Where to File Campaign Statements (Forms 460 and 461) - General Purpose Committees

The Political Reform Act sets out specific filing requirements and locations for campaign committees based on the type of committee and its jurisdiction. The information below provides a guide to general purpose committees, including major donor and independent expenditure committees, on where to file campaign statements. 

Overview

In order to know where to file campaign statements, the type and jurisdiction of the general purpose committee must be determined. The type of committee is based on the nature and amount of its activity (i.e., contributions and expenditures), while jurisdiction is based on the location and focus of that activity. Generally, if a committee’s activity is not focused in one city or county race, it will be required to file as a state committee to provide disclosure to a broader sphere of voters. State general purpose committees (including major donors and independent expenditure committees) that have raised or spent $25,000 or more are required to file electronically with the Secretary of State and statements may be accessed here.

Type of Committee or Organization

A general purpose recipient committee receives contributions of $2,000 or more in order to make contributions and expenditures (including independent expenditures) to support or oppose candidates or ballot measures in California. This type of committee is sometimes referred to as a political action committee (PAC).

General purpose non-recipient committees, such as major donor and independent expenditure committees, do not receive funds from other sources. These committees are generally formed when an individual uses personal funds or a corporation uses corporate funds to make contributions or independent expenditures to support or oppose candidates or ballot measures in California.

An individual or business entity that uses personal or corporate funds to make contributions of $10,000 or more in a calendar year qualifies as a major donor committee. An individual or corporation that uses personal or corporate funds to pay for a communication totaling $1,000 or more to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure, which is not made in consultation, cooperation or coordination with the affected candidate or committee, qualifies as an independent expenditure committee.

C. Multipurpose Organizations

The Act and the FPPC’s regulations address campaign filing requirements for multipurpose organizations (including nonprofits, and federal and out-of-state PACs) involved in California elections. Depending upon their activity, these groups may qualify as a recipient committee, a major donor committee, or an independent expenditure committee. For additional information on requirements for multipurpose organizations, you can review the FPPC’s fact sheet on the subject.

Committee Jurisdiction

A committee’s jurisdiction determines where it must file its campaign statements. The charts below indicate the jurisdiction based on committee activity. 

A. Jurisdiction for General Purpose Recipient Committees (PACs)

 Committee Activity Jurisdiction Where to File Form 460

Makes contributions and expenditures to support or oppose state candidates or state measures, or makes contributions and expenditures to support or oppose local candidates but does not qualify as a city or county committee

All political party committees, including county central committees

 

 

State

Electronic Filers

Secretary of State - Electronically and paper original

Non-Electronic Filers

Secretary of State - Original and one copy

Makes more than 70% of its contributions and expenditures to support or oppose candidates or measures or other county committees in one county 

 

County

County Elections Office – original and one copy

*County committees should check with their local jurisdiction to determine if electronic filing is available or required

Makes more than 70% of its contributions and expenditures to support or oppose candidates or measures or other city committees in one city

 

City

City Clerk – original and one copy

*City committees should check with their local jurisdiction to determine if electronic filing is available or required

Requirements to Review Status of Jurisdiction for General Purpose Recipient Committees (PACs)

It is important for committees to remember they must regularly review the status of their jurisdiction to determine whether it has changed. The requirements are as follows:

New committees - A general purpose recipient committee that qualifies within six months of an election in connection with which the committee makes contributions or expenditures must verify its filing jurisdiction at the end of each month prior to the election, unless the committee has not made contributions or expenditures of $1,000 or more during that month.

Existing committees - A general purpose committee must verify its filing jurisdiction quarterly at the end of March, June, September and December. A committee that has not made contributions or expenditures of $5,000 or more during the preceding quarterly time period is not required to review or change its status.

When a committee is required to review its status, it must count contributions and expenditures made to support or oppose candidates and measures and other committees (e.g., political parties) during whichever of the following time periods most accurately reflects the current and upcoming activities of the committee:

  • The immediately preceding 24 months; or
  • The current two-year period, beginning with January 1 of an odd-numbered year and ending with December 31 of the following even-numbered year.

Exception for local committees contributing to state candidates - A city or county general purpose committee that makes up to four contributions per calendar year to candidates for elective state office whose districts include part of that jurisdiction, but which would otherwise still qualify as a local committee is not required to change its status to a state committee based on those contributions.

B. Jurisdiction for Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committees

Committee Activity Jurisdiction Where to File Form 461
Makes one or more contributions or expenditures to support or oppose state candidates or state measures or other state committees

 

State

Electronic Filers

Secretary of State - Electronically and paper original

Non-Electronic Filers

Secretary of State - Original and one copy

Makes more than 70% of its contributions or expenditures to support or oppose candidates or measures in one county, and does not make a contribution or expenditure to a state committee

 

County

County Elections Office - original and one copy

*County committees should check with their local jurisdiction to determine if electronic filing is available or required

Makes more than 70% of its contributions or expenditures to support or oppose candidates or measures in one city, and does not make a contribution or expenditure to a state committee

 

 

City

City Clerk - original and one copy

*City committees should check with the local jurisdiction to determine if electronic filing is available or required

Requirements to Review Status of Jurisdiction for Major Donor and Independent Expenditure Committees

Major donor and independent expenditure committees must review their status at least quarterly unless contributions or expenditures made that quarter are $5,000 or less. Once a contribution or independent expenditure is made to a state committee, regardless of the amount, the committee is a state committee for the remainder of the year unless the committee qualifies for the exception discussed below. An individual or business entity that qualifies as a major donor or independent expenditure committee must meet the thresholds and re-qualify as a committee each calendar year.

Exception for local committees contributing to state candidates - A city or county major donor or independent expenditure committee that makes up to four contributions per calendar year to candidates for elective state office whose districts include part of that local jurisdiction, but which would otherwise qualify as a local committee, is not required to changes its status to a state committee based on those contributions.

For additional information, see Campaign Disclosure Manual 4 (general purpose recipient committees; PACs), Campaign Disclosure Manual 5 (major donor committees) and Campaign Disclosure Manual 6 (independent expenditure committees).

 

Statutory and Regulatory Authority

Government Code sections 84215 and 84605

Regulation 18227.5

You should not rely on this webpage alone to ensure compliance with the Act. If you have any questions, you can Ask the FPPC for Advice.