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Executive Director’s Report – October 19, 2009


For the Meeting of October 19, 2009

1.   Staff Changes: 

As I mentioned at last month’s meeting, the budget cutbacks mean that the Commission will be losing one of its permanent staff positions effective November 16, 2009.  In addition, due to civil service bumping rules, two members of our staff will also lose their jobs on November 16.  Combined with the changes in our enforcement and audit divisions, we will be working with several new staff in the coming months.  Given that the work that the Commission is complex and myriad, the learning curve will be steep and it may take several months before our staff will be able to function as smoothly as we’ve become accustomed. 

2.  Investigation and enforcement program.

Since its last regular meeting on September 14, 2009, the Commission has received zero new complaints.  There are currently 13 complaints pending in the Commission’s jurisdiction.

Category # of Complaints
Campaign Finance 5
Conflict of Interest 3
Governmental Ethics 2
Lobbyist Ordinance 1
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 0
Sunshine Ordinance 2

3.   Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The next filing deadline is October 22, 2009 for the Second Pre-Election statement, which covers the reporting period beginning the day after the closing date of the last statement filed, or January 1, 2009 through October 17, 2009.  Several candidates have already expressed an interest in running for office in November 2010.  Staff has been conducting outreach for such potential candidates.  Outreach to potential candidates includes contacting and setting up a one-on-one appointment with the candidate and/or his or her treasurer to discuss campaign finance processes and requirements.  The purpose of this outreach is to inform first-time candidates and treasurers of their filing obligations prior to them engaging in campaign finance activity.

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  Campaign finance collections as of October 14 for FY 09-10 totaled $4,291, based on filings made during previous fiscal years and the current fiscal year.  By comparison, campaign finance collections as of October 14 in prior fiscal years were as follows:

Fiscal year Collections by Sept. 9 Total collections in FY
02-03 $5,425 $49,322
03-04 $14,792 $51,607
04-05 $16,640 $199,524
05-06 $13,359 $85,390
06-07 $23,369 $119,814
07-08 $39,046 $65,035
08-09 $8,066 $48,673

The $4,291 amount is based on prior assessments as follows:

FY when assessed Amount collected in 09-10
06-07 $480.00
07-08 $970.05
08-09 $2,606.28
09-10 $235
Total: $4,291.33

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

FY when assessed Amount assessed Amount waived during 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 $322,529 $107,176
09-10 $7,899 $0

To date, the outstanding balance of late fees assessed from the current and previous years, including $75,251 in fees that have been referred to the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues, is $218,957, down from $219,739 as last reported. 

The current outstanding balance of contribution forfeitures assessed as a result of the defective reporting of contributor information and contribution limit violations is $70,918, up from $71,218 as last reported.  The $70,918 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 waiver of late fees and forfeitures.

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

# Committee/
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 $9,520.00 $6,595.00 $6,595.00
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 $3,110 $3,110
14 Care Not Cash 1244505 Ronald Jin 2/29/08 $5,331 $5,331 $5,331
15 Omar Khalif for Board of Educ. 1287030 Omar Khalif 7/30/09 $1,800 $1,800 $1,800
16 Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup 1306882 Myrna Lim 7/30/09 $1,180 $1,180 $1,180

d.  Electronic filing.  On April 30, 2009 staff provided 60 days’ notice that committees subject to the electronic filing requirements under section 1.112(b) will be required to file FPPC Forms 461 (Independent Expenditure Committee and Major Donor Committee Campaign Statement) and 465 (Supplemental Independent Expenditure Report) in electronic format starting July 1, 2009.  Electronically filed forms and data will be made available to the public on the Ethics Commission’s web site.  This new electronic filing requirement is in addition to the paper filing requirement.  Forms 461 and 465 were added to the San Francisco Electronic Disclosure System (SFEDS) through the Commission’s contract with Netfile. 

4.  Revenues report. 

For FY 09-10, the Commission is budgeted to generate $50,000 in revenues.  As of October 14, 2009, the Commission received $12,406 as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 25 percent of expected revenues for FY 09-10. 

