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Executive Director’s Report – May 11, 2009


May 11, 2009
For the Meeting of May 11, 2009

1.   FY 09-10 Budget. 
As reported previously, all City departments have been instructed to submit a budget with a 25 percent cut from current year levels.  If a 25 percent cut is mandated, the Commission will be looking at a cut of $401, 400.  Based on the Commission’s instructions, staff has instead submitted a budget based on FY 08-09 figures.  The Mayor’s general fund budget is expected June 1.

At the April 28, 2009 meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Campos requested that there be a hearing regarding the “Ethics Commission Priorities” for the coming year.  The Rules Committee apparently plans to hold such a hearing in response to this request.  This is not the same as the scheduled budget hearings; Ethics is scheduled to appear before the BOS Budget and Finance Committee on June 18 and 25.    The request for the special hearing did not come from the Ethics Commission.

2.  Investigation and enforcement program.
Since its last regular meeting on April 13, 2009, the Commission has received no new complaints.  There are currently 18 complaints pending in the Commission’s jurisdiction.

Category # of Complaints
Campaign Finance 8
Conflict of Interest 3
Governmental Ethics 2
Lobbyist Ordinance 1
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 2
Sunshine Ordinance 2

3.   Campaign finance disclosure program.
a. Filing deadline.  The last filing deadline occurred on April 30, 2009 for Quarterly statements, which covers the reporting period January 1, 2009 through March 31, 2009.  Only two committees were required to have reported for this period.  Both committees have filed their statements on time.  The next filing deadline is July 31, 2009 for the First Semi-Annual statements, which covers the reporting period beginning the day after the closing date of the last statement filed, or January 1, 2009 through June 30, 2009.

Staff conducted an initial analysis of campaign finance filings received during the period April 8 through May 6.  The analysis showed that by May 6, the Commission received 81 campaign finance filings (27 electronic filings and 54 paper filings).

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  Campaign finance collections as of May 6th for FY 08-09 totaled $44,410, based on filings made during current and previous fiscal years.  By comparison, campaign finance collections as of May 6th in prior fiscal years were as follows:

Fiscal year Collections by May 6 Total collections in FY
02-03 $42,384 $49,322
03-04 $45,395 $51,607
04-05 $89,629 $199,524
05-06 $74,319 $85,390
06-07 $104,596 $119,814
07-08 $61,685 $65,035

The $44,410 amount is based on prior assessments as follows:

FY when assessed Amount collected in 08-09
05-06 $1,722.38
06-07 $115.00
07-08 $8,524.95


Total: $44,410.45

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

FY when assessed Amount assessed Amount waived in FY
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 $281,014 $106,106

To date, the outstanding balance of late fees assessed from the current and previous years, including $72,281 in fees that have been referred to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues, is $179,815, down from $191,572 as last reported.  Staff continues to receive and process requests for waiver of late fees. 

The current outstanding balance of contribution forfeitures assessed as a result of the defective reporting of contributor information and contribution limit violations is $71,518, up from $44,518 as last reported.  The $71,518 amount consists of forfeitures from the 2005-2006 filing periods and does not include forfeiture assessments from the 2008 filing period.  Staff continues to process requests for reversal and waiver for most of the $71,518 amount of forfeitures.  The individual late fees and forfeitures are listed below.

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

Number Committee/Filer ID # Treasurer or Responsible Officer Date referral effective Original amount referred Last month’s balance Current balance (Changes are in bold)

1 Committee to Elect Rebecca Silverberg 1220430 Lucia Paulazzo 5/6/05 $21,086.00 $21,086.00 $21,086.00
2 Yick Tsun Society, Inc. PEN1078 Florence Fang 8/16/05 $7,550.00 $7,550.00 $7,550.00
3 SEIU Local 87 PEN951 Mike Garcia & Michael Baratz 8/25/05 $14,350.00 $14,350.00 $14,350.00
5 Johnnie Carter for Community College Board 1226264 Johnnie Carter 6/16/06  
7 Micheas Herman PEN788 Micheas Herman 6/26/06 $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
8 San Franciscans for Fair & Honest Government 1258209 Erik Howell 10/20/06 $4,659.22 $4,659.22 $4,659.22
9 Myrna Viray Lim for District 11 Supervisor 1256697 Jia Jun Chen 4/27/07 $3,855.00 $3,855.00 $3,855.00
10 Committee to Elect M. Valle for Treasurer 1278937 Manuel B. Valle 6/14/07 $5,525.00 $5,525.00 $5,525.00
11 Shawn Westcott PEN1102 Shawn Westcott 6/18/07 $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
12 Committee to Elect Vilma Guinto-Peoro Supervisor District #2 1291394 Vilma Guinto-Peoro 6/18/07 $10.00 $10.00 $10.00
13 Bill Barnes for District 5 1265969 Alix Rosenthal 1/3/08 $3,120 $3,120 $3,120
14 Care Not Cash 1244505 Ronald Jin 2/29/08 $5,331 $5,331 $5,331

4.  Revenues report. 
For FY 08-09, the Commission is budgeted to generate $175,000 in revenues.  As of May 5, 2009, the Commission received $104,558 as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 60 percent of expected revenues for FY 08-09. 

