Accessibility mode is enabled

Skip to Top / Tab to View Menu Options
Skip to Left Navigation / Tab to View Content

CONTRIBUTION LIMITS

The City of Sacramento has adopted local campaign finance regulations for public campaign financing (also referred to as matching funds). These regulations pertain to provisions for financial support for a candidate for elective office through payment of public "matching" dollars, restrict spending, and place limits on contributions. The Campaign Reform Fund was not funded for Fiscal Year 2016/2017. Therefore, public financing is not available.  However, provisions regarding contribution limits remain in full force and effect.

The information below is provided as a general guideline to assist in understanding the provisions. Interested persons are strongly encourage to read the full content of City Code section 2.13 to ensure compliance with all provisions. Contribution limits were updated effective April 20, 2017 according to Ordinance 2017-0027.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Contribution Limits?

What is a large political committee?

What is an election period as it applies to contributions?

What is an off-election year and how does it apply to contributions?

For purposes of the individual contribution limits, how does a candidate document contributions received in an off-election year?

Missing Contributor Information

Written Solicitations by Candidates

Transfer of Funds

What are the Contribution Limits?  

City Code limits the amount a candidate may accept from a single source during an election period. This limit also applies to committees that give funds to candidates and to committees that make independent expenditures for or against candidates. The limits are:

Recipient: To

Contributor: From

Amount Per Election Period

Mayor

Person

$3,350

Large Political Committee

$11,150

Council Member

Person

$1,650

Large Political Committee

$5,600

Committee

Person

No Limit

Large Political Committee

No Limit

Return to Top

What is a Large Political Committee?

A Large Political Committee (LPC) is a committee that meets certain qualifications, and has registered with the City of Sacramento. Only those registered committees may give contributions to candidates at the higher amount. For more information regarding qualification requirements and registered committees, please refer to the City Clerk's Large Political Committees webpage.
Return to Top

What is an Election Period as it Applies to Contributions? 

The City’s contribution limits restrict the amount that a candidate may accept from a contributor in a given election period. For a regular election for city elective office, there are two election periods (primary and general). If no candidate obtains a majority of the votes cast (50% plus one) in the primary, the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes will advance to a general election (also know as a run-off). If there is no run-off election, there is no “general” period.

If a candidate receives the maximum contribution from a single source during the primary election period, and that candidate is involved in a run off, the candidate may again accept the full limit from that source in the general election period. This applies only if there is a general election and only for those candidates involved in that election. It does not apply if a candidate wins a majority of votes cast in the primary election, or is unsuccessful.

The periods for contributions are as follows:

Primary Election Period (candidate wins in primary election) – July 1 of the year preceding the election year through June 30 of the election year.

  • General Election Period (candidate involved in run-off election) – July 1 through December 31 of the election year.
  • Special Election Period (not applicable to the 2008 regular election) - The date the office becomes vacant through the end of the month in which the special election is held.
  • Contributions received prior to committee qualification would be considered for purposes of the contribution limits and shall be reported and attributed to the appropriate period. The limits shall also apply to candidates who raise less than $2000 per calendar year, and do not meet the qualifications for forming a campaign committee.
    Return to Top

What is an Off-Election Year and How Does it Apply to Contributions?  

Off-election years are those calendar years, or portions of calendar years, before and after an election year where there is an overall “cap” or “limit” on the total amount of contributions that can be gathered in a single year. The individual limitations still apply in an off-election year, with the additional requirement that the total received per year is capped.

During an off-election year the total amount of contributions that may be accepted by candidates in a calendar year are limited to $27,850 (Council Member) or $55,750 (Mayor).

To understand when an off-election year begins and ends, it is important to first understand the period of time that is an “election year”. An election year is: 1) the year of the election; and 2) the last six months of the year preceding the election.

An off-election year is: 1) the first six months of the year preceding the election; and 2) the six months after the primary election in which a candidate prevails. Each of the two years following the election is an off-election year.

If a general (run-off) election is held, the off-election year is delayed until January 1 of the following year. This applies only to those candidates involved in the general election.
Return to Top

For Purposes of the Individual Contribution Limits, How Does a Candidate Document Contributions Received in an Off-Election Year?  

Often, candidates gather contributions both before and after the time frames established as an election period. The requirements for attributing contributions in an off-election year are:

Often, candidates gather contributions both before and after the time frames established as an election period. The requirements for attributing contributions in an off-election year are:

Contributions received by an incumbent officeholder in an off-election year shall be attributed to the election period in which the candidate won office, unless the contributions are deposited into a new campaign account for a future election to the same or different office.

Contributions received by a non-incumbent candidate in an off-election year shall be attributed to the primary, general or special election period for the elective office in which the candidate is seeking, unless the contributions are deposited into an account established for a prior election or an election to a different office.
Return to Top

Other Things to Know

There are several other important local and state regulations that the candidate must be aware of. Those regulations include:

Missing Contributor Information– The Political Reform Act requires that a contribution of $100 or more be returned within 60 days of receipt if the candidate or committee has not obtained the contributor’s name and address, and in the case of an individual contributor, his or her occupation and employer. For more information on the record keeping procedures refer to the Campaign Disclosure Manual 2 – Information for Local Candidates.
Return to Top

Written Solicitations by Candidates -  City Code section 2.13.065 provides that any Council candidate or controlled committee of a candidate making a written solicitation for a contribution to the candidate’s campaign for City elective office shall include the following written notice in no less than ten-point type on each solicitation.

City Code  provides that any Council candidate or controlled committee of a candidate making a written solicitation for a contribution to the candidate’s campaign for City elective office shall include the following written notice in no less than ten-point type on each solicitation.

Notice – Council Member 

Chapter 2.13 of the Sacramento City Code limits the amounts that a contributor may give to a candidate for Mayor for a primary, general or special election.
Generally, a contributor other than a large committee may not give more than $1,650 to a candidate for Mayor for a primary, general or special election, while a
large political committee may not give more than $5,600 to a candidate for Mayor for a primary, general or special election. Chapter 2.13 contains certain
other rules that may affect the amounts that an individual contributor may give. Please read Chapter 2.13 before making a contribution to my campaign.

Notice – Mayor

Chapter 2.13 of the Sacramento City Code limits the amounts that a contributor may give to a candidate for Mayor for a primary, general or special election.
Generally, a contributor other than a large committee may not give more than $3,350 to a candidate for Mayor for a primary, general or special election, while a
large political committee may not give more than $11,150 to a candidate for Mayor for a primary, general or special election. Chapter 2.13 contains certain
other rules that may affect the amounts that an individual contributor may give. Please read Chapter 2.13 before making a contribution to my campaign.
Return to Top

Transfer of Funds - A city elective candidate may transfer funds from any other committee controlled by the candidate to the committee established for that city elective office, if all of the following provisions are met:

A city elective candidate may transfer funds from any other committee controlled by the candidate to the committee established for that city elective office, if all of the following provisions are met:

  • The funds are transferred into a new campaign account established for that elective office. A candidate may not re-designate an existing campaign account.
  • The contributions transferred are attributed to specific contributors. Contributions shall be allocated and attributed to individual contributors on a “first in, first out” FIFO or “last in, first out” LIFO basis. Reference City Code section 2.13.070 (B.2) for a definition of FIFO or LIFO.
  • The contributions transferred and attributed to individual contributors, when added together with all other contributions from the same contributor, do not exceed the individual contribution limits.
    Return to Top

Need Assistance or Have Questions?

We are happy to assist you. Please contact us via email at: clerk@cityofsacramento.org, or by phone at (916) 808-7200.