Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Press Release – April 14, 2009 – SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN AT APRIL 13, 2009 MEETING

April 14, 2009

PRESS RELEASE

 

Contact:                                                                                 For release:

John St. Croix                                                                       April 14, 2009

(415) 252-3100

 

SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN AT APRIL 13, 2009 MEETING

 

At its meeting on April 13, 2009, the San Francisco Ethics Commission took the following actions:

  • Rejected, by a vote of 2-3, a motion to withdraw an informal advice letter that the Commission’s Executive Director had issued to Enrique Pearce to advise that section 1.118 of the San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code (“C&GC Code”) imposes liability on a candidate’s committee, not the candidate, to pay the debts of the campaign.
  • Approved, by a vote of 5-0, a draft formal advice letter to Patrick Buscovich to advise that members of the Board of Examiners are not subject to the compensated advocacy ban under section 3.224 of the C&GC Code because such members are not officers under Administrative Code section 1.50.
  • Received public comment on and voted on the following staff proposals to amend the Lobbyist Ordinance, C&GC Code section 2.100 et seq.:
  1. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to require lobbyists to disclose activities on a monthly basis, and a Commission policy to revisit the frequency and timing of filing requirements within six months of the date of implementation of an electronic filing system;
  2. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to streamline information that must be reported when an individual registers as a lobbyist;   
  3. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to require lobbyists to disclose the dates of their contacts with City officers;
  4. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to require lobbyists to disclose information such as the local legislative or administrative action that they sought to influence, including, if any, the time and file number of any resolution, motion, appeal, application, entitlement, or contact, and the outcome sought by the client, as well as the economic consideration received or expected by the lobbyist from each client during the reporting period;
  5. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to require disclosure of additional information regarding political contributions made, arranged, or delivered by a lobbyist or made by a client at the behest of the lobbyist or lobbyist’s employer, including the amount and date of the contribution, name and street address of the contributor, contributor’s occupation and employer, or if self-employed, the name of the contributor’s business, and the committee to which the contribution was made;
  6. Voted, by a vote of 5-0, to reject a proposed amendment to delete the requirement that lobbyists report contributions to any ballot measure committee that is not controlled by a City elective officer;
  7. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to authorize the Commission to establish procedures to permit organizations to register and submit disclosure reports on behalf of their lobbyist employees;
  8. Approved, by a vote of 3-2, an amendment to lower the registration fee for lobbyists to $100 per year;
  9. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, amendments to delete the requirements of client authorization statements, client termination statements, and lobbyist termination statements;
  10. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to prohibit lobbyists from making gifts worth more than $25 to City officers and employees (the current limit is $50), and to incorporate the regulatory exceptions to the restricted source gift rule under C&GC section 3.216(b); 
  11. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to require lobbyists to undergo a training during the first year of registration and thereafter as necessary as determined by the Executive Director;
  12. Voted, by a vote of 5-0, not to amend section 2.117, which bars any campaign consultant from lobbying his or her current or former client;
  13. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment of section 2.140(a) so that it reads, “The Ethics Commission shall prescribe the format for the submission of all information required by this Chapter;”
  14. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to delete the requirements that the Ethics Commission issue registration numbers to registered lobbyists, provide a copy of the Ordinance to each lobbyist, and issue a “Notice of Registration Required” upon the request of any City officer;
  15. Approved, by a vote of 4-1, amendments to state that upon request of the Board of Supervisors or the Mayor, the Ethics Commission shall compile information submitted by lobbyists and forward a report to the Board and the Mayor; and that upon the request of the Board of Supervisors or the Mayor, the Commission shall file a report to with the Board and the Mayor on the implementation of the Ordinance;
  16. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to require the Commission to provide such reports regarding lobbyist activities or the implementation of the Lobbyist Ordinance within 30 days of the receipt of a request; and
  17. Approved, by a vote of 5-0, an amendment to permit the Commission to issue warming letters regarding potential violations of the Ordinance.

 

Note:  The above changes will not go into effect until the Commission completes its discussion of all the proposed changes and the Board of Supervisors has considered and approved them, subject to the Mayor's veto authority.  The Commission will continue its consideration of the remaining staff amendments at its May 11, 2009 meeting. 

 

The Commission’s next meeting will be held on Monday, May 11, 2009, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 408 City Hall. 

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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, whistleblower program, conflict of interest reporting, investigations and enforcement, education and training, advice giving and statistical reporting.  

 

S:\Commission\Meeting Summaries\2009\4.13.09.doc

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