Sunlight On Dark Money Initiative Text

THE SUNLIGHT ON DARK MONEY INITIATIVE

NOTE: Unchanged Code text and uncodified text are in plain font. Additions to Codes are in single-underline italics font. Deletions to Codes are in strikethrough italics font. Asterisks (* * * *) indicate the omission of unchanged Code subsections or parts of tables.

Be it ordained by the People of the City and County of San Francisco:

 

SECTION 1.                        Title

This Initiative shall be known and may be cited as the “Sunlight On Dark Money Initiative.”

 

SECTION 2.                        Findings and Declarations     

The People of the City and County of San Francisco declare their findings and purposes in enacting this Initiative to be as follows:

(a) The San Francisco Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (“CFRO”) was enacted in order to enhance the integrity of the election process and help restore public trust in governmental and electoral institutions in the City and County of San Francisco. CFRO’s specific purposes include assisting voters in making informed electoral decisions through increased disclosure, limiting contributions to candidates and committees to eliminate or reduce the appearance or reality that campaign contributions may lead to corruption or undue influence over elected officials, and enforcement to ensure compliance with the law.

(b) In recent years, exacerbated by the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. FEC (2010), corporations, lobbyists, and other wealthy interests have exploited loopholes in current law to evade the reasonable contribution limits enacted by voters while hiding disclosure of their donations from voters.

(c) In 2015, the Board of Supervisors approved Ordinance No. 102-15 repealing certain disclosure requirements for independent expenditure committees, also known as “Super PACs,” which has resulted in diminished information available for San Francisco voters to make informed choices.

(d) In April 2018, the Board of Supervisors by a 6-5 vote rejected a proposal to limit “pay to play” corruption or the appearance of “pay to play” corruption in land use decisions by prohibiting campaign contributions by persons with land use matters before a decision-making body while those decisions are pending until 12 months after those decisions are made or resolved.

(e) The corrosion of the integrity of San Francisco’s elections caused by the evasion of campaign contribution limits, lack of “pay to play” safeguards, and inadequate disclosure requirements is an urgent problem that requires action by the people of San Francisco through the initiative process.

 

SECTION 3.   The San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, Article I, Chapter 1, is hereby amended by revising Section 1.114 to read as follows:

SEC. 1.114.  CONTRIBUTIONS – LIMITS AND PROHIBITIONS.

(a)   LIMITS ON CONTRIBUTIONS TO CANDIDATES. No person other than a candidate shall make, and no campaign treasurer for a candidate committee, candidate-controlled committee, or committee controlled by a City elective officer shall solicit or accept, any contribution which will cause the total amount contributed by such person to such candidate committee, candidate-controlled committee, or committee controlled by a City elective officer in an election to exceed $500.   

(b)   PROHIBITION ON CONTRIBUTIONS FROM CORPORATIONS. No corporation, limited liability corporation, or limited liability partnership 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 committee, candidate-controlled committee, or committee controlled by a City elective officer, provided that nothing in this subsection (b) 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 and any subsequent amendments to those Sections. No candidate committee, candidate-controlled committee, or committee controlled by a City elective officer shall solicit or accept a contribution from a general purpose committee which receives a contribution from a corporation, limited liability corporation, or limited liability partnership. No candidate committee, candidate-controlled committee, or committee controlled by a City elective officer shall solicit or accept any contribution prohibited by this subsection (b).

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SECTION 4.            The San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, Article I, Chapter 1, is hereby amended by adding Section 1.127 to read as follows:

SEC. 1.127.  CONTRIBUTION LIMITS – PERSONS WITH LAND USE MATTERS BEFORE A DECISION-MAKING BODY.

(a) For purposes of this Section 1.127, the following phrases shall mean:

“Affiliated entities” means business entities directed and controlled by a majority of the same persons, or majority-owned by the same person.

“Financial interest” shall mean (a) an ownership interest of at least 10% or $1,000,000 in the project or property that is the subject of the land use matter; (b) holding the position of director of principal officer, including President, vice-President, Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Executive Director, Deputy Director, or member of the Board of Directors, in an entity with at least 10% ownership interest in that project or property; or (c) being the developer of that project or property.

“Land use matter” shall mean (a) any request to a City elective officer for a Planning Code or Zoning Map amendment, or (b) any application for an entitlement that requires a discretionary determination at a public hearing before a board or commission under the San Francisco Building Code, the Planning Code, or the California Environmental Quality Act (California Public Resources Code Section 21000 et seq). “Land use matter” shall not include discretionary review hearings before the Planning Commission.

