San Francisco voters established the Ethics Commission in November 1993 by Amendment to the City Charter.The Commission serves the public, city employees and officials and candidates for public office through education and enforcement of ethics laws.
The Commission provides open access to public records in ethics-related matters.
The Commission acts as filing officer for, and auditor of, financial disclosure statements filed by political candidates and committees and designated City and County employees. The Commission assesses fees and penalties for failure to adhere to deadlines and requirements, audits statements to ensure compliance with contribution limits, administers an education program, and produces educational materials. It also oversees registration and regulation of campaign consultants, lobbyists, investigates ethics complaints, provides advice on ethical matters and publishes statistical reports.
Its duties include:
- filing and auditing of campaign finance disclosure statements
- campaign consultant registration and regulation
- lobbyist registration and regulation
- filing officer for Statements of Economic Interests
- administration of the Whistleblower program
- investigations of ethics complaints
- enforcement education and ethics training
- providing advice and statistical reporting
The Mission of the Ethics Commission is to practice and promote the highest standards of ethical behavior in government.
In order to accomplish the Mission of the San Francisco Ethics Commission, the Commission shall:
- Clearly inform candidates for public office, public employees, and other officials and members of the public of existing ethics laws and rules;
- Actively enforce all ethics laws and rules, including campaign finance and open government laws;
- Recommend new laws, rules, and programs that will lead to ethics compliance;
- Serve as a model for other elected and appointed officials and government employees;
- Faithfully adhere to its own Code of Ethics.
In order to set the highest standards of conduct, including the appearance of propriety in the operation of government, and in
order to assure public confidence in governing institutions, the Ethics Commission commits itself to:
- Encouraging and promoting integrity in government by education and example
- Fairly and objectively enforcing the city's ethics laws and regulations
- Being accountable for its rules of procedure and decisions, and stimulating accountability of all elected and appointed officials and government employees
- Creating reform within the political process to ensure fair and equitable consideration to public policy issues
- Treating all staff, members of the public, and colleagues with courtesy, respect, objectivity and fairness
- Assuring honesty in all matters that come before the commission, both individually and collectively
- Conducting all business in a timely manner and in public meetings, with full disclosure of policies, procedures, and decision-making processes, except in those matters as specified by the Brown Act and the San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance that may be dealt with in closed session
- Reviewing its actions, recommendations, and procedures periodically to determine if the Commission has adhered to its Code of Ethics and Mission in all respects.
- Ethics Commission By-Laws (Last updated 10/11)