The Act requires the FPPC to conduct an ongoing program of mandatory audits. The Act also permits the FPPC to conduct discretionary audits.
Included in each audit are all campaign statements filed by all candidates for elective office, from statewide offices to local jurisdictions, as well as all reports filed by lobbying firms and lobbyist employers. Statements filed by state ballot measure committees and state general purpose committees are also included. The majority of the audits authorized under the Act are conducted by a special unit of the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the findings, known as audit reports, are sent to the FPPC. The FPPC is responsible for auditing the statements filed by candidates for state controller, state Board of Equalization, and the Board of Administration of the Public Employees’ Retirement System.
All candidates and committees are required to keep detailed accounts, records, bills, and receipts as necessary to prepare their campaign statements and reports. These are the records that will be requested and must be produced in response to a notice that the FPPC or FTB is conducting an audit of your campaign. Regulation 18401 details the Required Recordkeeping for most campaigns.
The Selection Process
All candidates for statewide office, supreme court, court of appeal, and Board of Equalization are subject to audit if they have raised or spent $25,000 or more. Additionally, all state ballot measure committees which have spent more than $10,000 and all candidates for the legislature in a special election who have raised or spent $15,000 or more are subject to audit. The FPPC determines the remainder of the audit workload in a series of random drawings conducted shortly after each two-year election cycle.
Statewide candidates who have raised less and spent less than $25,000: 10% of these candidates are selected for audit.
Lobbying firms and lobbyist employers: 25% of the lobbying firms and 25% of the lobbyist employers are selected for audit.
Legislative districts and contested superior court offices: 25% of the senate districts, assembly districts, and
contested superior court offices are selected. Candidates who raised or spent $15,000 or more in the selected races are subject to audit.
General purpose committees that have raised or spent more than $10,000: Committees that have not been audited — or that have not been determined to be in compliance — are all subject to audit. Of the previously audited committees that were found to be in compliance with the Act, 25% are selected.
Local jurisdictions: A group of twenty local jurisdictions, including eight counties, eight cities, two school districts and two special districts, is selected. If the Franchise Tax Board has additional audit hours available after completion of this workload, a second group of twenty jurisdictions is provided.
CalPERS Board of Administration: Candidates for the Board of Administration of the Public Employees’ Retirement System are subject to audit if they have received contributions aggregating $5,000 or more for an election.
How to File a Complaint
Anyone who suspects a violation of the Act should file a sworn complaint with the Enforcement Division.