“Prohibited contribution” is a contribution to (1) a member of the Board of Supervisors, (2) a candidate for member of the Board of Supervisors, (3) the Mayor, (4) a candidate for Mayor, (5) the City Attorney, (6) a candidate for City Attorney, or (7) a controlled committee of a member of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor, the City Attorney, or a candidate for any of these offices or (8), a committee which is primarily formed to support or oppose a specific candidate or candidates for any of these offices.

(b) Prohibition on Pay-To-Play Contributions. No person, or the person’s affiliated entities, with a financial interest in a land use matter before the Board of Appeals, Board of Supervisors, Building Inspection Commission, Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure, Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission, Port Commission, or the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors shall make any prohibited contribution at any time from a request or application regarding a land use matter until 12 months have elapsed from the date that the board or commission renders a final decision or ruling or any appeals from that decision or ruling have been finally resolved.

(c) Prohibition on Soliciting or Accepting Pay-to-Play Contributions. No member of the Board of Supervisors, candidate for member of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor, candidate for Mayor, the City Attorney, candidate for City Attorney, or controlled committees of such officers and candidates shall:

                  (1) accept any contribution prohibited by subsection (b); or

                  (2) solicit any contribution prohibited by subsection (b) from a person who the individual knows or has reason to know has a financial interest in a land use matter.

(d) Exception for primary residence. The prohibitions set forth in subsections (b) and (c) shall not apply if the land use matter concerns only the person’s primary residence.

(e) Forfeiture of Prohibited Contributions. In addition to any other penalty, each member of the Board of Supervisors, candidate for member of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor, candidate for Mayor, the City Attorney, candidate for City Attorney, or controlled committees of such officers and candidates, who solicits or accepts any contribution prohibited by subsection (b) shall pay promptly the amount received or deposited to the City and County of San Francisco by delivering 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.

(f) Notification of Prospective Parties to Land Use Matters. The agency responsible for the initial review of any land use matter shall inform any person with a financial interest in a land use matter before the Board of Appeals, Board of Supervisors, Building Inspection Commission, Commission on Community Investment and Infrastructure, Historic Preservation Commission, Planning Commission, Port Commission, or the Treasure Island Development Authority Board of Directors, of the prohibition in subsection (b).

 

SECTION 5.   The San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, Article I, Chapter 1, is hereby amended by revising Section 1.161 to read as follows:

SEC. 1.161.  CAMPAIGN ADVERTISEMENTS.

(a)   DISCLAIMERS. In addition to complying with the disclaimer requirements set forth in Chapter 4 of the California Political Reform Act, California Government section 84100 et seq., and its enabling regulations, all committees making expenditures which support or oppose any candidate for City elective office or any City measure shall also comply with the following additional requirements:

(1)   TOP THREE FIVE CONTRIBUTORS. The disclaimer requirements for primarily formed independent expenditure committees and primarily formed ballot measure committees set forth in the Political Reform Act with respect to a committee’s top three five major contributors shall apply to contributors of $10,000 $5,000 or more. Such disclaimers shall include both the name of and the dollar amount contributed by each of the top five major contributors of $5,000 or more to such committees. If any of the top five major contributors is a committee, the disclaimer must also disclose both the name of and the dollar amount contributed by each of the top three major contributors of $5,000 or more to that committee. The Ethics Commission may adjust this monetary threshold to reflect any increases or decreases in the Consumer Price Index. Such adjustments shall be rounded off to the nearest five thousand dollars.

(2)   WEBSITE REFERRAL. Each disclaimer required by the Political Reform Act or its enabling regulations and by this section shall be followed in the same required format, size and speed by the following phrase: “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.” A substantially similar statement that specifies the web site may be used as an alternative in audio communications.

(3)   MASS MAILINGS AND SMALLER WRITTEN ADVERTISEMENTS. Any disclaimer required by the Political Reform Act and by this section on a mass mailing, door hanger, flyer, poster, oversized campaign button or bumper sticker, or print advertisement shall be printed on every page where advertising appears on such mass mailings and written advertisements and shall be printed in at least 12-point 14 point, bold font.

