Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – February 9, 2009

February 09, 2009

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Meeting of February 9, 2009

1.   FY 09-10 Budget. 
As noted in the last report, all City departments have been instructed to reduce their General Fund budgets by 12.5 percent with an additional 12.5 percent contingency plan for FY 09-10.  A 12.5 percent target for the Ethics Commission amounts to a cut of $200,770.  If a 25 percent cut is mandated, the Commission will be looking at a cut of $401, 400.   At its last meeting, the Commission voted to submit a budget based on FY 08-09 figures.

2.  Investigation and enforcement program.
Since its last regular meeting on January 12, 2009, the Commission has received one new complaint.  There are currently 25 complaints pending in the Commission’s jurisdiction.

CategoryNumber of Complaints
Campaign Finance9
Conflict of Interest4
Governmental Ethics2
Lobbyist Ordinance1
Campaign Consultant Ordinance2
Sunshine Ordinance2
Total:20

3.   Campaign finance disclosure program.
a. Filing deadline.  The last filing deadline occurred on February 2, 2009 for the second semi-annual statement, which covers the reporting period beginning the day after the closing date of the last statement filed, or January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008.  All active committees are required to file for this period.  Staff continues to do outreach with all local committees, candidates and treasurers via U.S. postal mail, email, phone, and fax to update them on their campaign finance filing obligations.

Staff conducted an initial analysis of campaign finance filings received for this deadline.  The analysis showed that by February 3, the Commission received 536 campaign finance filings (167 electronic filings and 369 paper filings).  Staff continues to enter filings into the campaign database.  The table below details the forms processed by staff.  For the most part, three staff members processed these campaign finance filings.

Electronic and Paper Filings Received from 1.1.09 through 2.3.09
Form NameNumber of Filings
FPPC 410 (Statement of Organization)89
FPPC 460 (Consolidated Campaign Disclosure Report)356
FPPC 461 (Independent Expenditure Committee and Major Donor Committee Campaign Statement)9
FPPC 465 (Supplemental Independent Expenditure Report)51
Miscellaneous Forms
(SFEC and FPPC)
31
Total:536

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  Campaign finance collections as of February 4th for FY 08-09 totaled $19,387, based on filings made during current and previous fiscal years.  This amount does not include payments received for 2008 period contribution forfeitures, which are included in the Other Ethics Fines revenue category.  By comparison, campaign finance collections as of February 4th in prior fiscal years were as follows:

strong>Fiscal yearCollections by Feb. 4Total collections in FY
02-03$18,746$49,322
03-04$32,420$51,607
04-05$56,538$199,524
05-06$42,315$85,390
06-07$50,159$119,814
07-08$53,100$65,035

The $19,387 amount is based on prior assessments as follows:

FY when assessedAmount collected in 08-09
05-06$375.00
06-07$0
07-08$7,678.70
08-09$11,333.50
Total:$19,387.20

FY 08-09 waivers, as well as waivers from past years provided for comparison, are as follows:

FY when assessedAmount assessedAmount waived
04-05$907,069$683,086
05-06$546,859$342,901
06-07$181,831$50,347
07-08$217,444$159,880
08-09$111,109$61,308

To date, the outstanding balance of late fees assessed from the current and previous years, including accounts that have been referred to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues, is $109,598, down from $112,608 as last reported.  Staff continues to receive and process requests for waiver. 