Revenues Received as of October 14, 2009

Source Budgeted Amount FY 09-10 Receipts
Lobbyist Fees $8,000 $1,537
Other Ethics General $1,000 $34
Campaign Finance Fines $22,000 $5,200
Campaign Consultant Fees $15,000 $3,250
Lobbyist Fines $1,000           $150
Statements of Economic Interests Fines $1,000 $1,380
Other Ethics Fines $1,000 $855
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000  
Total $50,000 $12,406

5.  Public financing/Campaign finance audit program.

Staff is working on audits of candidates who received public financing in 2008.  Staff has provided training to candidates and treasurers involved in the 2009 election.

6.  Lobbyist program. 

As of October 8, 2009, there are 39 lobbyists registered with the Commission.  In the 2009-2010 fiscal year, $1,537.50 in lobbyist fees and $150 in fines were collected, for a total of $1,687.50.  Two lobbyists have a positive credit toward future fees due to overpayment.  These credits total $150.  The next filing deadline is October 15, 2009, for the third quarter of 2009.

The next filing deadline for lobbyists on behalf of the City is November 15, 2009, for the third quarter 2009 reporting period. 

7.  Campaign Consultant program. 

As of October 7, 2009, 25 campaign consultants are active and registered with the Commission.  $3,250 in registration fees have been collected in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. 

The deadline for the third quarter 2009 report was September 15, 2009.  All active campaign consultants filed quarterly reports; one consultant filed late.  The next quarterly report is due Tuesday, December 15, 2009.  Staff will mail 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 October 13, 2009.

Statement of Economic Interests (SEI) 601 621

On May 6, 2009, staff issued 136 non-filer notices.  On June 8, 2009, staff issued 48 second non-filer notices to those who were unresponsive to the first notice.  On July 8, 2009 staff issued third non-filer notices to 33 non-filers who were unresponsive to the past two notices.  As of October 13, 2009, 92 non-filers informed the Commission that they left office, 27 non-filers filed their annual SEIs, five stated that they hold a position that is not required to file with the Commission, one stated that the Annual SEI requirement does not apply to because the filer recently assumed office, and 11 non-filers remain nonresponsive.  

Enforcement staff continues to audit departments for SEI filing compliance for both 2007 and 2008 calendar years.  Staff is also reviewing all SEIs filed with the Commission.

9.  Outreach and Education.

On Thursday, October 8, 2009, staff met with a delegation from the Republic of Moldova, a landlocked Eastern European country located between the Ukraine and Romania.  The group, sponsored by the Institute of International Education, was interested in obtaining information about local governments.

On Tuesday, September 22, and Friday, September 25, 2009, staff conducted a Training for Treasurers of Non-Candidate Recipient Committees who were interested in fulfilling the training requirement under the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.  The Training for Treasurers of Non-Candidate Recipient Committees covers campaign finance requirements for treasurers and representatives of general purpose committees, ballot measure committees, and primarily formed candidate committees.  The training fulfills a requirement that new and existing treasurers—and assistant treasurers who sign and verify campaign statements—attend a training conducted by the Ethics Commission after filing an original or amended Statement of Organization designating a new treasurer.  (See S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct § 1.107.) 

On Friday, September 25, 2009, staff conducted a Candidates’ Training which covered filing requirements for potential candidates for the City elective offices of City Attorney and Treasurer.  This training focused on campaign finance requirements that apply to candidates for all City elective offices, focused on required forms for candidates. 

The September 28, 2009 Lobbyist Ordinance Training was cancelled due to lack of interest.  Another Lobbyist Ordinance Training will be offered in December 2009.

Ethics staff continues to offer trainings on conflict of interest laws and the Statements of Incompatible Activities (SIA) to City departments. 

In addition to in person trainings, the staff has produced and posted the various web trainings on the Ethics Commission website under “Education.”  The following are trainings that are currently available on the website:

  • Training for Treasurers of Non-Candidate Recipient Committees
  • Building Inspection Commission, Access Appeals Commission, Board of Examiners and Unreinforced Masonry Building Appeals Board SIA Training
  • Ethics Training for City Employees

Respectfully submitted,

John St. Croix
Executive Director       

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