Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Issues raised at the January 13, 2010 Lobbyist Training and Interested Persons Meeting Discussion on January 25, 2010

The following issues were raised at the January 13, 2010 Lobbyist training.  Ethics staff are proposing the following solutions, for which we are soliciting your input.  Please e-mail us your comments to ethics.commission@sfgov.org, or attend an interested persons meeting to discuss these proposals on Monday, January 25, 2010 at 2:00 p.m. in Room 34 City Hall.

Question 1

How does a lobbyist add a client to his or her account without any promised payments?

Issue

At this time there is no method to add clients to a lobbyist’s electronic account that is not connected to a contact, promised payment, or activity expense.

Proposed Solution

The Commission will add a new section to the lobbyist electronic filing system that will allow a lobbyist to list a client without the need to list an associated activity.  This will be implemented by January 31, 2010.

Question 2

Can a lobbyist terminate before the end of the year?

Issues

  1. The Commission has not provided instructions to lobbyists about how to terminate.
  2. At this time there is no method to self-terminate in the lobbyist’s electronic account. 

Proposed Solutions

  1. Until proposed solution #2 is implemented, a lobbyist who wishes to terminate will be required to submit a signed letter to the Commission requesting termination. 
  2. The Commission will develop a method to be made available later this year that would allow a lobbyist to self-terminate in the lobbyist’s electronic account.  Once this is implemented, lobbyists will be notified of its availability and will no longer need to submit a signed letter requesting to terminate.

Question 3

The lobbyist ordinance requires a lobbyist to report the name, business address and business telephone number of each person from whom the lobbyist or the lobbyist's employer received or expected to receive economic consideration to influence local legislative or administrative action during the reporting period.  How does a lobbyist report the individual or firm’s economic consideration?

Issue

The electronic form does not specify whether the economic consideration from the client is received by the lobbyist or the lobbyist’s employer.

Proposed Solution

  1. A firm filing on behalf of multiple registered lobbyists at the firm should designate a single individual lobbyist as responsible for reporting the promised economic consideration to the firm.
  2. In a firm with multiple registered lobbyists, where the lobbyists choose to file individually, the firm should determine how to allocate promised economic consideration among the registered lobbyists at the firm such that the sum of all of the individually reported promised economic consideration equals the total economic consideration promised to the firm.

Question 4

The lobbyist ordinance requires lobbyists to report all political contributions of $100 or more made or delivered by the lobbyist or the lobbyist's employer, or made by a client at the behest of the lobbyist or the lobbyist's employer during the reporting period to an officer of the City and County, a candidate for such office, a committee controlled by such officer or candidate, or a committee primarily formed to support or oppose such officer or candidate, or any committee primarily formed to support or oppose a ballot measure to be voted on only in San Francisco. This report shall include such political contributions arranged by the lobbyist, or for which the lobbyist acted as an agent or intermediary.  How does a lobbyist properly report political contributions of $100 or more? 

Issues

  1. Which lobbyist at a firm is responsible for reporting political contributions connected to the lobbyist’s employer?
  2. Does a lobbyist have to clarify whether the contributions were arranged by the lobbyist or whether the lobbyist acted as an agent or intermediary?

Proposed Solutions

  1. For a political contribution of $100 or more made by the lobbyist’s employer, the lobbyist’s employer should designate a single registered lobbyist at the firm or organization to report the contribution.  The lobbyist should identify the lobbyist’s employer as the source of the funds.
  2. For a political contribution of $100 or more made by the individual lobbyist, the lobbyist should identify himself or herself as the source of the funds.
  3. For a political contribution of $100 or more delivered by the lobbyist or lobbyist’s employer, made at the behest of the lobbyist or lobbyist’s employer, arranged by the lobbyist, or where the lobbyist served as an agent or intermediary, the lobbyist should identify the third-party source of the funds.  The lobbyist’s employer should designate a single registered lobbyist at the firm or organization to report contributions delivered or arranged by the employer.  It is not necessary to identify specifically the method in which the funds were transmitted.

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