John St. Croix
For release: December 14, 2010
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN AT DECEMBER 13, 2010 MEETING
At its meeting on December 13, 2010, the San Francisco Ethics Commission considered and approved several proposed amendments to the Campaign Consultant Ordinance, San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 1.500 et seq. The Commission will continue its consideration of the draft proposals at its next meeting on January 10, 2011. None of these proposed changes will go into effect unless approved by the voters in an election. The Commission intends to submit them as a ballot measure in the November 2011 election.
The Commission took the following actions:
- In section 1.500, added language to the Ordinance’s findings to acknowledge that campaign consultants play an influential role in local elections and may use that influence to affect policy decisions of City officials; and that the goals of the Ordinance would be best served through an electronic online filing system that is user-friendly and that permits members of the public to view conveniently the information submitted by consultants.
- In section 1.510(a), changed the definition of “campaign consultant” from a person or entity that receives or is promised economic consideration of $1,000 or more in a calendar year to an individual or entity that receives or is promised economic consideration of $5,000 or more in 12 months.
- In section 1.510, deleted the definitions of “lobby,” “lobbyist” and “local office.”
- In section 1.515, approved language to clarify that campaign consultants must register with the Ethics Commission within five business days of qualifying as a campaign consultant; to require consultants to disclose their e-mail address and website address, if any; to require consultants to state whether the consultant or any employee of the consultant is required to register with the Ethics Commission as a lobbyist; and to delete the requirement that consultants state whether they are required to register with the Tax Collector.
- In section 1.515(b), approved language to require campaign consultants to file disclosures on a monthly basis and to submit information about their activities no later than the 15th day following the end of each calendar month.
- In section 1.515(b), approved language to require consultants to disclose their clients’ email addresses, the date the client retained and terminated the services of the consultant, a list of their responsibilities for the client, the total economic consideration promised by or received from each client, detailed information about political contributions, and updates to registration information.
- In section 1.515(c), approved language to require consultants, in their initial reports, to provide information about their clients and campaign contributions during the past 12 months.
- In section 1.515(d), established an annual registration fee of $200 for campaign consultants who earn $10,000 or less in a 12-month period and an annual registration fee of $500 for campaign consultants who earn more than $10,000.
- In section 1.515(e), established that failure to pay the annual registration fee by February 1 will constitute a termination of the consultant’s registration with the Ethics Commission.
- In section 1.515, deleted the requirement that consultants report any gifts they make to a local officeholder.
- In section 1.515, deleted the requirement that campaign consultants annually re-register.
- In section 1.515, deleted the requirement that campaign consultants file client authorization statements, client termination statements and campaign consultant termination statements.
- In section 1.520, retained the current filing under penalty of perjury and retention of document provisions; clarified that the records that must be kept for five years must include invoices and written contracts with clients; and added language to provide the Commission the authority to perform audits as well as to issue subpoenas in furtherance of its audit duties.
- In section 1.530, added a requirement that campaign consultants undergo training within 60 days of registration and, thereafter, as deemed necessary by the Executive Director.
- In section 1.535, clarified the powers and duties of the Ethics Commission.
- In section 1.545, added language to provide that a person who knowingly or willfully furnishes false or fraudulent information to the Commission, or conceals evidence, or fails to furnish evidence, is subject to the penalties set forth in the Ordinance.
- In section 1.550, consolidated language that appears in separate sections of the current Ordinance to require the Commission to deposit registration fees, late fees, and fines and penalties into the General Fund of the City.
- In section 1.560, revised the severability provision of the Ordinance.
- In section 1.565, revised language referring to Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 2.117, which regulates lobbying by campaign consultants.
- Established January 1, 2013 as the operative date of the amendments, provided that the Commission may establish by resolution a later operative date for the Ordinance, if necessary, if such date is not less than 60 days from the date of the resolution’s adoption.
The Commission’s next scheduled meeting will be held on Monday, January 10, 2011, at 5:30 p.m. in Room 408 City Hall.
The Ethics Commission, established in November 1993, serves the public, City employees and officials and candidates for public office through education and enforcement of ethics laws. Its duties include: filing and auditing of campaign finance disclosure statements, lobbyist and campaign consultant registration and regulation, administration of the public financing program, whistleblower program, conflict of interest reporting, investigations and enforcement, education and training, advice giving and statistical reporting.