Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

San Francisco Ethics Commission Audit Report: Jim Siegel For Supervisor District 5, FPPC ID #1264933

San Francisco Ethics Commission                           
30 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 3900
San Francisco CA  94102       
Phone 581-2300 Fax 581-2317

SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION AUDIT REPORT:

JIM SIEGEL FOR SUPERVISOR DISTRICT 5

I.          Introduction

This Audit Report summarizes the results of the audit of the committee, Jim Siegel for Supervisor District 5, Identification Number 1264933 (“the Committee”), for the period from January 1, 2004 through December 31, 2004.  The audit was conducted to determine whether the Committee materially complied with the requirements of the Political Reform Act (“the Act”) (California Government Code Section 81000, et seq.) and San Francisco’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (“CFRO”) and Electronic Filing Ordinance (S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Sections 1.100, et seq., and 1.300, et seq., respectively).

For the period covered by the audit, the Committee received $41,481 in contributions and $27,352 in public funds, and incurred expenditures of $68,833.  The CFRO provides that any candidate who receives public funds must return unexpended campaign funds to the Election Campaign Fund up to the amount of public funds received by the candidate.  The Commission staff determined that the Committee does not have unexpended funds and therefore is not required to return any money to the Election Campaign Fund.[1]

There was one material finding with respect to this Audit: the Committee failed to accrue expenses totaling $8,335, in violation of Government Code section 84211 and S.F. C&GC Code section 1.106.

II.        Committee Information

The Committee was formed in April 2004 to support the election of Jim Siegel to Member, Board of Supervisors District 5 in the November 2, 2004 general election.  Robert Speer served as the Committee’s treasurer.  The Committee received public funds for Jim Siegel’s 2004 supervisorial election campaign. The Committee filed a Statement of Termination on November 24, 2004 indicating that its filing obligations were completed on November 23, 2004. 

III.       Audit Authority

San Francisco Charter Section C3.699-11 authorizes the Ethics Commission to audit campaign statements that are filed with the Commission.  Section 1.150(a) of the CFRO requires the Commission to audit all candidates who receive public financing.  Audits of publicly financed candidates include a review of campaign statements and other relevant documents to determine whether the candidate complied with applicable requirements of State and local law.

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 applicable filing deadlines;
  2. Compliance with restrictions on contributions, loans and expenditures;
  3. Accuracy of total reported receipts, disbursements and cash balances as compared to bank records;
  4. Compliance with all record-keeping requirements; and
  5. Compliance with all provisions related to the Commission’s public financing program.

V.        Summary of Applicable Law

Government Code Section 84211(k) and S. F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 1.106: Reporting Accrued Expenses

Government Code Section 84211(k), which is incorporated into local law by C&GCC §1.106, requires that costs incurred by a committee, but not paid during the reporting period, be reported as “accrued expenditures.”  Committees must report the name and address of each creditor owed $100 or more, a written description of the goods or services purchased, and the amount owed. 

VI.       Material Findings

Government Code Section 84211(k) and S. F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 1.106: Failure to Report Accrued Expenses

The Committee did not report accrued expenses on the campaign statements that it filed.  The Committee incurred $8,335.44 in expenditures that were not paid during the reporting periods in which they were incurred.  The Committee reported the $8,335.44 in expenses on the campaign statements of the reporting periods during which they were paid.  As explained above, expenditures incurred but not paid during the same reporting period must be reported as accrued expenses on the campaign statements of the period during which the expenses were incurred.  Of the $8,335.44 in accrued expenses that the Committee did not report, $8,102.76 was required to be reported as accrued expenses on campaign statements that were due prior to the date of the election but reported on campaign statements due after the date of the election.

VII.     Committee’s Response to Findings

The Committee was provided with an opportunity to review and comment on this audit report. 

Mr. Siegel, the Candidate, stated that he tried his best to comply with all requirements and that any violation of law was completely unintentional.  He noted that: (1) he was a first-time candidate who was a novice at running for office and at learning about the various campaign finance and public finance requirements; (2) he attended workshops that were offered by the Ethics Commission and the Department of Elections; (3) he read the written materials that were available to candidates at the Ethics Commission’s Office; and (4) because he was a MAC user and not very computer literate, he was required to spend many hours at the Ethics Commission’s office in order to prepare his campaign statements.

Mr. Siegel said that with respect to the finding regarding accrued expenses, the Committee did not know the costs of items until it received a bill for said items, and that some vendors did not provide invoices until several weeks after the orders were placed.

VIII.    Conclusion

Through the examination of the Committee’s records and campaign disclosure statements, the auditor identified one material finding: the Committee failed to accrue expenses totaling $8,335, in violation of Government Code section 84211 and S.F. C&GC Code section 1.106.

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:  August 24, 2005

 


[1] Unexpended funds are calculated by subtracting any unpaid bills, on-going qualified campaign expenditures and forfeitures from the amount of cash that the Committee had on hand on the 30th day following the election in which the candidate was elected or defeated.

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