The City of Sacramento has adopted local campaign finance regulations, which apply to all candidate committees in some form or another. These regulations provide for public campaign financing (also referred to as matching funds), restrict spending and place limits on contributions.
Due to budget constraints, the Campaign Reform Fund was not funded for 2012. Therefore, public financing is not available. However, provisions presented below regarding contribution limits remain in effect.
The following outlines what a candidate needs to know in order to comply with the City’s regulations. Several of the regulations apply to all candidates whether or not the candidate accepts public funding. Campaign finance regulations are very complicated. This information is strictly an outline to help candidates gain a general understanding of the provisions. For the full regulation, candidates should refer to City Code Chapters 2.13 (Campaign Contribution Limits) and 2.14 (Campaign Spending Limits & Public Campaign Financing).
Candidates are highly encouraged to thoroughly read the City Code Sections to ensure compliance with all provisions. To see quick reference worksheets on campaign financing issues, click on the "Snap Shot" notations below.
WHAT A CANDIDATE NEEDS TO KNOW
Eligible contributions are:
Yes, there is a limit. The maximum amount available to a candidate is $35,200 (Council Member) or $117,000 (Mayor) in qualifying contributions per election period. Qualifying contributions are matched at a ratio of $1.00 for each dollar received.
Notices shall be made by mailgram, telegram, guaranteed overnight mail, or personal delivery within 24 hours of reaching the contribution, cash on hand, or expenditure thresholds. Forms are available from the Office of the City Clerk.
These notices are required for two important reasons:
Yes, there are special instructions.
In any campaign, an accurate and organized record must be kept of all contributions and expenditures. All individuals who handle campaign receipts and expenditures must follow the record keeping procedures required by the Political Reform Act and the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
In addition, City Code requires candidates requesting matching funds to provide a greater level of contributor detail for amounts received under $100. The City will not match funds for contributions where the candidate did not keep accurate and detailed records. To maximize the number of contributions eligible for matching funds, candidates are encouraged to keep detailed records of all contributions.
Also provided in City Code is the requirement that candidates aggregate (add together) contributions from related entities. The tracking of related entities is important as it may affect whether or not a contribution is considered eligible for matching funds. For a definition of “related entities” and a description on the requirement to aggregate these types of contributions, refer to the City Code 2.13.060.
For more information on the record keeping procedures required by the Political Reform Act, refer to FPPC’s publication “Campaign Disclosure Manual 2 – Information for Local Candidates". Candidates should also read the City Code 2.14.280 provisions pertaining to Duties of Treasurers and Candidates.
After qualifying, a candidate must complete and submit the following:
After the initial request, a candidate or candidate’s controlled committee may submit another request for matching funds each time a threshold of $7,500 (Council Member) or $10,000 (Mayor) in qualifying contributions is reached.
A candidate may also submit a request for matching funds of $1,000 or more during the ten (10) calendar days preceding the election.
After the date of the election, the candidate may submit one (1) final request for payment. Such request shall be submitted within two (2) days after the last day of the election period.
For all requests, the information contained in the request form shall cover qualifying contributions current through two (2) calendar days before filing the form.
The City’s Finance Department has ten (10) working days to approve or reject a request for payment of matching funds. When approved, the City will disburse the funds to the candidate or the candidate’s controlled committee. Submission of clear and organized support documentation will assist with the timely processing of the request.
The requirements are the same, except that only those contributions received and deposited into the candidate’s official campaign account from July 1 through December 31 of the election year are eligible.
Yes, City Code limits the amount a candidate may accept, from a single source during an election period. This limit also applies to committees that give funds to candidates and to committees that make independent expenditures for or against candidates. The limits are:
The City’s contribution limits restrict the amount that a candidate may accept from a contributor in a given election period. For a regular election for city elective office, there are two election periods (primary and general). If no candidate obtains a majority of the votes cast (50% plus one) in the primary, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will advance to a general election (also know as a run-off). If there is no run-off election, there is no “general” period.
If a candidate receives the maximum contribution from a single source during the primary election period, and that candidate is involved in a run off, the candidate may again accept the full limit from that source in the general election period. This applies only if there is a general election and only for those candidates involved in that election. It does not apply if a candidate wins a majority of votes cast in the primary election, or is unsuccessful.
