Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Records Required for Audit1

Cal. Gov’t. Code § 84104, 2 Cal. Code of Regs. § 18401, and S.F. C&GC § 1.109

CONTRIBUTIONS RECEIVED

(monetary contributions, loans and in-kind contributions)

  • Deposit records: copies of deposit slips and receipts; copies of all contributions made by checks, credit cards and other methods; signed contributor cards for cash contributions; and letters from contributors regarding attribution and aggregation.
  • Contributor-related correspondence, including remit envelopes and notices to possible major donors.
  • Worksheets used to record contributions (should include date of receipt, date of deposit, deposit batch number, amount of contribution, and contributors’ information).
  • Loan agreements, records of outstanding balances and copies of related checks.
  • Letters from contributors valuing in-kind contributions and committee prepared documentation of in-kind contributions.

EXPENDITURES

  • Canceled checks, invoices, bills, receipts and correspondence for expenditures made.
  • Contracts with consultants, employees, vendors, and independent contractors/agents (i.e., for professional services, office space, equipment rental and purchase of products).
  • Documentation regarding the purchase and disposition of campaign assets/equipment.
  • Petty cash records (i.e., receipts, invoices, petty cash register).
  • Payroll records (i.e., timesheets, contracts, emails, names of workers, payments and date, time and description of services provided by workers).

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Bank statements (including bank statements for the months preceding and following the audit period) and other bank documents such as debit and credit memos.
  • Check register (preferred in electronic format).
  • Samples of all mass mailings sent, including costs, dates mailed, number of pieces mailed and supporting expenditure documentation.
  • Transcripts and recordings of telephone messages and a record of the date and number of calls made for each recorded message.
  • Samples of any other types of communications paid for by the committee.
  • Documents relating to miscellaneous increases to cash, including public funds.
  • For expenditures of gifts, meals, or travel, Candidate Controlled Committees must include the itemized source documentation, the names of the individuals for whom the expenditure was paid, a brief description of the purpose of the expenditure, and the information required by 2 Cal. Code of Regs. (CCR) § 18421.7

GUIDELINES FOR ORGANIZING CAMPAIGN RECORDS2

CONTRIBUTIONS RECORDS

  • Organize each deposit batch with the following: list of contributions, copy of deposit slip and receipt, supporting documentation for contributions and correspondence.
  • Credit card contributions should be grouped according to the amounts listed on the bank statements. Each batch should include supporting documentation and a list of contributions that comprise the deposit batch (i.e., report from the credit card vendor).
  • Deposit batches should be in order by date of deposit and be numbered sequentially. The amounts deposited as shown on deposit batches should match the amounts listed on the bank statements.
  • File contribution batches by reporting period.

EXPENDITURE RECORDS

  • Copies of canceled checks should be kept with the supporting documents (i.e., invoices, samples of communications, etc.) and organized by reporting period. Keep notes about expenditures that were incurred, but not paid (or partially paid) by the close of a reporting period.
  • Group together multiple invoices and other documentation that relate to a single payment and attach it to the corresponding canceled check(s).
  • Attach invoices for expenditures paid by credit card to the corresponding credit card statements.
  • Any cash withdrawal from the bank account is considered to be part of a petty cash fund (which is limited to $100 at any given time), and thus, the committee must record such withdrawals in its petty cash ledger/journal/log. The petty cash ledger must account for all replenishments to and expenditures made from the petty cash account. Attach related receipts to the petty cash ledger.
  • Attach timesheets, descriptions of services provided and employment agreements to canceled checks relating to salaries (i.e., campaign consultants, field workers, precinct walkers, etc.).

OTHER RECORDS

  • Organize bank statements in sequential order by date.
  • Organize reports from vendors regarding credit card contributions and associated charges according to amounts deposited by credit card vendors into the committee’s bank account.
  • Record the committee’s receipts and disbursements in an electronic check register such that the electronic ledger shows how/when the committee reached reporting thresholds (i.e., candidates for the Board of Supervisors must file a notice upon reaching $10,000 in activity or committees that make independent expenditures must file reports upon reaching certain thresholds).

Audit Questionnaire

Submit paper filings to the Ethics Commission during the COVID-19 Pandemic


1The committee must maintain a complete set of the documents it submits to the Ethics Commission.

2Candidates and committees must keep all campaign records for a period of four years from the date the campaign statement relating to the records was filed.  Documents that identify the names of contributors that are affiliated entities must be kept for five years.  The Fair Political Practices Commission’s Information Manuals provide detailed information on record keeping.
When providing campaign records for an audit, each committee must organize its records by campaign statement reporting period (i.e., semi-annual, 1st pre-election, 2nd pre-election, etc.).
Copies of campaign records must be well organized and legible.  Ensure sufficient margins on each page so information is not cut off.

