What's New

The Public Ethics Commission provides educational resources about local ethics, campaign finance, and transparency rules and requirements. In an effort to keep you informed regarding new and updated laws, manuals, forms, and other Commission publications and services, this page will be updated as changes occur.


In November 2023, the Oakland City Council adopted amendments to the Lobbyist Registration Act (LRA). Notable changes to the LRA include a new annual lobbyist registration fee as well as a requirement that lobbyists take an online training provided by the Public Ethics Commission (PEC). See the full text of the Lobbyist Registration Act to read all of the recent amendments.

Annual Lobbyist Registration Fee

Beginning in 2024, the Lobbyist Registration Act requires lobbyists to pay an annual registration fee of $500 if the lobbyist registers between January 1 and June 30 or $250 if the local governmental lobbyist registers between July 1 and December 31. Registration is valid for the duration of the calendar year in which the registration fee is paid. Lobbyists must re-register annually during the month of January and pay the applicable registration fee.

Lobbyist Registration Fee Waiver or Reduction

The LRA allows the PEC to waive or reduce the lobbyist registration fee for lobbyists who meet certain criteria. Lobbyist registration fees will be waived for a lobbyist who:

  1. is a salaried employee, officer, or director of an organization or association that is exempt from taxation under 26 U.S.C. Sections 501(c)(3) and that received less than $750,000 in gross receipts; and
  2. is exclusively representing that organization.

Lobbyist registration fees will be reduced for a local governmental lobbyist who:

  1. is a salaried employee, officer, or director of any corporation, organization or association that received less than $200,000 in gross receipts or gross income; and
  2. is exclusively representing that corporation, organization or association.

The Public Ethics Commission may require that a local governmental lobbyist submit proof of an employer’s gross receipts or gross income to receive the fee reduction or fee waiver.

Change in Lobbyist Reporting Deadlines

Quarterly disclosure reports are now due no later than the last day of the month following the end of the quarter, rather than 30 days after the end of the quarter. This change will provide a consistent end-of-the-next-month filing deadline for all lobbyist reports. For example, lobbying disclosure reports for the fourth quarter of 2023, which ends on December 31, will now be due on January 31, 2024, instead of January 30, 2024.

New Per Diem Late Fees

If any lobbyist fails to submit any information required by the Lobbyist Registration Act after any applicable deadline, the Public Ethics Commission will impose a late filing fee of $10 per day after the deadline until the information is received by the Public Ethics Commission or the total amount of late fees reach $1,000.

Mandatory Lobbyist Training

To ensure lobbyists are aware of, and comply with, city laws relating to lobbying, all lobbyists must complete the PEC’s lobbyist training within 60 days of the lobbyist’s initial registration. Thereafter, local governmental lobbyists must complete additional training sessions as required by the Public Ethics Commission. The training will be provided by the PEC in the form of an online video recording, beginning in January of 2024. The Public Ethics Commission may invalidate a registration for failure to comply with training requirements.

Lobbying by Former Public Officials

Measure W also increased post-employment restrictions on former City officials. An officer of the City or person who has held the postion of department head or budget director cannot act as a government lobbyist for a period of two years after leaving office.

Public Funds for Campaigns

While the Democracy Dollars Program was set to take effect in 2024 elections, the Program was postponed to 2026 due to budgetary reasons, leaving Oakland with a gap in public financing for the upcoming 2024 election cycle. As a result, the Public Ethics Commission recommended that the Council reinstate Oakland's prior Limited Public Financing program for 2024. Council approved the ordinance in November 2023 ensuring that public financing will be available for qualifying 2024 candidates running for District City Council office.

Campaign Finance

With the passage of Measure W in November 2022, the Oakland Fair Elections Act (OFEA) took effect creating a new public campaign financing program (Democracy Dollars). In addition, Measure W includes important amendments to Oakand's campaign finance, transparency, and lobbying rules.

New Contribution Limits

Effective January 1, 2023, contribution limits for candidates are as follows:

Source Maximum Contribution

Individual, Business, or Other Organization


Broad-Based Political Committee*


*Not all political action committees qualify as broad-based committees. To qualify as a broad-based political committee the committee must meet all the following conditions:

1. In existence for more than six months,
2. Receive contributions from 100 or more persons, and
3. Make contributions to five or more candidates.

Supplemental Independent Expenditure Disclosure

The Oakland Campaign Reform Act requires that any committee or person required by state law to file a 24-hour or 10-day Late Independent Expenditure Report (FPPC Form 496) with the Public Ethics Commission also submit a Supplemental Independent Expenditure Disclosure (OCRA Form 305). Go to the online form.

Political Communications Disclaimers

Measure W includes new disclaimer requirements that must be incorporated in all campaign, officeholder, or legal defense communications. The disclaimer must include “Paid for by” immediately followed by the name, address, and city of that candidate or committee, and the committee identification number provided by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, if applicable. The address and city are not required in an audio communication.

It must also state that “Funding details are available on the Oakland Public Ethics Commission’s website.” All disclaimers must be presented in a clear and conspicuous manner to give the reader, observer, or listener adequate notice. See Oakland Campaign Reform Act Section 3.12.200 for specific disclaimer details.

Social Media Account Disclaimers

Any candidate or committee that uses social media accounts to disseminate political communications must include the following statement on each account’s home page:

This account is being used for campaign purposes by [name of candidate or committee].

If an elected City officeholder communicates about campaign activity or City business using a social media account or website that is not City sponsored, the home page for the account or site must include the following statement:

This [account or site] is not paid for, sponsored by, or hosted by the City of Oakland.

Please refer to Oakland Campaign Reform Act Section 3.12.220 for full information about social media requirements.

Voluntary Spending Limits

Eligibility Rule for New Democracy Dollars Public Financing Program

In order to participate in the new Democracy Dollars public financing program, candidates for elections in 2024 and thereafter must abide by new campaign spending limits as follows:

Office Voluntary Spending Limit



City Attorney


City Auditor


City Council Member At-Large


District City Council Member


School Board Director


Restrictions on Use of Personal Funds

Eligibility Rule for New Democracy Dollars Public Financing Program

To participate in the new Democracy Dollars public financing program, candidates for elections in 2024 and thereafter cannot use personal funds for campaign expenditures exceeding 8 percent of the expenditure limit for their office or $20,000, whichever is lower.

Restrictions on Contributions from Candidates to Other Committees

Eligibility Rule for New Democracy Dollars Public Financing Program

In addition, to be eligible to participate in the Democracy Dollars Program candidates for elections in 2024 and thereafter cannot knowingly solicit contributions for a committee or any other person or entity that has made or will make independent expenditures to support or oppose a candidate for City office.

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The Public Ethics Commission is an independent commission made up of Oakland residents and charged with ensuring fairness, openness, honesty and integrity in Oakland City government.

Our objective is to make sure Oakland public officials and government decision-making processes operate in a fair and unbiased manner, to promote transparency in Oakland government, and to promote public trust in our local political system.

The Commission's duties include ensuring compliance with the City of Oakland's government ethics, campaign finance, transparency, and lobbyist registration laws

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