Major Donors

CAOC works to keep you informed on California Major Donor Reporting to help keep major donors compliant.  A major donor is anyone who makes political contributions totaling $10,000 or more to California state or local candidates, their controlled committees, ballot measures, other political committees or political parties within a calendar year.  As soon as you hit the $10,000 contribution threshold within a calendar year, you are considered a California Major Donor and are subject to reporting your donations.

Overview:

The Fair Political Practices Commission offers a in-depth guide on major donor reporting; a copy is linked here.

CAOC DOES NOT FILE THESE REPORTS FOR YOU - YOU MUST FILE ALL OF YOUR OWN MAJOR DONOR REPORTS (Form 461, and supplemental forms dependent on election involvement).  Linked here is a brief overview of major donor reporting, as well as instructions on how to file Form 461 and linked here is a copy of Form 461.

If you contributed $25,000 or more during the calendar year, you will also be required to file online.  Here is the form you'll need to receive an electronic filing ID.

2016 Major Donor Reporting Deadlines 

The 2016 Major Donor Filing Schedule provided by the FPPC details important 2016 semi-annual report deadlines and supplemental election form deadlines:

  • February 1st 2016 for the Jan 1- Dec 31 2015 filing. Form 461.
  • August 1st 2016 for the  Jan 1 - June 30 2016 filing. Form 461.
  • Within 24 Hours for 3/9/16 - 6/7/16. Form 497. File if contributions of $1,000 or more in the aggregate are made in connection with a state or local candidate or ballot measure on the June 7 ballot or are made to a political party committee.
  • Within 24 hours for 8/10/16 - 11/8/16. Form 497. File if contributions of $1,000 or more in the aggregate are made in connection with a state or local candidate or ballot measure on the June 7 ballot or are made to a political party committee.

** Special rules apply for independent expenditures, which are not addressed by this notice.

 Change to 24 Hour Major Donor Reporting

A major donor who contributes $1,000 or more to a candidate or ballot measure within 90 days of the candidate or measure appearing on the ballot is also required to report the contribution within 24 hours using Form 497 (including on election day).  This report is also required for a contribution of $1,000 or more to a political party committee within 90 days of any state election (including on election day). Linked here is a copy of Form 497.

Rules Regarding Individual v. Business Contributions

Contributions made by a business entity and by its majority owner (more than 50 percent) will be aggregated. For officers, employees, and individual shareholders with 50 percent or less ownership interest in the business entity, the contributions will not aggregate unless the individual has the authority to make contributions on behalf of the entity and does in fact exercise such authority. For two business entities, the general rule is that the contributions from the two entities are aggregated if the same person or a majority of the same persons in fact directs and controls the decisions of both entities to make political contributions or expenditures.

Best Practices:

  • Always defer to your records for contributions made. 
  • Clearly notate whether the funds are personal, made from a business account, or will be reimbursed by a business account.
  • Put upcoming reporting deadlines onto your calendar.
  • Have the person responsible for reporting become familiar with reporting well before the deadline approaches. 
  • Keep track of all political contributions on a spreadsheet or in one folder. 

The information you'll need for reporting is:

  • The committee name, ID number and address for the candidate or committee you're making the donation to
  • The date you made the contribution
  • How much you contributed

Here is an example using a $1,000 contribution to Senator Kevin De León. The information you'll need for the report is:

  • Committee Name and ID Number: Kevin De León for Lieutenant Governor 2018, ID#1375100
  • Address: 10250 Constellation Blvd., Ste. 270, Los Angeles, CA 90067  
  • Date the contribution was made: 02/15/2016
  • Amount: $1,000

This information is easily found on the remittance form you used to make the donation, or you may contact CAOC who maintains these records for sponsored candidates and committees.

Additional Resources

If you would like to discuss your contributions with CAOC staff, please contact Deputy PAC Manager Samantha Helton at samantha@caoc.org or call her at 916-442-6902 ext. 128

For questions regarding sponsored candidates and committees, you may also contact Political Director Lea-Ann Tratten at ltratten@caoc.org, or call her at 916-442-6902 ext 131.