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Lobbyist Activity (2010-Present)

Ethics Commission's web site to view monthly lobbyist disclosure reports

Lobbyists are required to register with the Commission and disclose activity on a monthly basis. Under amendments to the San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance effective July 26, 2014, a lobbyist is any individual who either: (1) makes five or more lobbying contacts in a calendar month with officers of the City and County on behalf of the individual’s employer; or (2) makes one or more lobbying contacts in a calendar month with an officer of the City and County on behalf of any person who pays or who becomes obligated to pay the individual or the individual’s employer for lobbyist services. An individual is not a lobbyist if that individual is lobbying on behalf of a business of which the individual owns a 20% or greater share.

Under the prior version of the law (effective starting in 2010), a lobbyist was an individual who received or was promised economic consideration of $3,000 or more within three consecutive calendar months for lobbyist services; and on behalf of the persons providing the economic consideration, made any lobbying contact with an officer of the City and County.

The Ethics Commission provides the public with a database to view the monthly disclosure reports including a directory of lobbyists, firms, clients, lobbying subject areas, and contacted public officials.  Lobbyist activity can be searched, including political contributions made or delivered to candidates, contacts of public officials, payments promised by clients, and activity expenses.  The web site is updated within minutes of a lobbyist filing a monthly disclosure reports. To check if a particular lobbyist has filed a report, please see the “All Lobbyist Filings” page.

Lobbyist Datasets at data.sfgov.org and Database API

Datasets derived from lobbyist statements are accessible via data.sfgov.org. The datasets can be embedded into your own web site, built into charts, or downloaded into a variety of formats.

Software programmers can access the Commission’s Lobbyist Database API to build custom applications with live access to the Commission’s lobbyist database.

Amendments

If the lobbyist makes an error on a disclosure statement, the lobbyist may submit corrections on an amended disclosure statement. When a lobbyist submits an amended disclosure statement, the Commission preserves a copy of the original disclosure statement in addition to the amended disclosure statement. However, the Commission’s lobbyist web site directories and transaction searches display only the most current version of the content filed on a lobbyist disclosure statement. To see the changes made to the original statement by any amendment, please view the instructions below.

Mapping Reported Names

Lobbyists are required to accurately self-report all information required under the Lobbyist Ordinance.  The Ethics Commission does not alter any entry except to correct typographical errors in order to facilitate the public’s use of the reported information.  This includes correcting the spelling of public officials’ names and linking legislative aides and City employees to the correct public official. However, the Commission retains the original filings in its office. 

Lobbyist Activity (1996-2009)

Lobbyist disclosure reports from 2006-2009 were filed on a quarterly basis on paper and recorded in a database viewable on the Ethics Commission web site. Scanned copies of filed forms are available to be viewed in PDF format.  Filings that have not yet been scanned are marked as “Visit Office” and can be viewed in the Ethics Commission’s office during regular business hours from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Lobbyist disclosure reports from prior to 2006 are accessible in the Ethics Commission’s office.

Summaries of Quarterly Lobbyist Reports

Information about lobbyist activity from 1996-2009 is summarized in quarterly lobbyist reports prepared by the Ethics Commission.

20092008
1Q1Q
2Q2Q
3Q3Q
4Q4Q
2007200620052004
1Q1Q1Q1Q
2Q2Q2Q2Q
3Q3Q3Q3Q
4Q4Q4Q4Q
2003200220012000
1Q1Q1Q1Q
2Q2Q2Q2Q
3Q3Q3Q3Q
4Q4Q4Q4Q
1999199819971996
1Q1Q1Q1Q
2Q2Q2Q2Q
3Q3Q3Q3Q
4Q4Q4Q4Q

Lobbyists on Behalf of the City

The San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance, S.F. Admin. Code Section 67.1 et seq., requires lobbyists who contract for economic consideration with the City to represent the City in matters before any local, regional, state or federal administrative or legislative body to file quarterly activity reports with the Ethics Commission. These persons and entities are referred to as “Lobbyists on Behalf of the City.” Please note: Lobbyists on Behalf of the City should not be confused with lobbyists who attempt to influence City officers on local legislative or administrative action on behalf of private parties. The latter are regulated by the San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance, S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 2.100, et seq., not by the Sunshine Ordinance.

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Accusations

Closed Complaints

The Ethics Commission will take no further action on the complaints listed below.

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Regulation 2.105-1.  Construction.

