Chapter;

(b) The Ethics Commission approves the proposed amendment in advance by at least a four-fifths vote of all its members;

(c) The proposed amendment is available for public review at least 30 days before the amendment is considered by the Board of Supervisors or any committee of the Board of Supervisors; and

(d) The Board of Supervisors approves the proposed amendment by at least a two-thirds vote of all its members.

SEC. 1.104. DEFINITIONS.
Whenever in this Chapter the following words or phrases are used, they shall mean: (a) "Candidate" shall mean any individual listed on the ballot for election to any City elective office or who otherwise has taken affirmative action to seek nomination or election to such office. The term "candidate" shall also mean the candidate's campaign committee.

(b) "Charitable organization" shall mean an entity exempt from taxation pursuant to Title 26, Section 501 of the United State Code.

(c) "City elective office" shall mean the offices of Mayor, Member of the Board of Supervisors, City Attorney, District Attorney, Treasurer, Sheriff, Assessor, Public Defender, Member of the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District and Member of the Governing Board of the San Francisco Community College District. The Board of Supervisors shall be deemed to consist of eleven separate City elective offices, the San Francisco Community College District shall be deemed to consist of seven separate City elective offices, and the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District shall be deemed to consist of seven separate City elective offices.

(d) "Committee" shall be defined as set forth in the Government Code of the State of California (commencing at Section 81000).

(e) "Contribution" shall be defined as set forth in Government Code of the State of California (commencing at Section 81000); provided, however, that "contribution" shall include loans of any kind or nature.

(f) "Election" shall mean any primary, general, or special municipal election held in the City and County of San Francisco for City elective office, regardless of whether the election is conducted by district or Citywide.

(g) "Enforcement authority" shall mean the District Attorney of the City and County of San Francisco for criminal enforcement, the City Attorney for civil enforcement, and the Ethics Commission for administrative enforcement. Nothing in this Chapter shall be construed as limiting the authority of any law enforcement agency or prosecuting attorney to enforce the provisions of this Chapter under any circumstances where such law enforcement agency or prosecuting attorney otherwise has lawful authority to do so.

(h) "Ethics Commission" shall mean the San Francisco Ethics Commission.

(i) "Executive Director" shall mean the Executive Director of the Ethics Commission, or the Executive Director's designee.

(j) "Individual Expenditure Ceiling" shall mean the expenditure ceiling established for each individual candidate for Mayor who has been certified by the Ethics Commission as eligible to receive public funds under this Chapter.

(k) "Matching contribution" shall mean a contribution up to $500.00, that is made by an individual, other than the candidate, who is a resident of San Francisco. Matching contributions shall not include loans, contributions that are received more than 18 months before the date of the election, contributions made by the candidate's immediate family or qualifying contributions, and must comply with all requirements of this Chapter. Matching contributions under $100.00 that are not made by written instrument must be accompanied by written documentation of the contributor's name and address.

(l) "Measure" shall mean any City, San Francisco Unified School District or San Francisco Community College District referendum, recall or ballot proposition, whether or not it qualifies for the ballot.

(m) "Person" shall mean any individual, partnership, corporation, association, firm, committee, club or other organization or group of persons, however organized.

(n) "Qualified campaign expenditure" for candidates includes all of the following:

  1. Any expenditure made by a candidate, or by a committee controlled by the candidate, for the purpose of influencing or attempting to influence the actions of the voters for the election of the candidate to City elective office.
  2. A nonmonetary contribution provided to the candidate, officeholder or committee controlled by the candidate.
  3. The total cost actually paid or incurred by the candidate or controlled committee of the candidate for a slate mailing or other campaign literature produced or authorized by more than one candidate.
  4. Expenses incurred, but for which payment has not yet been made.
  5. Expenses associated with complying with applicable laws, including but not limited to the California Political Reform Act, Government Code Section 81000, et seq., and the provisions of this Chapter.
  6. "Qualified campaign expenditure" shall not include filing fees, expenses incurred in connection with an administrative or judicial proceeding, payments for administrative, civil or criminal fines, including late filing fines, costs incurred after the election that do not directly affect the outcome of the election, including but not limited to utility bills, expenses associated with an audit, and expenses related to preparing post-election campaign finance disclosure reports as required by the California Political Reform Act, Government Code Section 81000, et seq., and the provisions of this Chapter, or for inaugural activities or officeholder expenses.

