NOTICE: Digital Signature Lobbying Filing
Digital Signature Filing Instructions for Lobbying Filings
Digital Filing Frequently Asked Questions
Beginning January 1, 2023, filers required by the Political Reform Act of 1974 to file a report or statement by paper with the Secretary of State may instead file the paper report or statement by email. Additionally, the requirement that a copy must accompany an original report or statement filed with the SOS in paper format has been eliminated.
All statements must be signed using a verified digital signature consistent with FPPC Regulation 18104(b) (2). To comply with this requirement, see FPPC guidance.
**IMPORTANT: If you are required to file electronically or online, that obligation and method of filing remains unchanged. This guidance pertains only to filings previously required to be filed by paper. Filing statements by email does not satisfy the online filing requirement under GC 84605 (Political Reform Act) to file electronically with the Secretary of State in CAL-ACCESS. If your filing is received and filed by email, it only fulfills your obligation to file a report or statement by paper.
Filings received with a scanned copy of a signature or without a digital signature that qualifies as a “secure electronic signature” pursuant to the FPPC regulation and guidance referenced above will not be processed.
The California Secretary of State, Political Reform Division is currently processing lobbying registration for the 2023-2024 Legislative Session. We appreciate your patience as we continue to update our Cal-Access website.
Lobbying entities who incur $2,500 in lobbying activity in a quarterly filing period, must file electronically or online for that quarter and all subsequent quarterly filing periods (regardless of the level of activity). Lobbying entities subject to this electronic filing obligation include: a) lobbying firms; b) lobbyist employers; c) lobbyists; d) lobbying coalitions; and e) all other persons who spend $2,500 or more to influence legislative or state agency administrative action. For further information read our FAQ concerning electronic filing.
Lobbying firms and lobbyist employers register with the Office of the Secretary of State. Lobbyists do not independently register apart from their affiliated firm or employer. Rather, lobbyists supply a certification statement to be included with their own firm's or employer's registration.
Lobbying Disclosure Statements
Lobbying firms and lobbyist employers file quarterly lobbying disclosure statements with the Office of the Secretary of State, using prescribed forms by required deadlines. Lobbyists do not independently file disclosure statements. Rather, lobbyists must supply a completed lobbyist report, within two weeks following the end of each quarter, to be included with their own firm's or employer's quarterly disclosure statements.
Penalties For Late Filings Of Disclosure Statements
A filer is responsible for filing statements or reports on time. Late filing impedes the public’s access to campaign finance and lobbying information. A main purpose of the Political Reform Act is to obtain filing of the campaign and lobbying disclosure statements required by statute. To encourage timely filing, the Act imposes $10 per day liability for late filing of statements or reports. (See Government Code section 91013.)
To see a list of filers who have been assessed a liability, review our Outstanding Fines for Late Filings.
A request for waiver of liability must be submitted on a Form PRD-1 (PDF). The Secretary of State will consider a request to waive liability for late filing fines when we can conclude both that the late filing was not willful and that imposing the liability will not further the purposes of the Political Reform Act. (See Government Code section 91013.) This form must be filed under penalty of perjury within 30 days of receiving a liability notification.
For more information, review our Guidelines for Waiver of Liability of Late Filing Fines.