The periods for contributions are as follows:
Off-election years are those calendar years, or portions of calendar years, before and after an election year where there is an overall “cap” or “limit” on the total amount of contributions that can be gathered in a single year. The individual limitations still apply in an off-election year, with the additional requirement that the total received per year is capped.
During an off-election year the total amount of contributions that may be accepted by candidates in a calendar year are limited to $26,650 (Council Member) or $53,300 (Mayor).
To understand when an off-election year begins and ends, it is important to first understand the period of time that is an “election year”. An election year is: 1) the year of the election; and 2) the last six months of the year preceding the election.
An off-election year is: 1) the first six months of the year preceding the election; and 2) the six months after the primary election in which a candidate prevails. Each of the two years following the election is an off-election year.
If a general (run-off) election is held, the off-election year is delayed until January 1 of the following year. This applies only to those candidates involved in the general election.
Often, candidates gather contributions both before and after the time frames established as an election period. The requirements for attributing contributions in an off-election year are:
Contributions received by an incumbent officeholder in an off-election year shall be attributed to the election period in which the candidate won office, unless the contributions are deposited into a new campaign account for a future election to the same or different office.
Contributions received by a non-incumbent candidate in an off-election year shall be attributed to the primary, general or special election period for the elective office in which the candidate is seeking, unless the contributions are deposited into an account established for a prior election or an election to a different office.
Other Things to Know
There are several other important local and state regulations that the candidate must be aware of. Those regulations are:
Use of Matching Funds - Matching public funds may only be used for expenditures for direct voter outreach purposes. This is defined to mean campaign literature, publicity, postage and signage. Matching public funds may not be spent for the following:
Surplus Funds for Candidates Receiving Matching Funds - Candidates who receive matching funds, and have surplus funds remaining in his/her campaign account, after all obligations are met, shall return such surplus funds to the City. This amount shall not exceed the amount paid to the candidate from the Campaign Reform Fund.
Audit - Each candidate who receives matching funds shall be subject to audit. Such candidate shall provide the City with all financial records, documents and any other information or materials requested.
Large Political Committees– Committees that qualify as a Large Political Committee (LPC) may not give contributions to candidates over $5,350 (Council Member) or $10,650 (Mayor) until the committee has qualified as a LPC with the City Clerk’s Office. For more information refer to the City Clerk's web page on Large Political Committees.
Missing Contributor Information– The Political Reform Act requires that a contribution of $100 or more be returned within 60 days of receipt if the candidate or committee has not obtained the contributor’s name and address, and in the case of an individual contributor, his or her occupation and employer. For more information on the record keeping procedures refer to page 2-11 of the “Campaign Disclosure Manual 2 – Information for Local Candidates.”
Written Solicitations by Candidates - City Code Section2.13.065 provides that any Council candidate or controlled committee of a candidate making a written solicitation for a contribution to the candidate’s campaign for City elective office shall include the following written notice in no less than ten-point type on each solicitation.
Notice – Council Member
Chapter 2.13 of the Sacramento City Code limits the amounts that a contributor may give to a candidate for a City Council position for a primary, general or special election. Generally, a contributor other than a large political committee may not give more than $1,600 to a candidate for a City Council position for a primary, general or special election, while a large political committee may not give more than $5,350 to a candidate for City Council for a primary, general or special election. Chapter 2.13 contains certain other rules that may affect the amounts that an individual contributor may give. Please read Chapter 2.13 before making a contribution to my campaign.
Notice – Mayor
Chapter 2.13 of the Sacramento City Code limits the amounts that a contributor may give to a candidate for a City Council position for a primary, general or special election. Generally, a contributor other than a large political committee may not give more than $3,200 to a candidate for Mayor for a primary, general or special election, while a large political committee may not give more than $10,650 to a candidate for Mayor for a primary, general or special election. Chapter 2.13 contains certain other rules that may affect the amounts that an individual contributor may give. Please read Chapter 2.13 before making a contribution to my campaign.
Transfer of Funds– A city elective candidate may transfer funds from any other committee controlled by the candidate to the committee established for that city elective office, if all of the following provisions are met:
NEED ASSISTANCE OR HAVE QUESTIONS?
We are happy to assist you. Please contact us via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at (916) 808-7200.
© City of Sacramento ~ 915 I Street, Sacramento, California 95814 ~ Outside the City Call 916-264-5011