(o) "Qualifying contribution" shall mean a contribution of not less than $10.00 and not more than $100.00 that is made by an individual who is a resident of San Francisco and that complies with all requirements of this Chapter. Qualifying contributions shall not include loans, contributions that are received more than 18 months before the date of the election or contributions made by the candidate or the candidate's immediate family. Qualifying contributions under $100.00 that are not made by written instrumentmust be accompanied by written documentation of the contributor's name and address.

(p) "Recorded telephone message" shall mean a recorded audio message that expressly supports or opposes a candidate for City elective office that is distributed by telephone.

(q) "Surplus funds" shall mean funds remaining in a candidate's campaign account at the time the candidate leaves City elective office, or at the end of the post-election reporting period following the defeat of the candidate for City elective office, whichever occurs last, and funds remaining in the campaign account of a committee primarily formed to support or oppose a measure at the end of the post-election reporting period following the election at which the measure appeared on the ballot.

(r) "Total Opposition Spending" shall mean the sum of any expenditures made or expenses incurred by any person or persons for the purpose of making independent expenditures, electioneering communications or member communications in opposition to a specific candidate for Mayor.

(s) "Total Supportive Funds" shall mean the sum of all contributions received by a candidate for Mayor other than any funds in the candidate's Campaign Contingency Account, plus the expenditures made or expenses incurred by any person or persons for the purpose of making independent expenditures, electioneering communications or member communications in support of that same candidate.

(t) "Trust Account Limit," shall mean the amount of funds in the Campaign Contribution Trust Account of a candidate for Mayor who has been certified by the Ethics Commission as eligible to receive public funds under this Chapter such that the expenditure of this amount would cause the candidate to reach, but not exceed, the candidate's Individual Expenditure Ceiling. The Trust Account Limit shall be reduced as the candidate spends money and shall be increased when his or her Individual Expenditure Ceiling increases.

(u) "Voter" means an individual registered to vote in San Francisco.

(v) "Written instrument" means a check, credit card receipt, or record of electronic transfer of funds.

SEC. 1.106. ADOPTION OF GENERAL LAW--EXCEPTIONS.
Except as otherwise provided in, or inconsistent with, this Chapter or other provisions of local law, the provisions of the Government Code of the State of California (commencing at Section 81000), relating to local elections including any subsequent amendments, are hereby incorporated as part of this Chapter.

SEC. 1.107. TRAINING FOR TREASURERS.
(a) Training Requirements.

  1. Candidates. Every candidate for City elective office and their treasurers shall attend a training program conducted or sponsored by the Ethics Commission prior to each election at which the candidate's name will appear on the ballot.
  2. Treasurers. Every committee treasurer shall attend the next training program conducted or sponsored by the Ethics Commission after the date the committee files either its original statement of organization or an amendment to a statement of organization designating a new treasurer.

(b) Exception. An individual who serves as the treasurer for more than one committee is not required to attend a training required by subsection (a) if that individual has attended such a training within the previous 12 months.

(c) Definition. For the purposes of this section, "committee" shall mean any committee that: (1) qualifies as committee pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 82013 of the California Government Code as incorporated into this Chapter by Section 1.104; and (2) is required to file its semi-annual campaign statements with the Ethics Commission.

SEC. 1.108. CANDIDATE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION TRUST ACCOUNTS AND CAMPAIGN CONTINGENCY ACCOUNTS.
(a) CANDIDATE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION TRUST ACCOUNTS.

  1. Establishment of Account. Each treasurer for a candidate shall establish a Campaign Contribution Trust Account for the candidate at an office of a bank located in the City and County of San Francisco, the account number and branch identification of which shall be filed with the Ethics Commission within ten days of the establishment of the account. All of the expenditures by the candidate for the City elective office sought shall be made from that account.
  2. Prohibition on Multiple Accounts. All funds, services or in-kind contributions received by a City elective officer, or by any person or committee on behalf of a City elective officer, for expenses incurred directly in connection with carrying out the usual and necessary duties of holding office shall be deposited, credited or otherwise reported to the officer's campaign contribution trust account and shall be subject to the contribution limits in Section 1.114 of this Chapter. Nothing in this Section shallprohibit an officer from spending personal funds on official or related business activities.
  3. Account Limits. A candidate for Mayor who has been certified by the Ethics Commission as eligible to receive public funds under this Chapter shall not, at any time, have an amount of funds greater than the candidate's Trust Account Limit in his or her Campaign Contribution Trust Account.

