About the Political Reform Division

The Political Reform Division administers provisions of California's Political Reform Act, including the law's most fundamental purpose of ensuring that "receipts and expenditures in election campaigns should be fully and truthfully disclosed in order that the voters may be fully informed and the activities of lobbyists should be regulated and their finances disclosed..."

The Political Reform Act was adopted as a statewide initiative (Proposition 9) by an overwhelming vote of the electorate in 1974. The law requires detailed disclosure of the role of money in California politics. This includes the disclosure of contributions and expenditures in connection with campaigns supporting or opposing state and local candidates and ballot measures as well as the disclosure of expenditures made in connection with lobbying the State Legislature and attempting to influence administrative decisions of state government.

The Political Reform Division, Secretary of State, is located at 1500 - 11th Street, Room 495, Sacramento, CA 95814, phone (916) 653-6224. For more detailed information on directions or office hours, visit our Contact Information page.

Responsibilities of the Political Reform Division

The Secretary of State's Political Reform Division administers provisions of California's Political Reform Act of 1974 which requires the disclosure of financial activities related to political campaigns and lobbying.

Specific activities of the Political Reform Division include:

Campaign

  • Register and issue identification numbers for all state and local campaign committees that raise funds in connection with elections (non-federal) throughout California.
  • Receive notices from all state candidates of their intentions to seek a specific office and whether they intend to abide by voluntary spending limits.
  • Receive campaign disclosure statements (itemizing contributions received and expenditures made) filed by individuals and committees raising or spending campaign funds to support or oppose state candidates or ballot measures. (Local campaign committees file their itemized disclosure statements with local filing officers).
  • Post electronically filed campaign statements on the Secretary of State's Cal-Access website.
  • Provide technical assistance regarding campaign disclosure provisions of the Political Reform Act to state and local candidates and elected officials, treasurers of campaign committees, and the general public.
  • Review campaign documents to ensure compliance with reporting requirements.
  • Provide public access to all campaign disclosure documents.
  • Determine if campaign documents have been filed on time and impose and collect fines for late filings.

Lobbying

  • Register lobbying firms and lobbyist employers that make expenditures to lobby California State government.
  • Receive lobbying disclosure statements filed by lobbyists, employers of lobbyists, and lobbying firms. Post statements filed electronically or online on the Secretary of State's Cal-Access website.
  • Provide technical assistance regarding lobbying disclosure provisions of the Political Reform Act to lobbyists, lobbying firms, lobbyist employers, and the general public.
  • Review lobbying documents to ensure compliance with reporting requirements.
  • Provide public access to all lobbying disclosure filings.
  • Publish online The Lobbying Directory at the start of every two-year legislative session. Produce monthly Directory updates on the Internet.
  • Determine if lobbying documents have been filed on time and impose and collect fines for late filings.