Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

San Francisco Ethics Commission Audit Report: Tom Ammiano for Mayor, FPPC ID #990924

AUDIT REPORT:

TOM AMMIANO FOR MAYOR

I. Introduction

This Audit Report contains information pertaining to the audit of the Tom Ammiano for Mayor Committee, Identification Number 990924 ("the Committee") for the period from January 1, 1999 through December 31, 1999. The audit was conducted to determine whether the Committee materially complied with the requirements and prohibitions imposed by the Political Reform Act ("the Act") (Government Code Section 81000, et seq.) and San Francisco's Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance ("CFRO") (S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 1.100, et seq., formerly S.F. Administrative Code Section 16.501, et seq.).1

For the period covered by the audit, the Committee received total contributions of $367,106 and incurred expenditures of $354,946. There was one material finding with respect to this Audit Report that pertained to the Committee's cash transactions: 1) the Committee failed to deposit at least $5,800 in cash contributions into the campaign bank account in violation of Government Code Section 85201(c); 2) the Committee then used these cash contributions to make cash expenditures in violation of Government Code Section 85201(e); and 3) of these cash expenditures, the Committee made ten expenditures totaling $2,182 that each equaled or exceeded $100.

II. Committee Information

The Committee was formed in July 1999 to support the election of Tom Ammiano for Mayor in the November 2, 1999 general election. The Committee executed its Statement of Organization on July 22, 1999, indicating that it had qualified as a committee on that same day. After the November 2, 1999 election, the Committee continued to exist to support Supervisor Ammiano's candidacy in the December 14, 1999 run-off election. The final campaign statement that was filed by the Committee covered the reporting period ending June 29, 2000. The Committee's treasurer was Esther Marks.

III. Audit Authority

San Francisco Charter Section C3.699-11(4) mandates that the Commission audit campaign statements and other relevant documents to determine whether campaign committees comply with applicable requirements and prohibitions imposed by State and local law. The Ethics Commission complies with this mandate by adopting a process by which committees are to be selected. The Committee was one of ten 1999 committees that were randomly selected for audit.

IV. Audit Scope and Procedures

This audit was performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The audit involved a thorough review of the Committee's records for the time period covered by the audit. This review was conducted to determine:

1. Compliance with all disclosure requirements pertaining to contributions, expenditures, accrued expenditures, and loans, including itemization when required;

2. Compliance with applicable filing deadlines;

3. Compliance with restrictions on contributions, loans and expenditures;

4. Accuracy of total reported receipts, disbursements and cash balances as compared to bank records; and

5. Compliance with all record-keeping requirements.

V. Summary of Applicable Law

Government Code Section 85201(c): Requirement to Deposit Contributions into Campaign Bank Account

The Act requires that all contributions or loans that are received by the candidate, a person on behalf of the candidate, or the candidate's controlled committee, be deposited into the campaign bank account. (Government Code Section 85201(c)).

Government Code Section 85201(e): Requirement to Make Expenditures from Campaign Bank Account

The Act requires that all expenditures be made from the campaign bank account. (Government Code Section 85201(e)).

Government Code Section 84300(b): Cash Expenditures of $100 or More

The Act prohibits cash expenditures that equal or exceed $100. (Government Code Section 84300(b)).

VI. Material Findings

Failure to deposit contributions prior to use and making cash expenditures of $100 or more

The Committee received cash contributions totaling at least $5,800 that were not deposited into its campaign bank account. Volunteers used such contributions to make cash expenditures for campaign supplies. Although most of these expenditures were less than $100 each, ten expenditures totaling $2,182 were each $100 or more. (Most of these ten expenditures were slightly over the $100 threshold.)

In explaining the circumstances under which the above-referenced events transpired, Ms. Marks stated the following:

The Tom Ammiano for Mayor campaign was a grass roots organization that within a matter of days had to organize into a full scale citywide mayoral campaign. This was made possible by a corps of over 4,000 volunteers. Although volunteers were instructed to turn over cash contributions for deposit to the campaign account, there were occasional emergency needs for supplies where volunteers reacted to the emergencies by taking whatever cash was available and buying the needed item(s). The $5,800 petty cash represents less than 1.6 percent of the total contributions received. It was reported in campaign finance reports and expenditures documented with receipts. No cash contribution was received in excess of $50 from an individual. Detailed full disclosure and documentation of contributions and expenditures were made in the advancement of the public's right to this information.

The auditor noted that the documentation of expenditures was preserved and made available for audit purposes. In addition, the Committee timely disclosed on its campaign statements that it made $5,800 in petty cash expenditures.

VII. Conclusion

Through the examination of the Committee's records and campaign disclosure statements, the Auditor found that the Committee improperly conducted some of its cash transactions: 1) the Committee failed to deposit at least $5,800 in cash contributions into the campaign bank account, in violation of Government Code Section 85201(c); 2) the Committee then used these cash contributions to make cash expenditures, in violation of Government Code Section 85201(e); and 3) of these cash expenditures, the Committee made ten expenditures totaling $2,182 that each equaled or exceeded $100. There were no other material findings with respect to this audit.

Audit reports are posted to the Commission's web site and are forwarded to the Members of the Ethics Commission and, in cases of a violation of law, to the appropriate enforcement agency.

Date:  June 26, 2001

1 During the period covered by the audit, the section of law was codified in the Administrative Code at Section 16.501, et seq. However, the section has since been recodified in the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code at Section 1.100, et seq.

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