The provisions of Section 2.100 et seq. of the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code, as well as its implementing regulations, shall be construed in a manner that provides for the greatest disclosure of lobbyist activity in the City and County.

Regulation 2.105-2.  Lobbyist Employer; Definition.

“Lobbyist employer” includes, but is not limited to, a person that is: (a) required to provide an Internal Revenue Service Form W-2 wage and tax statement to an employee who performs lobbyist services; or (b) owned by a lobbyist and which performs and charges clients for lobbyist services, even if the person is not required to provide an Internal Revenue Service Form W-2 wage and tax statement to an employee who performs lobbyist services.

Regulation 2.105-3.  Lobbyist Services; Definition.

For purposes of Section 2.105, “lobbyist services” include but are not limited to, contacting officers of the City and County and preparing for such contacts, as well as conducting analysis, performing research, providing advice and recommending strategy with respect to any pending, proposed or potential local legislative or administrative action.

Regulation 2.105-4.  Activity Expenses; Disclosure.

Activity expenses made, incurred or arranged by a lobbyist, a lobbyist’s client at the behest of the lobbyist, or a lobbyist employer at the behest of the lobbyist shall be reported pursuant to Section 2.110(c)(7).

Regulation 2.105-5. Expenditure Lobbyist Definition.

(a) A person “makes payments” for an activity to solicit, request, or urge other persons to communicate directly with an officer of the City and County in order to influence a matter of local legislative or administrative action, at the time the activity takes place.
(b)  For the purposes of qualifying as an Expenditure Lobbyist, a person must make payments totaling $2,500 or more in a calendar month for activities to solicit, request, or urge other persons to communicate directly with officers of the City and County in order to influence local legislative or administrative action.
(i)  Any payment made for these activities will count towards the $2,500 threshold if within 6 months of the payment, the services or work product paid for are cited, incorporated, or quoted in any communication urging other persons to lobby officers of the City and County on local legislative or administrative action.
(c)  Charitable organizations that act as a fiscal sponsor to other charitable projects are not required to register as an expenditure lobbyist for the activities of those projects that it sponsors.  Nothing in this regulation prevents a nonprofit organization that acts as a fiscal sponsor for charitable projects from qualifying as an expenditure lobbyist through its own activities.
(d)  Salary paid by an employer to an employee for activities to solicit, request, or urge other persons to communicate directly with an officer of the City and County in order to influence a matter of local legislative or administrative action shall not constitute a payment toward the $2,500 qualifying threshold
(e) No payments made by any person prior to the February 1, 2016 implementation date of the Proposition C amendments approved on November 3, 2015 shall count toward the qualifying threshold or for reporting purposes.

Regulation 2.105-6. Payments for Communications with Members.

“Member” means an employee or shareholder of an organization, a person who pays dues or fees to an organization or any other person who affirmatively requests to regularly receive an organization’s communications.

Regulation 2.106-1.  Contacts; Use of Intermediary.

A “contact” for purposes of Section 2.106 includes but is not limited to any communication for the purposes of influencing local legislative or administrative action with a member of the staff of an officer of the City and County when it is understood, or could be reasonably expected, that the staff member will transmit the terms of the communication to an officer of the City and County.

Examples of such staff members include, but are not limited to, the legislative aides of members of the Board of Supervisors, the Mayor’s Chief of Staff, and the deputy directors of City departments.

Example #1:  A lobbyist meets with the legislative aide of a member of the Board of Supervisors to advocate on behalf of a client for an amendment of pending legislation sponsored by the Board member.  Although the Board member does not attend the meeting, the lobbyist should presume that the aide will convey the substance of that meeting to the Board member and thus the lobbyist has made a contact.

Example #2:  Paid representatives of a real estate developer meet with staff at the Planning Department to discuss to possible modifications to the draft Environmental Impact Report for the developer’s project.  The staff members do not state or otherwise indicate, and the representatives have no reason to believe, that they will have the substance of their conversation conveyed to either the Planning Director or the Zoning Administrator. The representatives have not made a lobbying contact.

Regulation 2.106-2.  Contacts; Modes of Communication.

A “contact” for purposes of Section 2.106 includes, but is not limited to, an in-person meeting, telephone call, video conference, letter, fax, e-mail, and text message.

Example #1.  A lobbyist sends an e-mail to the personal e-mail address of a member of the Board of Supervisors.  The message includes a personal message about their pick-up basketball game the night before as well as an attempt to influence the member’s vote on an upcoming resolution.  The lobbyist has made a contact.

Example #2.  A lobbyist sends a text message to a member of the Board of Supervisors in order to urge the member to vote against an ordinance.  The lobbyist has made a contact.

Regulation 2.106-3.  Contacts; Determining Number.