(b) CAMPAIGN CONTINGENCY ACCOUNTS FOR CANDIDATES FOR MAYOR.

  1. Notwithstanding any other section of this Code, including subsection (a)(2)a. candidate for Mayor who has been certified by the Ethics Commission as eligible to receive public funds under this Chapter may maintain a Campaign Contingency Account separate from his or her Campaign Contribution Trust Account into which he or she may deposit money contributions in anticipation of the candidate's Individual Expenditure Ceiling being raised. All money contributions deposited into this account shall be reported asif it were deposited into the candidate's Campaign Contribution Trust Account.
  2. No expenditures shall be made from a Campaign Contingency Account established pursuant to this section. Funds may be transferred between a candidate's Campaign Contingency Account and the candidate's Campaign Contribution Trust Account, provided that the amount of funds in the candidate's Campaign Contribution Trust Account does not exceed the candidate's Trust Account Limit. All funds that qualify as matching contributions and are transferred from the Campaign Contingency Account to the Campaign Contribution Trust Account shall be eligible to be matched with public funds in accordance with the procedures set forth in this Chapter. Within ten days after the date of the election, the candidate shall turn over all funds in the Campaign Contingency Account to the Mayoral Election Campaign Fund.

SEC. 1.110. CAMPAIGN STATEMENTS--PUBLIC ACCESS.
(a) INSPECTION AND COPYMAKING. Campaign statements are to be open for public inspection and reproduction at the Office of the Ethics Commission during regular business hours and such additional hours as the Ethics Commission determines appropriate. The Commission shall provide public notice of the hours that the office is open for inspection and reproduction.

(b) RETENTION. Every campaign statement required to be filed in accordance with Section 1.106 shall be preserved by the Ethics Commission for the period required under Section 81009 of the California Government Code and any subsequent amendments thereto, or such additional periods as the Ethics Commission determines appropriate, provided that the period of retention is not less than eight years from the date the statement was required to be filed.

SEC. 1.112. ELECTRONIC CAMPAIGN DISCLOSURE.
(a) FILING ELECTRONIC CAMPAIGN STATEMENTS.

  1. Filing Electronic Copies of Campaign Statements. Whenever any committee that meets the requirements of Subsection (b) of this Section is required by this Chapter or the California Political Reform Act (Government Code Section 81000 et seq.) to a campaign disclosure statement or report with the Ethics Commission, the committee shall file at the same time a copy of the statement or report in an electronic format with the Ethics Commission, provided the Ethics Commission has prescribed the format at least 60 days before the statement or report is due to be filed.
  2. Continuous Filing of Electronic Statements. Once a Committee is subject to the electronic filing requirements imposed by this Section, the Committee shall remain subject to the electronic filing requirements, regardless of the amount of contributions received or expenditures made during each reporting period, until the Committee files a termination statement pursuant to this Chapter and the California Political Reform Act (Government Code Section 81000 et seq.).
  3. Disclosure of Expenditure Dates. All electronic statements filed under this Section shall include the date any expenditure required to be reported on the statement was incurred, provided that the Commission's forms accommodate the reporting of such dates.

(b) COMMITTEES SUBJECT TO ELECTRONIC FILING REQUIREMENTS. A Committee is subject to this Section if the Committee is: (1) required to file a statement of organization under this Chapter and the California Political Reform Act (Government Code Sections 81000 et seq.); and (2) is controlled by a candidate, or is formed or exists primarily to support or oppose a candidate, or is formed or exists primarily to support or oppose a ballot measure which is being voted on only in the City and County, or is a general purpose Committee active only in the City and County; and (3) receives contributions, or makes independent expenditures, totaling $5,000.00 or more in a calendar year.