The current outstanding balance of contribution forfeitures assessed as a result of the defective reporting of contributor information and contribution limit violations is $60,509, down from $60,709 as last reported.  This amount does not include forfeiture assessments from the 2008 filing period.  Staff continues to process requests for reversal and waiver for a portion of the outstanding forfeitures that have been assessed. 

c. Status of accounts to San Francisco Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR).  The following chart provides details on pending accounts referred to BDR:

#Committee/
Filer
ID #Treasurer or Responsible OfficerDate referral effectiveOriginal amount referredLast month’s balanceCurrent balance (Changes are in bold)
1Committee to Elect Rebecca Silverberg1220430Lucia Paulazzo5/6/05$21,086.00$21,086.00$21,086.00
2Yick Tsun Society, Inc.PEN1078Florence Fang8/16/05$7,550.00$7,550.00$7,550.00
3SEIU Local 87PEN951Mike Garcia & Michael Baratz8/25/05$14,350.00$14,350.00$14,350.00
4San Francisco Women’s Political Committee1243711Giselle Barry5/25/06 & 9/18/06$1,906.50$2,101.50$2,101.50
5Johnnie Carter for Community College Board1226264Johnnie Carter6/16/06$9,520.00$7,595.00$7,095.00
6John Kosinski 20041262487John Kosinski6/26/06$200.00$200.00$100.00
7Micheas HermanPEN788Micheas Herman6/26/06$100.00$100.00$100.00
8San Franciscans for Fair & Honest Government1258209Erik Howell10/20/06$4,659.22$4,659.22$4,659.22
9Myrna Viray Lim for District 11 Supervisor1256697Jia Jun Chen4/27/07$3,855.00$3,855.00$3,855.00
10Committee to Elect M. Valle for Treasurer1278937Manuel B. Valle6/14/07$5,525.00$5,525.00$5,525.00
11Shawn WestcottPEN1102Shawn Westcott6/18/07$100.00$100.00$100.00
12Committee to Elect Vilma Guinto-Peoro Supervisor District #21291394Vilma Guinto-Peoro6/18/07

$10.00$10.00$10.00
13Bill Barnes for District 51265969Alix Rosenthal1/3/08$3,120

$3,120$3,120
14Care Not Cash1244505Ronald Jin2/29/08$5,331$5,331$5,331

f.  Update on FPPC Regulation.  At its last meeting, the Ethics Commission approved comments related to proposed Fair Political Practice Commission Regulation 18247.5, which sought to provide guidance on what constitutes a primarily formed or general purpose committee, and what constitutes a state, county or city committee.  Staff is pleased to report that after receiving the Commission’s comments, the FPPC abandoned the $50,000 expenditure threshold that would have delineated a state committee in favor of a 50 percent activity threshold.  Thus, a committee that makes more than 50 percent of its contributions or expenditures in the same consolidated city and county would be deemed a city committee.  In addition, the FPPC modified the three-year look-back provision by which a committee could determine its status; instead, the FPPC now requires a committee to look at its activities during the current two-year period that begins with January 1 of an odd-numbered year and ends with December 1 of the following even-numbered year, or the immediately preceding 24 months, to determine whether it is a state, local, primarily formed or general purpose committee.

4.  Revenues report. 
For FY 07-08, the Commission is budgeted to generate $175,000 in revenues.  As of February 2, 2009, the Commission received $67,290, as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of 38.45 percent of expected revenues for FY 08-09. 

Revenues Received as of  February 2,  2009

SourceBudgeted Amount FY 08-09Receipts
Campaign Finance Fines$105,000$17,480
Lobbyist Fees$40,000$26,008
Lobbyist Fines$1,000$1,700
Campaign Consultant Fees$5,000$17,203
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$50
Statements of Economic Interests Fines$1,000$1,330
Other Ethics General$1,000$339
Other Ethics Fines$20,000$3,180
Total:$175,000$67,290

5.  Public financing/Campaign finance audit program.
Staff is working to finalize the remaining 2006 audits and has begun work on 2007 audits.  Publicly financed candidates from the 2008 election are required to submit records no later than February 15, 2009.  Staff will begin audits of publicly financed candidates immediately after completing the 2007 audits. 

Staff will begin work on the Report on Public Financing in the 2008 Election after all candidates’ semi-annual statements have been submitted. 

Recently, audit staff distributed a summary of the questionnaire responses regarding the November 2008 election, reminded publicly financed candidates that their records are due on February 15, and assisted with questions related to the filing of the semi-annual campaign disclosure statement.