This regulation sets forth the rules for determining the number of contacts an individual has with an officer of the City and County.  These rules are illustrative and the principles contained therein shall be applied to other situations not directly addressed in this regulation.

(a)  A meeting with an officer regarding a single local legislative or administrative action constitutes one contact, a meeting regarding two local legislative or administrative actions constitutes two contacts, etc.

(b)  A meeting with an officer and a member of that officer’s staff regarding a single local legislative or administrative action constitutes one contact with that officer.

(c)  A meeting with two officers regarding a single local legislative or administrative action constitutes two contacts.

(d)  Meeting or otherwise communicating multiple times in the same day with an officer to discuss the same local legislative or administrative action discussed earlier in the day constitutes one contact.

(e) Each letter, fax, e-mail, text message, or similar communication, or copies thereof sent to other recipients, that pertains to a single local legislative or administrative action constitutes a separate contact even if such letters, faxes, e-mails, text messages, or other communications are identical or substantially similar.  However, multiple copies of the same communication sent from the same individual to the same officer shall constitute only one contact.

(f) For purposes of this regulation only, various matters concerning a single real estate project, shall be considered a single local legislative or administrative action, and contacts regarding these matters shall be reported by referencing that single project.

Example #1:  A lobbyist sends an e-mail on behalf of a client to four of the seven members of the SFMTA Board urging them to vote in support of a particular agenda item.  The lobbyist copies the Executive Director of the SFMTA on the e-mail.  The lobbyist has made five contacts.

Example #2:  A lobbyist sends a text message on behalf of his employer to a member of the Board of Supervisors and to her legislative aide urging the Board member to vote in favor of a proposed ordinance.  The lobbyist has made one contact.

Example #3:  A lobbyist sends an e-mail on behalf of a client to a member of the Board of Supervisors urging her to vote in favor of a proposed ordinance.  The same day, the lobbyist sends the same e-mail to the Board member’s legislative aide regarding the same ordinance.  The lobbyist has made one contact.

Example #4: A lobbyist meets with a member of the Board of Supervisors on behalf of a client to discuss various required permits and other regulatory and legislative actions in connection with a single proposed real estate development project.  The lobbyist has made one contact.

Regulation 2.106-4.  Contacts; Exemptions Generally.

A communication with an officer regarding multiple local legislative or administrative actions is exempt from the definition of “contact” for purposes of Section 2.106 only when an exemption exists with respect to each local legislative or administrative action mentioned in the communication.

Example #1:  A lobbyist and an engineer meet with a member of the Board of Supervisors.  The lobbyist urges the Board member to oppose a proposed ordinance on behalf of a client.  The engineer provides purely technical data and analysis related to that ordinance, and the lobbyist will report that the engineer was present at the meeting when disclosing this contact.  Later in the meeting, the engineer urges the Board member at the behest of his employer to support a different ordinance with respect to employment issues.  The engineer has made one lobbying contact.

Example #2:  A paid representative of a City employee labor union meets with the Mayor’s Chief of Staff regarding the working conditions of the union’s members.  During the conversation, the paid representative also asks that the Mayor support a particular land use measure.  The union representative has made one lobbying contact.

Regulation 2.106-5.  Labor union lobbying.

A person communicating with a City officer on behalf of a labor union to influence a decision regarding a legislative or administrative matter other than the working conditions of employees represented by a collective bargaining agreement or memorandum of understanding with the City is making a contact under the Ordinance.

Regulation 2.107-1.  Practice of Law; Determination.

Any determination of whether communications with an officer of the City and County or other activities constitute the practice of law shall be based on an analysis of whether those communications or activities would constitute the unauthorized practice of law if performed by a layperson instead of a licensed attorney, and shall not be based on whether the person engaging in that communication or those activities is in fact a licensed attorney.

Example #1:  An attorney is representing a corporation that opposes a proposed ordinance.  The attorney and the Chief Executive Officer of the corporation meet with the Mayor’s Chief of Staff.  The attorney begins the meeting by stating that he represents the corporation, and that he is acting in his capacity as an attorney for the corporation.  Throughout the meeting, the attorney and the CEO urge that the Mayor should oppose the proposed ordinance because it would adversely affect the corporation and other companies in the same business sector.  The attorney and the CEO have each made a contact.

Example #2:  An attorney is representing a person involved in ongoing litigation with the City and County.  The attorney contacts the City Attorney and urges him to dismiss the City’s complaint against his client, arguing that the City’s legal claims are not supported by existing law.  The attorney has not made a contact.

