independentspenders

Independent Spenders

An independent spender is a person other than a candidate who makes or incurs expenses in an attempt to influence the outcome of an election.

REQUIREMENTS

Record Keeping

An independent spender must create and maintain records that indicate compliance with the campaign finance laws and must provide those records to the Ethics Commission upon request. Records must be maintained for at least four years.

Disclosure

Independent spenders may have three types of disclosure requirements. Detailed filing requirements are provided under “What Do I File?”. Information disclosed by independent spenders may be accessed through the Public Data Portal.

ELECTION TOTALS

WHAT DO I FILE?

Filing Schedule

The following forms must be filed:

Form Required
Period Covered
Due Date
Required Per Activity

The following forms may be required when you make or incur independent expenditures of (or one or more payments for member communications totaling):

Threshhold
Supporting/Opposing
Form Required
Due Date

$1,000 or more

City or LAUSD candidates or City ballot measures

Within 24 hours of expenditure during the 90 days preceding the election or on the date of the election.

$1,000 or more; or

$100 or more if distributed to 1,000 or more persons (200 or more if you qualify as a committee).

City candidates, officeholders, or ballot measures

Within 24 hours of expenditure between candidate filing week and the general election.

Within 5 business days of expenditure otherwise.

$1,000 or more

LAUSD candidates

Within 24 hours of expenditure.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions regarding specific scenarios, please contact us prior to taking action.

  • I made a contribution to a candidate. Can I also make an independent expenditure communication to support that candidate?

    Yes, as long as the communication is not coordinated with the candidate or his campaign. If you make an independent expenditure communication, you will be required to file disclosures with the Ethics Commission.

  • I made an independent expenditure communication through a television ad. Do I need to disclose that?

    Yes, you will need to file Form 57 or Form 57-L, depending on whether the communication was made in a City or LAUSD election. You will also need to file a copy of both the video and the script for the ad.

  • I would like to make an independent expenditure communication to support my favorite candidate. Can I contact the candidate’s campaign to ask them what key points I should make in the communication?

    No. An independent expenditure communication cannot be coordinated with the candidate in any way. If you make a communication that is coordinated with the candidate, it is considered an in-kind contribution that is subject to the per-person contribution limits.

  • I made an independent expenditure communication to oppose three candidates. How do I report that?

    The communication must be apportioned among the three candidates, according to how much time or space is devoted in the communication to each candidate. For example, if one candidate is featured on one side of a written communication and the second and third candidates share the other side of the communication, you would report 50 percent for the first candidate and 25 percent for each of the other two candidates.

  • I plan to distribute an independent expenditure communication two weeks before the election. When do I have to report it to the Ethics Commission?

    You must report the communication within 24 hours of making or incurring related expenses.

  • I own a billboard and plan to use it to make an independent expenditure communication. The printing will cost $1,250, but using the billboard will cost me nothing. Do I have to report the communication?

    Yes. You must report the independent expenditure communication because the costs are $1,000 or more. You must report the total cost, which is $1,250 plus the fair market value of using the billboard (the amount you would charge someone else for using the billboard during the same period of time in which you use it). You must also include a disclaimer in the communication and file a copy of it with the Ethics Commission.

PUBLIC DATA PORTAL

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REQUIREMENTS

Record Keeping

An independent spender must create and maintain records that indicate compliance with the campaign finance laws and must provide those records to the Ethics Commission upon request. Records must be maintained for at least four years.

Disclosure

Independent spenders may have three types of disclosure requirements. Detailed filing requirements are provided under “What Do I File?”. Information disclosed by independent spenders may be accessed through the Public Data Portal.

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WHAT DO I FILE?

Filing Schedule

The following forms must be filed:

Form Required
Period Covered
Due Date
Required Per Activity

The following forms may be required when you make or incur independent expenditures of (or one or more payments for member communications totaling):

Threshhold
Supporting/Opposing
Form Required
Due Date

$1,000 or more

City or LAUSD candidates or City ballot measures

Within 24 hours of expenditure during the 90 days preceding the election or on the date of the election.

$1,000 or more; or

$100 or more if distributed to 1,000 or more persons (200 or more if you qualify as a committee).

City candidates, officeholders, or ballot measures

Within 24 hours of expenditure between candidate filing week and the general election.

Within 5 business days of expenditure otherwise.

$1,000 or more

LAUSD candidates

Within 24 hours of expenditure.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

For questions regarding specific scenarios, please contact us prior to taking action.

  • I made a contribution to a candidate. Can I also make an independent expenditure communication to support that candidate?

    Yes, as long as the communication is not coordinated with the candidate or his campaign. If you make an independent expenditure communication, you will be required to file disclosures with the Ethics Commission.

  • I made an independent expenditure communication through a television ad. Do I need to disclose that?

    Yes, you will need to file Form 57 (City) or Form 57-L (LAUSD), depending on whether the communication was made in a City or LAUSD election. You will also need to file a copy of both the video and the script for the ad.

  • I would like to make an independent expenditure communication to support my favorite candidate. Can I contact the candidate’s campaign to ask them what key points I should make in the communication?

    No. An independent expenditure communication cannot be coordinated with the candidate in any way. If you make a communication that is coordinated with the candidate, it is considered an in-kind contribution that is subject to the per-person contribution limits.

  • I made an independent expenditure communication to oppose three candidates. How do I report that?

    The communication must be apportioned among the three candidates, according to how much time or space is devoted in the communication to each candidate. For example, if one candidate is featured on one side of a written communication and the second and third candidates share the other side of the communication, you would report 50 percent for the first candidate and 25 percent for each of the other two candidates.

  • I plan to distribute an independent expenditure communication two weeks before the election. When do I have to report it to the Ethics Commission?

    You must report the communication within 24 hours of making or incurring related expenses.

  • I own a billboard and plan to use it to make an independent expenditure communication. The printing will cost $1,250, but using the billboard will cost me nothing. Do I have to report the communication?

    Yes. You must report the independent expenditure communication because the costs are $1,000 or more. You must report the total cost, which is $1,250 plus the fair market value of using the billboard (the amount you would charge someone else for using the billboard during the same period of time in which you use it). You must also include a disclaimer in the communication and file a copy of it with the Ethics Commission.

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PUBLIC DATA PORTAL

Search Former Website: Campaign | Lobbying

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