Revenues Received as of  May 5, 2009

Source Budgeted Amount FY 08-09 Receipts
Lobbyist Fees $40,000 $32,793
Other Ethics General $1,000 $618
Campaign Finance Fines $105,000 $42,439
Campaign Consultant Fees $5,000 $19,822
Lobbyist Fines $1,000 $1,700
Statements of Economic Interests Fines $1,000 $1,330
Other Ethics Fines $20,000 $5,807
Campaign Consultant Fines $2,000 $50
Total $175,000 $104,558

5.  Public financing/Campaign finance audit program.
Staff is completing the 2007 audits and also working on audits of candidates who received public financing in 2008.  Staff has also completed the 2008 Report on San Francisco’s Limited Public Financing Program, which will be considered by the Commission at the May 11 meeting.

6.  Lobbyist program. 
There are currently 41 lobbyists registered with the Commission.  In the 2008-2009 fiscal year, $32,793 in registration fees and $1700 in fines have been collected, for a total of $34,493.  The First Quarter 2009 lobbyist filing was due April 15, 2009, with 42 lobbyists filing (one lobbyist terminated during this period).  The First Quarter 2009 summary was released on May 5, 2009.

7.  Campaign Consultant program. 
As of May 5, 2009, nineteen campaign consultants are active and registered with the Commission.  In the 2008-2009 fiscal year, $19,822 in registration fees and $50 in fines have been collected, for a total of $19,872.  The next quarterly report is due on Monday, June 15, 2009.  Staff will send reminder notices to all active campaign consultants two weeks prior to the deadline.

8. Statements of Economic Interests.
April 1 was the deadline for designated officers and employees to file their annual Statement of Economic Interests (“SEIs”).  Staff continues to process incoming SEIs and Sunshine Ordinance Declarations, by logging them into a database and scanning them for upload to the Commission’s website.  A list of filers is viewable on the Commission’s website.

The following table reflects annual statements filed as of May 6, 2009.

Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) 560 696

Of the 136 non-filers, 73 have left office and 63 are currently in office.  Two non-filers who are currently in office filed copies instead of originals. Thus, 61 current office-holders are non-filers as of May 6. 

Staff issued 136 non-filer and 27 late fee notices on May 6, 2009.  Staff sent late notices for 29 Assuming Office SEIs and ten Leaving Office SEIs on May 6, 2009.  Staff returned 16 SEIs to filers who are not required to file with the Ethics Commission.

Enforcement staff continues to audit departments for SEI filing compliance.  Since the Commission’s last meeting, staff has audited the following departments, each of which had a 100% compliance rate:  1) Public Utilities Commission; 2) Sheriff’s Department; 3) Mayor’s Office of Community Development; 4) Board of Examiners; 5) Finance Corporation; 6) Golden Gate Park Concourse Authority; 7) Health Authority; 8) City Administrator; 9) City Attorney’s Office; 10) Civil Service Commission; 11) Board of Supervisors; 12) Fine Arts Museum.

9.  Outreach and Education.
On April 28, 2009, staff met with Elena Panfilova, Director of the Center for Anti-Corruption Research and Initiatives, Transparency International – Russia.  Ms. Panfilova, an expert in anti-corruption in transitional economies who works to develop and encourage an engaged citizenry to promote the rule of law within Russia, is an Eisenhower Fellow traveling in the U.S. to visit with governmental agencies to learn about systems that have advanced anti-corruption efforts. 

On Friday, April 24, 2009 the Ethics Commission held a joint hearing with the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force to discuss issues of mutual concern, particularly referrals to the Ethics Commission from the SOTF.  Staff is working on follow-up research and will provide proposals in response.  It is possible that there will be a follow-up hearing.

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 Board of Supervisors, General Services Agency, and the Port of San Francisco.  The following trainings are the currently scheduled for 2009:

Department of Public Health SIA Training:  June 23
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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