Campaign Filing Officer Duties

Supplying Current Forms and Manuals

Campaign filing officers must supply the necessary forms and manuals prescribed by the FPPC. The FPPC prepares informational manuals on the campaign disclosure provisions of the Act and the campaign disclosure forms required to be filed by all campaigns in California.

Obtaining Revised Forms and Manuals

Campaign forms and manuals are typically not updated each year. They are revised to incorporate any legislative or regulatory changes. Persons interested in previewing proposed new or amended forms or manuals should visit the Mailing Lists section of our website and subscribe to be placed on the “interested persons list.” In most cases, the FPPC holds “interested persons meetings” to solicit public comments about any proposed revisions before they are presented to the Commission for approval. 

Determining if Required Statements Have Been Filed

Filing officers are required to compile and maintain a current list of all candidates and committees required to file with them. This list, or log, is a public record and must be available for public inspection. The purpose of the log is to help determine if all of the required statements have been filed. If your agency does not have a logging system in place, start one by using the information on your agency’s most current filers and working your way back.

The Act does not require the log to be in a specific format or contain specific information. But at a minimum, the log should include the name and address of the candidate or committee, office sought or held or ballot measure number, committee ID number (if applicable), type of statement filed, due date, date filed, and period covered by the statement. The log also may contain any additional information which would benefit the filing officer in performing the required duties.

Filing officers are not required to conduct investigations to determine whether there are any candidates or committees in their jurisdictions who have filing requirements but are not complying. If a filing officer discovers that a person may have a filing obligation, the officer is encouraged to contact that person to notify him or her of the filing requirements under the Act. 

Please remember all statements must be date stamped on the cover page when received by an agency.

Providing Public Access and Reproduction Charges

All campaign statements filed pursuant to the Act are public documents and must be available for public inspection and reproduction during regular business hours no later than the second business day after they were received.

No conditions may be imposed on persons desiring to inspect or reproduce campaign statements, and no information or identification may be required from such persons. A filing officer should provide copies of statements for viewing purposes rather than the originals. When a copy of a statement is requested, an unredacted copy must be provided.

Copies must be provided at a charge not to exceed 10 cents per page. In addition, filing officers may charge a retrieval fee of up to $5 per request for copies of statements that are five years or older. A single request for more than one report or statement is subject to one retrieval fee. Copies may be provided free of charge. 

Notifying Non-Filers

Filing officers must promptly notify all candidates, officeholders, and committees who fail to timely file a required statement. Notification may be made by telephone or in writing, including by e-mail. Sample non-filer letters are available below. A record of all telephone calls and correspondence should be saved.

On July 21, 2022 amendments to Regulation 18360 (effective 60 days from adoption) were adopted. Some amendments include attaching a copy of the most recently filed statement and all relevant schedules, disclosing the filing method, such as paper or electronic for the filer, and if the filing officer receives a filing after referral then the filing officer must notify the Enforcement Division within 7 days of receipt of the filing. Please review the adopted regulation for further details.

18360 Staff Memo

Enforcement Referrals

Filing officers are required to report any apparent violation of the Act to the appropriate agency. An apparent violation exists if the filing officer knows or has reason to believe that a statement contains material inaccuracies or omissions, or when a filer fails to file all or part of a statement after reasonable notice has been provided.

On July 21, 2022 amendments to Regulation 18360 (effective 60 days from adoption) were adopted. Some amendments include identifying the name of the committee's treasurer, if a candidate-controlled committee, the candidate's name, a copy of the most recently filed statement of economic interest, if any, and the filing methods available to the filer at their agency. Please review the adopted regulation for further details.

18360 Staff Memo

To expedite an enforcement referral to the FPPC’s Enforcement Division, use the Electronic Complaint System. Two written notifications must be made before referring a case and can be added as attachments. We have created a short video demonstration of the Electronic Complaint System. Remember to choose "Referral" and click "Submit" when finished filling out the information.

Reviewing Campaign Statements

Filing officers must review all original campaign statements that are filed to determine if they contain the information required by the Act. The specific requirements are set out in Regulation 18110.

Filing officers are not required to seek or obtain information to verify entries, examine previously filed statements, or check mathematical calculations on the statements.

The link below provides a tool to use when reviewing statements. It contains a list of the most common errors and may be used when requesting amendments.

Requesting and Accepting Amendments to Statements

Any campaign statement may be amended by a filer at any time. There are no penalties for filing an amendment. Amending an incorrect or incomplete statement may be considered as evidence of good faith in any enforcement action.

To amend a previously filed campaign statement, the filer must file another form (e.g., if amending Form 460, the candidate would file another Form 460, mark the amendment box, and include the amended information). Any amendment that changes monetary amounts (receipts, expenditures, cash on hand, etc.) should be accompanied by a revised Summary Page for each statement affected and, if needed for further clarification, the appropriate revised schedules showing the changed information and the changed totals.

No changes may be made on any statement after it has been filed; to make changes, an amendment must be filed. If a filing officer determines there is an error or additional information is necessary on a statement, a blank form should be sent with a letter to the filer requesting the correct or additional information.

Charging and Collecting Late Fines

Any person who files a campaign statement after the deadline imposed by the Act is liable for a late fine. Extensions to the filing deadlines are not permitted and should not be granted. The late fines are as follows:

Original Campaign Statements:   In the case of an original statement or report which is filed late, the fine is $10 per day, starting the day after the filing deadline until the statement or report is filed; however, the maximum fine is cumulative amount stated in the late statement or report, or $100, whichever is greater.

Copies of Campaign Statements:  In the case of a copy of a statement or report which is filed late, the fine is $10 per day, starting 10 days after the filing officer sent written notice of the filing requirement (or 5 days after in the case of a second pre-election campaign statement) until the statement or report is filed; however, the maximum fine is the cumulative amount reported in the late statement or report, or $100, whichever is greater. Filing officers may deposit the funds from late fines into the general fund of the jurisdiction in which he or she is an officer.

However, a filing officer is required to waive the late filing fee when either of the following apply: 

  • A person could not timely file the statement or report due to them being seriously ill or hospitalized; or
  • A person filed the late statement and completed the Commission’s Political Reform Education Program (PREP) pursuant to Section 83116.7 for that late filing violation.  

How to Request Advice

If you have questions about your obligations under the Act you can request advice directly from FPPC staff

Have a Local Special Election? Request a Filing Schedule

More questions? Come to a training session...

If you still have questions about how to perform the duties of a filing officer please check out additional Training and Outreach resources provided by the FPPC

Form Retention for Filing Officers

Filing officers are required by law to maintain statements for a minimum period of time. This is determined by the type of statement and whether it is an original or a copy.