August 6, 2008
John St. Croix
SF ETHICS COMMISSION ANNOUNCES THAT THE VOLUNTARY SPENDING LIMIT HAS BEEN LIFTED FOR BOARD OF SUPERVISORS CANDIDATES IN DISTRICT 7
The San Francisco Ethics Commission announced today that San Francisco’s $140,000 voluntary spending limit for candidates for the Board of Supervisors in the November election has been lifted in District 7. Elimination of the spending limit was triggered by a candidate who declined to accept the voluntary spending limit and has funds in his Campaign Contribution Trust Account in excess of the spending limit. The lifting of the spending limit does not apply to any candidate who may receive public funds (see discussion below).
Under the City’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, the voluntary spending limit for candidates for the office of Board of Supervisors is lifted in a particular district if a candidate who does not agree to abide by the spending limit receives contributions, makes qualified campaign expenditures, or has funds in his or her Campaign Contribution Trust Account in excess of 100 percent of the $140,000 voluntary spending limit. The limit is also lifted when a committee, or committees in the aggregate, make independent expenditures to support or oppose a candidate that exceed 100 percent of the $140,000 spending limit.
Today, Sean Elsbernd, a candidate for the Board of Supervisors seat in District 7, filed forms indicating that he declined to accept the spending limit, and that he has raised contributions for his campaign in excess of $140,000. Accordingly, by law, the Ethics Commission is required to lift the spending limit in District 7.
The Commission has notified all supervisorial candidates in District 7 that the spending limit is no longer in effect in that district. The $140,000 spending limit remains effective in Districts 1, 3, 4, 5, 9, and 11. The $98,000 spending limit remains effective in races for the Board of Education and Community College Board. This is the first voluntary ceiling to be lifted for the November 4, 2008 election.
As of today, no candidate in District 7 has applied for or been certified to receive public funds. If a candidate is certified to receive public funds, he or she must abide by his or her Individual Expenditure Ceiling, which begins at $140,000, and may be raised in increments of $10,000 based on the opposition spending against the participating candidate or total supportive funds of the candidate’s opponents. If a candidate in District 7 were to be certified as eligible to receive public funds, all candidates in the district would be required to file Form SFEC-152(a)-2 within 24 hours of receiving contributions, making expenditures or having funds in the Campaign Contribution Trust Account that equal or exceed $100,000 and for every $10,000 thereafter. Any person making independent expenditures, electioneering communications, or member communications in support of or in opposition to a candidate would be required to file Form SFEC-152(a)-3 within 24 hours of spending $5,000 or more. Additional information about the public financing program is available on the Commission’s website at www.sfgov.org/ethics.
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The Ethics Commission, established in November 1993, serves the public, City employees and officials and candidates for public office through education and enforcement of ethics laws. Its duties include: filing and auditing of campaign finance disclosure statements, lobbyist and campaign consultant registration and regulation, administration of the public financing program and whistleblower program, conflict of interest reporting, investigations and enforcement, education and training, advice giving and statistical reporting.
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S:\PRESS\CFRO\Nov 2008\08.06.08_Lift VEC_District 7.doc