Example #3:  An attorney representing a trade association sends a letter to the City Attorney on behalf of her client urging a change to the wording of a proposed ordinance and provides a legal analysis in that letter supporting her position.  The attorney has made a contact.

Regulation 2.110-1.  Economic Consideration; Client Payments.

A lobbyist shall report on his or her monthly disclosure reports economic consideration received or expected by the lobbyist or the lobbyist’s employer from each client during the reporting period for the provision of lobbyist services, as defined in Section 2.105 and Regulation 2.105-3, as well as reimbursements for travel costs and other expenses related to lobbyist services.  The lobbyist is not required to report payments for other services provided by the lobbyist to the client that are not related to lobbyist services.

Regulation 2.110-2. Economic Consideration; Shared Client Reporting.

If two or more lobbyists work for the same employer, all economic consideration received or expected from the employer’s clients for lobbyist services may be reported by a single lobbyist on his or her monthly disclosure report so long as that lobbyist discloses all such economic consideration in that manner throughout the calendar year.

Regulation 2.110-3. Economic Consideration; Employer Payments.

The amount of reportable economic consideration received or expected by a lobbyist from his or her employer in a given month shall be calculated by multiplying the lobbyist’s salary, plus any bonuses or other incentive compensation not directly related to the lobbyist services, received or expected by the lobbyist in that month by the percentage of the lobbyist’s time spent performing lobbyist services, as defined in Section 2.105 and Regulation 2.105-3, in that month.  It shall also include the full amount of any bonuses or other incentive compensation directly related to the lobbyist services.

Example #1.  A public policy expert at a social welfare organization is a registered lobbyist and earns a salary of $5,000 per month.  He spends 20 percent of his time one month performing lobbyist services for his employer.  He must report $1,000 in economic consideration received or expected for lobbyist services.

Example #2.  The Director of Governmental Affairs at a large corporation is a registered lobbyist and earns a salary of $10,000 per month.  She spends 10 percent of her time in December performing lobbyist services for her employer.  She also earns a year-end bonus of $10,000 in December based on her overall work performance.  She must report receiving $2,000 in economic consideration for lobbyist services in December.

Regulation 2.110-4.  Contributions; Disclosure.

(a)  Contributions that are reportable pursuant to Section 2.110 include, but are not limited to, those contributions that are made by the lobbyist and those contributions that the lobbyist knows or has reason to know were raised as a result of fundraising activity by the lobbyist, the lobbyist’s agent, or the lobbyist’s employer.

(b)  “Fundraising activity” includes, but is not limited to:

(1)  Requesting that another person make a contribution;

(2)  Inviting a person to a fundraising event;

(3)  Supplying names to be used for invitations to a fundraising event;

(4)  Permitting one’s name or signature to appear on a solicitation for contributions or an invitation to a fundraising event;

(5)  Providing the use of one’s home or business for a fundraising event;

(6)  Paying for at least 20 percent of the costs of a fundraising event;

(7)  Hiring another person to conduct a fundraising event;

(8)  Delivering a contribution, other than one’s own, either by mail, by messenger, or in person; or

(9)  Acting as an agent or intermediary in connection with the making of a contribution.

Example #1.  A lobbyist employer’s name is listed as a co-host on the invitation to a campaign fundraiser for a candidate for the Board of Supervisors, which is paid for by the candidate’s committee.  Contribution checks totaling $5,000 are collected by the campaign at the event from ten attendees.    The lobbyist must disclose those ten contributions.

Example #2.  A lobbyist invites 5 people to attend a campaign fundraiser held by a candidate for the Board of Supervisors.  Contribution checks totaling $10,000 are collected by the campaign at the event. The five persons invited by the lobbyist made contributions totaling $1,000 at the event.   The lobbyist must disclose those five contributions.

Example #3:  A lobbyist hosts a fundraising event at his home for a candidate for the Board of Supervisors.  The event is attended by twenty guests. Contribution checks totaling $5,000 are collected by the campaign at the event from ten attendees.  A few weeks later, five other event attendees make contributions directly to the candidate without informing the lobbyist.  The lobbyist must disclose only the $5,000 in contributions collected at the event.

Example #4:  A lobbyist solicits a contribution from one person to a candidate for the Board of Supervisors.  The solicited person specifically indicates that he will mail the contribution check for $500 to the candidate the next day.  After confirming the next day that the contribution has been made, the lobbyist must disclose that contribution.

Regulation 2.110-5.  Contributions; Multiple Parties.

(a)  If two or more lobbyists working for the same employer together arrange contributions, or if the lobbyist’s employer arranges such contributions, whether through a fundraising event or otherwise, all such arranged contributions may be reported by a single registered lobbyist.