SEC. 1.113. DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS DURING SIGNATURE GATHERING PERIODS FOR INITIATIVES, REFERENDA AND RECALLS.
(a) In order to ensure that any person interested in the finances of any committee that is raising or spending funds to support or oppose a measure. Such committees shall file their financial disclosure documents on dates that are within the time period in which signatures are gathered.

(b) For initiatives and recalls, campaign disclosure statements shall be filed on the 15th day of the signature gathering period covering days 1--10, on the 30th day covering days 11--25, and every 30 days thereafter for the 30-day period ending five days earlier through the end of the signature-gathering period.

(c) For referenda, which have a 30-day signature gathering period, campaign disclosure statements shall be filed on the 10th day of the period covering days 1--5, on the 25th day of the period covering days 6--20, and by the 60th day after the end of the period covering days 21--30.

(d) Otherwise, campaign statements shall be completed and filed as specified in this Chapter and state law.

SEC. 1.114. CONTRIBUTION LIMITS.
(a) LIMITS ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANDIDATES.

  1. Per Candidate Limit. No person other than a candidate shall make, and no candidate campaign treasurer shall solicit or accept, any contribution which will cause the total amount contributed by such person to such candidate in an election to exceed $500.00.
  2. Overall Limit. No person shall make any contribution which will cause the total amount contributed by such person to all candidates in an election to exceed $500.00 multiplied by the number of City elective offices to be voted on at that election.

(b) LIMITS ON CONTRIBUTIONS FROM CORPORATIONS. No corporation organized pursuant to the laws of the State of California, the United States, or any other state, territory, or foreign country, whether for profit or not, shall make a contribution to a candidate for City elective office, provided that nothing in this subsection shall prohibit such a corporation from establishing, administering, and soliciting contributions to a separate segregated fund to be utilized for political purposes by the corporation, provided that the separate segregated fund complies with the requirements of federal law including sections 432(e) and 441b of Title 2 of the United States Code, including any subsequent amendments to those sections.

(c) LIMITS ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO COMMITTEES.

  1. Per Committee Limit. No person shall make, and no committee treasurer shall solicit or accept, any contribution which will cause the total amount contributed by such person to the committee to exceed $500.00 per calendar year.
  2. Overall Limit. No person shall make, and no committee treasurer shall solicit or accept, any contribution which will cause the total amount contributed by such person to all committees to exceed $3,000.00 per calendar year.
  3. Definitions. For purposes of this Subsection, "committee" shall mean any committee making expenditures to support or oppose a candidate, but shall not include candidates' campaign committees.

(d) AGGREGATION OF AFFILIATED ENTITY CONTRIBUTIONS.

  1. General rule. For purposes of the contribution limits imposed by this Section and Section 1.120 the contributions of an entity whose contributions are directed and controlled by any individual shall be aggregated with contributions made by that individual and any other entity whose contributions are directed and controlled by the same individual.
  2. Multiple Entity Contributions Controlled by the Same Persons. If two or more entities make contributions that are directed and controlled by a majority of the same persons, the contributions of those entities shall be aggregated.
  3. Majority-Owned Entities. Contributions made by entities that are majority-owned by any person shall be aggregated with the contributions of the majority owner and all other entities majority-owned by that person, unless those entities act independently in their decisions to make contributions.
  4. Definition. For purposes of this Section, the term "entity" means any person other than an individual and "majority-owned" means a direct or indirect ownership of more than 50 percent.
  5. Effective Date. This Subsection shall take effect January 1, 2004.

(e) CONTRIBUTOR INFORMATION REQUIRED. If the cumulative amount of contributions received from a contributor is $100.00 or more, the committee shall not deposit any contribution that causes the total amount contributed by a person to equal or exceed $100.00 unless the committee has the following information: the contributor's full name; the contributor's street address; the contributor's occupation; and the name of the contributor's employer or, if the contributor is self-employed, the name of the contributor'sbusiness. A committee will be deemed not to have had the required contributor information at the time the contribution was deposited if the required contributor information is not reported on the first campaign statement on which the contribution is required to be reported.