In addition, staff recently met with Supervisor Chris Daly to discuss possible amendments and improvements to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (CFRO) based on the Commission’s experience with the public financing program in the November 2008 election.  Staff anticipates that proposed amendments to the CFRO will be forthcoming in the not too-distant future.

6.  Lobbyist program. 
On January 27, 2009, ethics staff conducted two Interested Persons meetings on proposed changes to the Lobbyist Ordinance.  Based on comments received, staff has modified some of the proposed amendments, which will be presented to the Commission for consideration at the February meeting.

There are currently 42 lobbyists registered with the Commission.  The next quarterly lobbyist filing is due April 15, 2009.  

7.  Campaign Consultant program. 
As of February 2, 2009, there are 14 campaign consultants registered with the Commission.  As of February 2, 2009, 23 campaign consultants who were active in 2008 have not terminated or re-registered for 2009.  Staff is currently determining whether campaign consultants who are currently inactive will re-register or terminate their status. 

The deadline for the fourth quarter 2008 quarterly report was on December 19, 2008.  In total, 41 campaign consultants filed reports, four of which were late.  The next campaign consultant quarterly report deadline (covering the first quarter of 2009) is Monday, March 16, 2009.  Staff will send reminder notices to all active campaign consultants two weeks prior to the deadline.

8. Statements of Economic Interests. 
Enforcement staff has continued auditing departments for Statement of Economic Interests (“SEI”) filing compliance.  Since the Commission’s last meeting, staff has audited the following departments, each of which had a 100% compliance rate:  1) Small Business Commission;
2) Sunshine Ordinance Task Force; and 3) San Francisco Transportation Authority.

Staff is preparing for the 2009 annual filings of the SEI and the Sunshine Ordinance, which are due on April 1, 2009.  Staff has begun and will continue to provide several trainings, one set geared towards commission secretaries and department heads who must distribute the forms and another set geared towards persons who must file the forms.  The training dates are listed below in this report. 

Staff has provided blank forms for the SEI, Sunshine Declaration and AB1234 Ethics training in the Commissioners’ packets.  The SEI and Sunshine Declaration forms are due no later than April 1, 2009.  Most of the members of the Commission fulfilled their ethics training requirements last year and thus do not need to file the ethics training form this year. 

This year the City Attorney will not be providing a live training on the Sunshine Ordinance and ethics laws.  To satisfy the training requirements, please watch last year’s video, which is available at www.sfgov.org/cityattorney.

9.  Outreach and Education.
On January13, 2009, staff met with Akram Belkaid, a visitor from France who was visiting to discuss the structure and function of democracy in the United States; the interaction of federal, state and local government; and approaches to civil service reform.  Mr. Belkaid was a participant in the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program and was sponsored by the International Visitor Leadership Program and the Institute of International Education/West Coast Center. 

On January 23, 2009, ethics staff conducted a Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) Training for Filing Officers and Commission secretaries covering roles and responsibilities, how to conduct a facial audit if the SEI, how to manage the filings of designated employees, department heads, and members of boards and commissions.

Ethics staff continues to provide trainings on conflict of interest laws and the Statements of Incompatible Activities (SIA) to City departments.  Recent trainings have included the Department of Human Resources and the Department of Recreation and Park. 

The following trainings are the currently scheduled for 2009:

Treasurer and Tax Collector SIA Training:  February 19 (two sessions)
Adult Probation Department SIA Training:  February 23
SEI Training:  March 3, 10, 18, and 26
Department of Building Inspection SIA Training:  March 23, 24, and 25
Port of San Francisco SIA Training:  April 2, 16 and 21
Public Utilities Commission SIA Training:  June 24, July 16, and July 27
Department of Children Youth and their Families SIA Training:  July 28

Respectfully submitted,

_________________________
John St. Croix
Executive Director       

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