(b) If two or more lobbyists not working for the same employer together arrange contributions, or if two or more lobbyist employers and/or lobbyists arrange such contributions, whether through a fundraising event or otherwise, all such arranged contributions shall be reported either: (1) according to which lobbyist or employer bore primary responsibility for soliciting the contribution; or (2) in approximate proportion to each lobbyist’s or employer’s participation in the fundraising activity.

(c)  If a lobbyist arranges contributions with another individual who is not a lobbyist and is not employed by the lobbyist’s employer, all such contributions shall be reported by the lobbyist.

Regulation 2.110-6. Lobbyists and Permit Consultants; Separate or Single Registration/Reporting.

(a) An individual who qualifies as both a lobbyist and a permit consultant must register as a lobbyist pursuant to Section 2.110 and as a permit consultant pursuant to Section 3.410.

(b) An individual who qualifies as both a lobbyist and a permit consultant shall either (1) file separate disclosure reports under Sections 2.110 and 3.410 or (2) file only monthly lobbyist disclosure reports under Section 2.110 so long as the individual discloses all information required under that section with respect to his or her permit consulting services.

(c) Any individual qualifying as both a lobbyist and a permit consultant who elects to file only as a lobbyist under Section 2.110 must file in that manner through the end of the calendar year, or until he or she terminates as both a lobbyist and a permit consultant, whichever is earlier.

Example: A permit consultant decides to lobby members of the Board of Supervisors regarding a land use ordinance on behalf of a client for whom the consultant is currently providing permit consulting services.  The consultant may register as a lobbyist and file monthly lobbying reports in addition to filing quarterly reports as a permit consultant.  Alternatively, the consultant may register as a lobbyist and only file monthly lobbying reports that disclose, among other things, the date of each contact in connection with permit consulting activity.

Regulation 2.110-7.  Registration Termination.

(a)  A lobbyist’s registration shall automatically terminate if the lobbyist fails to pay the annual fee due on February 1.

(b)  At other times of the year, a lobbyist who has ceased all activity requiring registration and reporting shall terminate his or her lobbyist registration by filing a final monthly disclosure report covering all activity through the date of termination and indicating on the report that it constitutes the lobbyist’s termination statement.

Regulation 2.110-8.  Lobbyist registration; photograph required.

At the time of registration with the Ethics Commission, the lobbyist must supply a digital color photograph of the lobbyist’s head and shoulders.  The photograph must be delivered via email or compact disc and must be recent and of professional-like quality.

Regulation 2.110-9.  Reporting by firms for lobbyists.

A business, firm or organization may register and submit reports on behalf of individual lobbyists who are employed by the business, firm or organization.  Such business, firm or organization must comply with the provisions of Section 2.110 regarding registration and disclosures.

Regulation 2.110-10. Registration and Reporting.

(a)  For registration, Expenditure Lobbyists shall use SFEC Form 2110A.
(b)  For monthly reports, Expenditure Lobbyists shall use SFEC Form 2110B.
(i)   As used in Sec 2.110(c)(2)(B) and (C) payments are “made” on the date the activity to solicit, request or urge other persons to communicate directly with officers of the City and County in order to influence local legislative or administrative action occurs.
(ii)  For purposes of disclosing campaign contributions, reportable contributions include contributions that would be required to be disclosed under SFEC Regulation 2.110-4.
(iii) Salary paid to an employee of an Expenditure Lobbyist shall not constitute a payment for the purpose of reporting.
(c)  Registered Expenditure Lobbyists must continue to file monthly reports until they cease all expenditure lobbying activity and affirmatively terminate their registration.

Regulation 2.110-11. Fees.

The Ethics Commission shall waive the $500 registration fee and the $500 annual re-registration fee for 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that file or reasonably intend to file an IRS Form 990-EZ or IRS Form 990-N or otherwise demonstrate that their annual budget is $500,000 or less.

Regulation 2.140-1.  Online filing requirement.

Under Chapter 1, Article 2 of the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code (“Lobbyist Ordinance”), each individual lobbyist must register with the Ethics Commission and submit information required under the Lobbyist Ordinance using the Commission’s online filing system.

Regulation 2.145-1.  Calculating late fines; holidays and weekends.

In calculating the number of days late for which a late fine will be assessed under Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 2.145(a), when a filing deadline falls on the day before a weekend or holiday, the Commission will not count any weekend days or holiday that immediately follow the filing deadline.  For purposes of this regulation, the term “weekend” means Saturday and Sunday and the term “holiday” means any holiday on which the Ethics Commission is authorized by law to close.