(f) FORFEITURE OF UNLAWFUL CONTRIBUTIONS. In addition to any other penalty, each committee that receives a contribution which exceeds the limits imposed by this Section or which does not comply with the requirements of this Section shall pay promptly the amount received or deposited in excess of the amount permitted by this Section to the City and County of San Francisco and deliver the payment to the Ethics Commission for deposit in the General Fund of the City and County; provided that the Commission may provide for the waiver or reduction of the forfeiture.

(g) RETURN OF CONTRIBUTIONS. A contribution to a candidate or committee making expenditures to support or oppose a candidate shall not be considered to be received if it is not cashed, negotiated, or deposited and in addition it is returned to the donor before the closing date of the campaign statement on which the contribution would otherwise be reported, except that a contribution to a candidate or committee making expenditures to support or oppose a candidate made before an election at which the candidate isto be voted on but after the closing date of the last campaign statement required to be filed before the election shall not be considered to be deemed received if it is not cashed, negotiated or deposited and is returned to the contributor within 48 hours of receipt. For all committees not addressed by this section, the determination of when contributions are considered to be received shall be made in accordance with Government Code Section 81000, et seq.

SEC. 1.115. COORDINATION OF EXPENDITURES.
(a) General. An expenditure is not considered independent and shall be treated as a contribution from the person making the expenditure to the candidate on whose behalf, or for whose benefit the expenditure is made, if the expenditure funds a communication that expressly advocate the nomination, election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate and is made under the following circumstance:

  1. The expenditure is made at the request, suggestion, or direction of, or in cooperation, consultation, concert or coordination with, the candidate on whose behalf, or for whose benefit, the expenditure is made; or
  2. The communication funded by the expenditure is created, produced or disseminated:
(A) After the candidate has made or participated in making any decision regarding the content, timing, location, mode, intended audience, volume of distribution, or frequency of placement of the communication; or
(B) After discussion between the creator, producer or distributor of a communication, or the person paying for that communication, and the candidate or committee regarding the content, timing, location, mode, intended audience, volume of distribution or frequency of placement of that communication, the result of which is agreement on any of these topics.

(b) Rebuttable presumption of coordination. In addition to subsection (a) of this section, there shall be a presumption that an expenditure funding a communication that expressly advocates the nomination, election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate is not independent of the candidate on whose behalf or for whose benefit the expenditure is made, when:

  1. It is based on information about the candidate or committee's campaign needs or plans provided to the spender by the candidate;
  2. It is made by or through any agent of the candidate in the course of the agent's involvement in the current campaign;
  3. The spender retains the services of a person, including a campaign consultant, who provides, or has provided, the candidate with professional services related to campaign or fundrasing strategy for that same election;
  4. The communication replicates, reproduces, republishes or disseminates, in whole or in substantial part, a communication designed, produced, paid for or distributed by the candidate; or
  5. In the same election that the expenditure is made, the spender or spender's agent is serving or served in an executive or policymaking role for the candidate's campaign or participated in strategy or policy making discussions with the candidate's campaign relating to the candidate's pursuit of election to office and the candidate is pursuing the same office as a candidate whose nomination or election the expenditure is intended to influence.

(c) Exceptions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, an expenditure shall not be considered a contribution to a candidate merely because:

  1. The spender interviews a candidate on issues affecting the spender;
  2. The spender has obtained a photograph, biography, position paper, press release, or similar material from the candidate;
  3. The spender has previously made a contribution to the candidate;
  4. The spender makes an expenditure in response to a general, non-specific request for support by a candidate, provided that there is no discussion with the candidate prior to the expenditure relating to details of the expenditures;
  5. The spender has invited the candidate or committee to make an appearance before the spender's members, employees, shareholders, or the families thereof, provided that there is no discussion with the candidate prior to the expenditure relating to details of the expenditure;
  6. The spender informs a candidate that the spender has made an expenditure provided that there is no other exchange of information not otherwise available to the public, relating to the details of the expenditure; or
  7. The expenditure is made at the request or suggestion of the candidate for the benefit of another candidate or committee.

(d) Definition. For purposes of this section, the terms "candidate" includes an agent of the candidate when the agent is acting within the course and scope of the agency.

(As this is a very long and detailed ordinance, please refer to the source file for the remainder of the text.)

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