(4)   CANDIDATE ADVERTISEMENTS. Advertisements by candidate committees shall include the following disclaimer statements: “Paid for by __________ (insert the name of the candidate committee).” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.” Except as provided in subsections (a)(3) and (a)(5), the statements’ format, size and speed shall comply with the disclaimer requirements for independent expenditures for or against a candidate set forth in the Political Reform Act and its enabling regulations.

(5)   AUDIO AND VIDEO ADVERTISEMENTS. For audio advertisements, the disclaimers required by this Section 1.161 shall be spoken at the end beginning of such advertisements. For video advertisements, the disclaimers required by this Section 1.161 shall be spoken at the end beginning of such advertisements and appear in writing during the entirety of the advertisements.

(b)   FILING REQUIREMENTS.

(1)   INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURES ADVERTISEMENTS.

Committees required by state law to file late independent expenditure reports disclosing expenditures that support or oppose a candidate for City elective office shall also file with the Ethics Commission on the same date a copy of the associated advertisement(s), an itemized disclosure statement with the Ethics Commission for that advertisement(s), and

(A)   if the advertisement is a telephone call, a copy of the script and, if the communication is recorded, the recording shall also be provided; or

(B)   if the advertisement is audio or video, a copy of the script and an audio or video file shall be provided.

(C)   if the advertisement is an electronic or digital advertisement, a  copy of the advertisement as distributed shall be provided.

(D)   if the advertisement is a door hanger, flyer, pamphlet, poster,  or print advertisement, a copy of the advertisement as distributed shall be provided.

(2)   INDEPENDENT EXPENDITURE MASS MAILINGS.

(A)   Each independent expenditure committee that pays for a mass mailing shall, within five working days after the date of the mailing, file a copy of the mailing and an itemized disclosure statement with the Ethics Commission for that mailing.

(B)   Each independent expenditure committee that pays for a mass mailing shall file a copy of the mailing and the itemized disclosure statement required by subsection (b)(2) within 48 hours of the date of the mailing if the date of the mailing occurs within the final 16 days before the election.

(2) (3)   CANDIDATE MASS MAILINGS.

(A)   Each candidate committee that pays for a mass mailing shall, within five working days after the date of the mailing, file a copy of the mailing and an itemized disclosure statement with the Ethics Commission for that mailing.

(B)   Each candidate committee that pays for a mass mailing shall file a copy of the mailing and the itemized disclosure statement required by subsection (b)(2)(3) within 48 hours of the date of the mailing if the date of the mailing occurs within the final 16 days before the election.

(3) (4)   The Ethics Commission shall specify the method for filing copies of advertisements and mass mailings.

 

SECTION 6.   The San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, Article I, Chapter 1, is hereby amended by revising Section 1.162 to read as follows:

SEC. 1.162.  ELECTIONEERING COMMUNICATIONS.

(a)   DISCLAIMERS.

(1)   Every electioneering communication for which a statement is filed pursuant to subsection (b) shall include the following disclaimer: “Paid for by __________ (insert the name of the person who paid for the communication).” and “Financial disclosures are available at sfethics.org.”

(2)   Any disclaimer required by this Section shall be included in or on an electioneering communication in a size, speed or format that complies with the disclaimer requirements for independent expenditures supporting or opposing candidates set forth in the Political Reform Act and its enabling regulations.

(3)   Notwithstanding subsection (a)(2), any disclaimer required by this Section:

(A) to appear on a mass mailing, door hanger, flyer, poster, oversized campaign button or bumper sticker, or print advertisement shall be printed in at least 14-point font;

(B) to be included in an audio advertisement, shall be spoken at the end beginning of such advertisements; or

(C) to be included in a video advertisement, shall be spoken at the end beginning of such advertisements and appear in writing during the entirety of the advertisements.

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SECTION 7.   The San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, Article I, Chapter 1, is hereby amended by revising Section 1.170 to read as follows:

SEC. 1.170.  PENALTIES.

(a)   CRIMINAL. Any person who knowingly or willfully violates any provision of this Chapter 1 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 for each violation or by imprisonment in the County jail for a period of not more than six months or by both such fine and imprisonment; provided, however, that any willful or knowing failure to report contributions or expenditures done with intent to mislead or deceive or any willful or knowing violation of the provisions of Sections 1.114, or 1.126, or 1.127 of this Chapter shall be punishable by a fine of not less than $5,000 for each violation or three times the amount not reported or the amount received in excess of the amount allowable pursuant to Sections 1.114, or 1.126, or 1.127 of this Chapter, or three times the amount expended in excess of the amount allowable pursuant to Section 1.130 or 1.140, whichever is greater.