 

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The Commission acts as filing officer for, and auditor of, financial disclosure statements filed by political candidates, committees, campaign consultants, lobbyists and designated City and County employees. Many reports and documents filed with the Commission are available for inspection on-line in either electronically filed formats or scanned PDF files.  See the Commission’s Records Management Policy for more information about document retention.

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ethics commission news banner

The following table contains archived news and updates from the Ethics Commission home page.  Please see the home page for the most current information.

12/16/08Notice of Upcoming Filing Deadline
12/3/08Notice of new rule for non-controlled recipient committees regarding disclosure of principal officers

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Please Note:  The Ethics Commission will no longer issue quarterly report summaries of campaign consultant activity.  All activity will be provided via the Campaign Consultant Activity Dashboard (see below) and made available for download through the City’s data.sfgov.org open data system.

View Campaign Consultant Filings and Records

Campaign consultant forms are filed on paper and recorded in a database viewable on the Ethics Commission web site.  The campaign consultant filings are integrated with the Ethics Commission’s campaign finance database.  To search for campaign consultant filings, use the “Search by Name” option to search for the name of the filer.  Alternatively, you can monitor recent campaign consultant filings by using the “Search Filings by Date” option.

Forms are scanned after they are processed and attached to the records in the database.  Filings that have been scanned have a “View” link next to the record in the database.  Scanned forms are in PDF format.  Filings that have not yet been scanned are marked as “Visit Office” and can be viewed in the Ethics Commission’s office during regular business hours from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Campaign Consultants Activity Dashboard (2009 – Present)

The Ethics Commission maintains a dashboard that summarizes campaign consultant activity in San Francisco. The data used to build the charts and graphs on the dashboard is available for download from the San Francisco Data web site (data.sfgov.org). The data is updated quarterly after each campaign consultant reporting deadline and includes data from 2009 to the present.

Quarterly Summaries of Campaign Consultant Activity (1998 – 2012)

Campaign consultant activity from 1998-2012 was summarized in quarterly reports available below. Activity after 2012 is summarized on the dashboard web site above.

  2012 20112010
  1Q 1Q1Q
  2Q 2Q2Q
  3Q 3Q3Q
  4Q4Q4Q 
2009200820072006
1Q1Q1Q1Q
2Q2Q2Q2Q
3Q3Q3Q3Q
4Q4Q4Q4Q
2005200420032002
1Q1Q1Q1Q
2Q2Q2Q2Q
3Q3Q3Q3Q
4Q4Q4Q4Q
2001200019991998
1Q1Q1Q 
2Q2Q2Q2Q
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Subscribe to the Ethics Commission Calendar: Xml Ical  (How to subscribe to the calendar from an iPhone)

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Annual reports are available on-line from 1996-2014.

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Answers

How do I access the campaign finance database?

The URL for the campaign finance database is: http://public.netfile.com/pub2?aid=sfo.

Which campaign finance statements are accessible from the campaign finance database?

All electronic and paper filed statements are recorded in the campaign finance database after they are submitted to the Ethics Commission.  Electronically filed statements are immediately accessible within minutes of submission by clicking View PDF next to the statement record.  To view a statement you must have a PDF viewer installed on your computer.  Paper statements are manually recorded, scanned and attached to the database and are viewable by clicking View PDF next to the statement record.  Paper statements that have not yet been scanned and attached to the database are marked as Visit Office and are accessible at the Ethics Commission’s offices during regular business hours from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

How far back does the Ethics Commission maintain electronic campaign finance records?

The Ethics Commission maintains electronic campaign finance records since 1998. Some historical records prior to 1998 are available in the database when using the computers at the Commission’s office.

Can I search for transactions within a statement?

Yes, there are two search options available:

  1. You can search for transactions from within FPPC Forms 460, 461, 465, 496, and 497 submitted electronically using the Advanced Search.  This tools is best for simpler searches that span multiple transaction types. Click Advanced Search on the left-side of the Campaign Finance Database to access the transaction search. The advanced search only shows transactions from the most recently amended version of a report. This search tool is limited to 2,000 results.
  2. You can create complex filters of campaign finance data using the tools at data.sfgov.org. This tool is best for more complex searches of a single transaction type. Click the type of transaction you want to search under the "Complete Datasets" heading on the Campaign Finance Filings and Data page and then click the expand button in the table. Then click the filter button to create complex filters of data.

Can I search across multiple transaction types in the advanced search?

Yes, you can search across multiple transaction types by either selecting to search all transaction types or multiple transaction types.  To select multiple transaction types, hold down the control key (Windows) or command key (Macintosh) on your keyboard and select the individual transaction types you want to include in your search.

Are there a maximum number of results that can be downloaded at once from the advanced?