Please contact samantha@caoc.org if you have any questions or would like any additional information.

You may wish to consult an advisor for more information regarding your individual situation.  Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP and Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, and River City Business Services are three firms that specialize in this area. Here is their contact information:

Olson Hagel & Fishburn LLP

2124 35th Street

Sacramento, CA 95817

(916) 442-2952

www.olsonhagel.com

Remcho Johansen & Purcell

201 Dolores Ave

San Leandro, CA 94577

(510) 346-6200

http://www.rjp.com

River City Business Services

5429 Madison Ave

Sacramento, CA 95841

(916) 348-9100

http://www.rcbs.us

 

Major Donor Report deadline - Feb 1, 2016

Please be aware that there is a Semi-Annual Major Donor Report due no later than February 1, 2016 if you made political contributions (including loans and non-monetary donations) totaling $10,000 or more between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015 to California state or local candidates, their controlled committees, ballot measures, political committees, or political parties.

Contributions made by a business entity and by its majority owner (more than 50 percent) will be aggregated. For officers, employees, and individual shareholders with 50 percent or less ownership interest in the business entity, the contributions will not aggregate unless the individual has the authority to make contributions on behalf of the entity and does in fact exercise such authority. For two business entities, the general rule is that, if the same person or a majority of the same persons in fact controls and directs the decisions of both entities to make political contributions or expenditures, the contributions from the two entities are aggregated.

Special Odd Year Quarterly Report: During odd-numbered years (e.g. 2015), major donors are required to file reports for the 1st and 3rd calendar quarters if (1) they have contributed a total of $10,000 or more to state or local candidates or committees since January 1 and (2) they have contributed a total of $10,000 or more during the calendar quarter to elected state officers, their controlled committees, or committees primarily formed to support or oppose any elected state officer. These reports must be filed no later than April 30 for the period January 1 through March 31 and no later than October 31 for the period July 1 through September 30.

Below please find a list of reporting dates for 2015.

CAOC WILL NOT FILE THIS REPORT FOR YOU – YOU MUST FILE YOUR OWN MAJOR DONOR REPORTS (Form 461).

In prior years, CAOC provided contributors with a list of contributions to CAOC sponsored committees made during the reporting period. However, because CAOC does not retain records of contributions to candidates or committees other than CAOC sponsored committees, the lists were often incomplete. We discovered that providing a partial list caused more confusion than clarity. Therefore, we decided to discontinue providing you with lists of contributions to CAOC sponsored committees unless you request that we provide you with such a list. If you would like to discuss your contributions with CAOC staff or request a list of contributions, please contact Samantha Farmer, Development Outreach Associate at samantha@caoc.org or call her at 916-442-6902 ext. 128 or Lea-Ann Tratten, our Political Director at ltratten@caoc.org, or call her at 916-442-6902 ext 131.

Please note the threshold for electronic filing was lowered from $50,000 to $25,000. Any state filer who makes contributions totaling $25,000 or more in a calendar year must file all reports electronically in addition to filing paper reports. For electronic filing information, please go to: www.sos.ca.gov . Again, please be aware that CAOC WILL NOT COMPLETE THIS ELECTRONIC FILING FOR YOU – YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MAJOR DONOR FILING.

Forms are available on the following websites:

 
2016 reporting calendar
Type of Report Period Covered Deadline
Semi-Annual Report  Jan. 1, 2016 to June 30, 2016  August 1, 2016
Semi-Annual Report Jan. 1, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2016  January 31,  2017

 

New Filing Requirements for Major Donors

Please note that the state law recently changed the filing requirements for major donors. The new laws will affect campaign filings for political expenditures made and reported in 2011; they do not apply to the January 31, 2011 report for political expenditures made in 2010. Following is a summary of some of the changes:

The threshold for electronic filing has been lowered from $50,000 to $25,000. Any donor who makes contributions totaling $25,000 or more in a calendar year must file all reports electronically in addition to filing paper reports.

Fewer copies of paper statements required: State filers only have to file their original paper report and one copy with the Secretary of State.

Late reports filed online: A late contribution report is required to be filed with the Secretary of State, it will now be filed online or by electronic transmission only.