Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – October 18, 2010

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Meeting of October 18, 2010

1. Public Financing of Candidates for the Board of Supervisors. 

As of October 14, 2010, the Commission disbursed a total of $1,174,112 in public funds to 22 candidates eligible to receive public financing.  A table (attached) showing disbursements by candidate and district is posted to the Commission’s website on its homepage.

Under the law, each publicly funded candidate must abide by his/her Individual Expenditure Ceiling, which begins at $143,000 and is adjusted by the Ethics Commission based on the sum of the highest level of Total Supportive Funds in a district and Opposition Spending against a publicly funded candidate.  Total Supportive Funds include fundraising by candidates as well as third party spending to support candidates.  Opposition spending is third party spending to oppose candidates.  Each time a candidate reaches an additional $10,000 threshold in fundraising or spending beyond $100,000, he/she must file a report with the Commission within 24 hours.  Third parties also have to report expenditures they make relating to candidates.  Staff monitors and processes these filings daily to determine whether the Commission needs to adjust Individual Expenditure Ceilings.  A table (attached) on the homepage of the Commission’s website shows the current level of each candidate’s Individual Expenditure Ceiling.  Another table provides a list of all Third Party Disclosure forms received by the Commission.

Staff has been extremely busy processing requests for public funds from candidates, candidates’ notifications of reaching certain thresholds, and Third Party Disclosure filings.  They have also been extremely busy analyzing whether individual expenditure ceilings should be adjusted.  At the same time, staff continues to conduct outreach and respond to numerous questions from candidates and third party filers on a daily basis. 

2. Investigation and enforcement program.

Since its last regular meeting on September 13, 2010 the Commission has received two new complaints and initiated one complaint.  There are currently 27 pending complaints in the Commission’s jurisdiction.

Category# of Complaints
Campaign Finance9
Conflict of Interest5
Governmental Ethics0
Lobbyist Ordinance0
Campaign Consultant Ordinance2
Sunshine Ordinance11
TOTAL27

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The most recent filing deadline occurred on October 5, 2010 for the First Pre-Election statement, which covers through the reporting period ending September 30, 2010.  On October 13, staff sent out Non-Specific Written Notices to five candidates/committees for failing to have filed campaign statements. 

The next filing deadline is October 21, 2010 for the Second Pre-election statement, which covers through the reporting period ending October 16.  Staff continues to answer questions from and conduct outreach to candidates and other committee representatives about campaign finance filing obligations.

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  In the FY 10-11, as of September 30, the Commission collected a total of $19,808 in campaign finance late fees and forfeitures.  Outstanding late fees and forfeitures total $141,376, of which waiver requests are pending for $93,080, and $23,353 is pending at the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues.   

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

#Committee/
Filer
ID #Treasurer or Responsible OfficerDate referral effectiveOriginal amount referredLast month’s balanceCurrent balance (Changes are in bold)
1Johnnie Carter for Community College Board1226264Johnnie Carter6/16/06$9,520$6,595$6,595
2San Franciscans for Fair & Honest Government1258209Erik Howell10/20/06$4,659$4,659$0 [1]
3Committee to Elect M. Valle for Treasurer1278937Manuel B. Valle6/14/07$5,525$5,525$5,525
4Bill Barnes for District 51265969Alix Rosenthal1/3/08$3,120$2,047$1,847
5Care Not Cash1244505Ronald Jin2/29/08$5,331$3,906$3,606
6Omar Khalif for Board of Educ.1287030Omar Khalif7/30/09$1,800$1,775$1,775
7Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup1306882Myrna Lim7/30/09$1,180$1,180$1,180
8Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup1256697Jia Jun Chen8/20/07$3,855$2,775$2,775
9San Francisco Women’s Political Committee1243711Giselle Barry5/16/06$1,906$50$50
      TOTAL$23,353

4. Revenues report. 

For FY 10-11, the Commission is budgeted to generate $78,000 in revenues.  As of October 12, 2010, the Commission received and deposited $30,568, as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 39 percent of expected revenues for FY 10-11. 

Revenues received and deposited as of October 12, 2010:

SourceBudgeted Amount FY 10-11Receipts
Lobbyist Fees$8,000$2,000
Other Ethics General$1,000 $137
Campaign Finance Fines$50,000 $19,731
Campaign Consultant Fees$15,000 $6,550
Lobbyist Fines$1,000 
Statements of Economic Interests Fines$1,000 
Other Ethics Fines$1,000 $1,000
Campaign Consultant Fines$1,000 $1,150
   
Total                       $78,000 $30,568

5. Draft regulations related to complaints regarding Sunshine Ordinance and referrals from the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.

Staff has forwarded draft regulations related to the handling of complaints regarding alleged violations of the Sunshine Ordinance and referrals from the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.  The SOTF may have already begun consideration of the draft regulations.  Staff anticipates that the Commission will consider the draft regulations at its November 8, 2010 meeting.

6. Lobbyist program. 

As of October 1, 2010, 44 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission.  In FY 10-11, $2,000 in lobbyist registration fees have been collected.  The September 2010 reporting period deadline is October 15, 2010.

7. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of October 12, 2010, 45 campaign consultants are active and registered with the Commission.  $6,800 in registration fees and $1,700 in late fines have been collected in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.  The next quarterly report is due Wednesday, December 15, 2010.  Staff will mail reminder notices to all active campaign consultants two weeks before the deadline and will send an e-mail reminder one week prior to the deadline.

8. Statement of Economic Interests program.

On October 1, staff sent out 17 second non-filer notifications as a follow-up to the original one 111 first non-filer notifications sent on May 4.  Staff verified with the various department staff to make sure that these non-filers are existing commissioners and board members.  As of  October 14, 2010, 11 of the 17 have not filed their SEIs – they will be referred to the Fair Political Practices Commission’s Enforcement Team.

In addition, staff has asked secretaries of boards and commissions to provide leaving office information for their commissioners so that staff can remove any commissioners from the SFEDS before the 2011 SEI-related deadlines are generated by Netfile.  This information will help staff to update filer records and avoid unnecessary confusion related to next year’s filings. 

9. Outreach and Education.

On September 2 and 7, staff recorded and posted the new Non-Candidate Recipient Committee Training on the web.

On September 21, 22, 27, 29, 30, and October 5 and 6, staff provided nine one-on-one training sessions for treasurers or candidates on how to e-file their campaign statements.

On September 30, staff met with a group six visitors who were participants of a multi-regional project titled Accountability in Government and Business and sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Program. They were in the U.S. to learn about the role and structure of ethics in government and business, issues of transparency and accountability in law enforcement and ethics training programs for citizens.  The visitors included officials from Ghana, Laos, Mexico, Pakistan, and Uganda, plus an English Language Officer.

On October 14, staff will be meeting with a delegation of 22 government officials from Liaoning Province in China.  The visitors, officers from province wide discipline inspection organizations, are visiting the United States in order to gain experience in government ethics, transparency, anti-corruption, and investigation and enforcement of violations.

The Commission continues to offer trainings on Statements of Incompatible Activities to City departments.  One currently scheduled in-person training will be the SIA training for the Medical Examiner’s Office on January 6, 2011.

Respectfully submitted,

 

_________________________
John St. Croix
Executive Director    

S:\ED Report\2010\10.18.10.doc

[1] BDR abandoned this referral because the Respondent prevailed in a small claims court action.

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