Yes, you can obtain 2,000 transactions at a time that can be viewed on the web or exported to Microsoft Excel or Word.  If your search criteria results in more than 2,000 transactions then you should narrow your search criteria to obtain the data.  The search results will notify you if your query went over the maximum transaction limit.  If you need to obtain a download of more than 2,000 transactions at a time, consider using one of the Excel exports or the datasets at data.sfgov.org.  This is explained below.

How can I obtain a download of all of the transactions electronically filed by a particular committee?

To obtain a transaction export by committee, follow the steps below:

  1. Search for a committee using the “Search By Name” or “Search by Filer ID” field.
  2. In the search results, click the name of a committee.
  3. Click the “Export Amended” or “Export All” button at the bottom of the list of filings.  You can narrow the results by selecting a year from the drop-down menu.  “Export Amended” will download only the most recent version of each statement.  “Export All” will download every version of a report which may result in transactions being represented more than once.
  4. The Microsoft Excel report will download inside a compressed file in ZIP format.  Open the ZIP file to obtain the report.
  5. View the key to interpret the columns.

Exported transactions do not contain address data.  To obtain address data, download the report using a computer in the Ethics Commission’s office during regular business hours.

How can I obtain the original electronic filing submitted by a committee in CAL format?

To view the electronic filing submitted by a committee in CAL format, please visit the Ethics Commission’s offices during regular business hours from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and request access at the front desk to the campaign finance database Kiosk-mode.  Kiosk-mode allows access to the original CAL file submitted by a committee.  To view a CAL file, follow the directions below:

  1. Request access to kiosk-mode and login to the campaign finance database.
  2. Search for a committee or candidate using the “Search By Name” field.
  3. In the search results, click the name of a candidate or committee.
  4. Click “view” next to an electronically filed report.
  5. The CAL file and unredacted statement in PDF format will download inside a compressed file in ZIP format.  Open the ZIP file to obtain the CAL file.

What is the difference between results in the candidates and committees section of the name search?

Selecting to view statements by committee name will only show the statements submitted by that particular committee.  Selecting to view statements by candidate will show all statements that are related to the candidate as an individual.  For example, viewing statements by candidate would show the candidate’s statements from every committee he or she controlled since 1998.

What information is redacted from statements in the database?

Street address information and original signatures are redacted from statements in compliance with state law.  To view street addresses and original signatures, please visit the Ethics Commission’s offices during regular business hours from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. and use the computers in the public access room to view unredacted documents and data.

I don’t own Microsoft Excel.  How can I view transactions exported to an Excel file?

The advanced search and transaction downloads for committees and candidates are provided in Microsoft Excel format.  To view Microsoft Excel files, download the Microsoft Excel viewer from the link at the bottom of the page.  Alternatively, the Ethics Commission provides workstations with Microsoft Excel 2013 available for use by the public during regular business hours from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Alternatively, you can filter transactions using the complete datasets at data.sfgov.org which provides you with an interface similar to a spreadsheet, but in your web browser.

How can I obtain a download of all transacton types by year or all transactions for one transaction type in the database?

All transaction types by year

From the main page of the campaign finance database, in the “Export E-Filed Data” section, select a year from the drop-down box and click either “Export Amended” or “Export All”.  “Export Amended” will download only the most recent version of each
statement.  “Export All” will download every version of a report which
may result in transactions being represented more than once.  Due to the size of the export, this particular export represents transactions submitted into the system as of the previous calendar day.  The export is updated every night.  View the key to interpret the columns.

All transactions for one transaction type in the database

Choose the type of transaction you want to download in the complete datasets at data.sfgov.org. Above the table for a transaction type, click the "Menu" button and choose "Download". Click "CSV" as the file type. This file-type will open in Excel and allows unlimited rows. Do not choose to download in "Excel" format or the system will limit the number of rows in the download.

How can I monitor certain types of filings from any filer over a given period of time?

From the main page of the campaign finance database, fill in the “Start Date” and “End Date” under the “Search Filings by Date” heading and click the “Search” button.  Any forms turned in between your start date and end date will appear in the search results.  The search results are sorted by “Filing Date” by default.  To look for a specific type of form in the results, sort the list by form, alphabetized A-Z, by clicking the word “Form” in the headline of the table.  Clicking the word “Form” a second time sorts the list Z-A.  Click through the page numbers at the bottom of the table to move to the page that includes the form you are looking for.  All of the filers that turned in the form during the provided date range will appear in the list.  Forms that are viewable online will appear with a “view” link to the right of the filing.  Filings that are only available in paper format in the Ethics Commission office are marked as “Visit Office”.

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