(b)   CIVIL. Any person who intentionally or negligently violates any of the provisions of this Chapter 1 shall be liable in a civil action brought by the City Attorney for an amount up to $5,000 for each violation or three times the amount not reported or the amount received in excess of the amount allowable pursuant to Sections 1.114, or 1.126, or 1.127 or three times the amount expended in excess of the amount allowable pursuant to Section 1.130 or 1.140, whichever is greater. In determining the amount of liability, the court may take into account the seriousness of the violation, the degree of culpability of the defendant, and the ability of the defendant to pay.

(c)   ADMINISTRATIVE. Any person who violates any of the provisions of this Chapter 1 shall be liable in an administrative proceeding before the Ethics Commission held pursuant to the Charter for any penalties authorized therein.

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SECTION 8. The San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, Article II, Chapter 1, is hereby amended by revising Section 2.115 to read as follows:

SEC. 2.115.  LIMITS AND PROHIBITIONS.

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(e)   CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS - PROHIBITIONS.

(1) No lobbyist, client of a lobbyist, or employer of a lobbyist shall make any contribution to a City elective officer or candidate for City elective office, including the City elective officer’s or candidate’s controlled committees, if that lobbyist (A) is registered to lobby the agency of the City elective officer or the agency for which the candidate is seeking election or (B) has been registered to lobby that agency in the previous 90 180 days.

(2) If a lobbyist has failed to disclose which agencies the lobbyist attempts to influence, as required by Section 2.110(b), the lobbyist may not make a contribution to any City elective officer or candidate for City elective office, or any City elective officer’s or candidate’s controlled committees.

(f)   BUNDLING OF CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS - PROHIBITIONS.

(1)   No lobbyist, client of a lobbyist, or employer of a lobbyist shall deliver or transmit, or deliver or transmit through a third party, any contribution made by another person to any City elective officer or candidate for City elective office, or any City elective officer’s or candidate’s controlled committees, if that lobbyist (A) is registered to lobby the agency for which the candidate is seeking election or the agency of the City elective officer or (B) has been registered to lobby that agency in the previous 90 180 days.

(2)   If a lobbyist has failed to disclose which agencies the lobbyist attempts to influence, as required by Section 2.110(b), the lobbyist may not deliver or transmit, or deliver or transmit through a third party, any contribution made by another person to any City elective officer or candidate for City elective office, or any City elective officer’s or candidate’s controlled committees.

(g)   AGGREGATION OF AFFILIATED ENTITY CONTRIBUTIONS. For purposes of the contribution limits imposed by subsections (e) and (f), the contributions of an entity whose contributions are directed and controlled by any lobbyist shall be aggregated with contributions made by that lobbyist as set forth in Section 1.114(c).

(h)   REGULATIONS. The Ethics Commission may adopt regulations implementing this Section 2.115, but such regulations may not establish any exceptions from the limits and prohibitions set forth therein.

 

SECTION 9.                        Conflicting Measures

In the event that another measure or measures on the same ballot seeks to affect the same subject matter as this Initiative, any provisions of the other measure or measures shall be deemed to be in conflict with this Initiative. In the event that this Initiative receives a greater number of affirmative votes, only this Initiative shall take effect and the provisions of the other measure or measures shall be null and void.

 

SECTION 10.                     Scope of Initiative

In enacting this Initiative, the people intend to amend only those words, phrases, paragraphs, subsections, sections, articles, numbers, punctuation marks, charts, diagrams, or any other constituent parts of the Municipal Code that are explicitly shown in this Initiative as additions or deletions in accordance with the “NOTE” that appears above the official title of the Initiative.

 

SECTION 11.                     Severability

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this ordinance, or any application thereof to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions or applications of the ordinance. The voters hereby declare that they would have passed this ordinance and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase, and word not declared invalid or unconstitutional without regard to whether any other portion of this ordinance or application thereof would be subsequently declared invalid or unconstitutional.

 

SECTION 12.                     Amendment or Repeal

Only the voters may amend or repeal any of the provisions of this Initiative.

 

SECTION 13.                     Effective Date      

In accordance with the provisions of California Elections Code section 9217, if a majority of the voters vote in favor of this Initiative, the Initiative shall go into effect 10 days after the vote is declared by the Board of Supervisors.