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Executive Director’s Report – October 19, 2011


For the Meeting of October 19, 2011  

1. Televised Meetings.

The Commission will consider a change to its bylaws at the October 19, 2011 meeting so that the Commission’s regular meetings will move to the fourth Monday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in Room 400.  Staff is working with SFGTV so that when the Commission’s meetings are televised, users will be able to obtain the video, agenda, minutes, caption notes, and audio recording from one place.   As I indicated previously, it would cost approximately $24,000 per year to televise Commission meetings.  We expect to begin televising meetings in January 2012.

2. November 8, 2011 Election. 

On a daily basis, staff provides guidance to filers and monitors filings by candidates and third-party filers.  As of October 11, the Commission disbursed a total of $3,979,249 in public funds to nine eligible candidates. 

Thus far, the Commission has received 24 third-party disclosure filings that report a cumulative total of $895,851 in third-party spending ($533,384 in the form of supportive spending and $314,886 in the form of opposition spending).  The highest level of Total Supportive Funds (a candidate’s total receipts plus third-party spending in support of such candidate) in the Mayor’s race is currently at $1,381,965.  The Individual Expenditure Ceiling (IEC) for each of the nine publicly funded Mayoral candidates is $1,475,000 but may be raised if the sum of the Total Supportive Funds of a publicly funded candidate’s opponent and Total Opposition Spending against that candidate exceeds the candidate’s IEC by at least $100,000. 

On its website, the Commission posts the following information about the upcoming election and makes updates to this information as it is received:  1) list of amounts of public funds disbursed; 2) candidates’ IEC levels; and 3) list of Third-Party Disclosure forms that show the names of candidates supported or opposed and the amounts spent to support or oppose the candidates.  This information is in addition to the Commission’s database of campaign finance filings.         

Electronically filed campaign finance statements from committees are accessible in the Commission’s database within seconds of submission.  Paper statements are also scanned and made available on-line.  In addition, the Commission offers a searchable transaction database.  Pre-packaged downloads of the campaign finance data are available in Excel format by specific committee or by year for all committees.  News organizations have been using the Commission's campaign finance data downloads during this election season for web sites and news stories.  However, any person may easily download the data on the Commission’s web site free of charge.

3. Investigation and enforcement program.

As of October 12, 2011, there are 18 pending complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction.

Category # of Complaints
Campaign Finance 7
Conflict of Interest 3
Governmental Ethics 0
Lobbyist Ordinance 2
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 2
Sunshine Ordinance 4

4. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The most recent filing deadline occurred on September 29, 2011 for the First Pre-Election statement, which covers the reporting period ending September 24, 2011.  As of October 12, 2011, three candidates/committees remain delinquent in filing the First Pre-Election statement; they were sent a Non-Specific Written notice.  Staff continues to receive and process campaign statements and will notify non-filers about their past due statements. 

The next filing deadline falls on October 27, 2011 for the Second Pre-Election statement, which covers the reporting period ending October 22, 2011.  In the interim, staff continues to receive and process campaign statements for other filing deadlines.  Staff also 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 11-12, as of September 30, the Commission collected a total of $7,570 in campaign finance late fees and forfeitures.  Outstanding late fees and forfeitures total $170,021, of which waiver requests are pending for $133,539; and $25,028 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/
ID # Treasurer or Responsible Officer Date referral effective Original amount referred Last month’s balance Current balance (Changes are in bold)
1 Johnnie Carter for Community College Board 1226264 Johnnie Carter 6/16/06 $9,520 $6,595 $6,595
2 Committee to Elect M. Valle for Treasurer 1278937 Manuel B. Valle 6/14/07 $5,525 $5,525 $5,525
3 Bill Barnes for District 5 1265969 Alix Rosenthal 1/3/08 $3,120 $113 $113
4 Care Not Cash 1244505 Ronald Jin 2/29/08 $5,331 $356 $356
5 Omar Khalif for Board of Educ. 1287030 Omar Khalif 7/30/09 $1,800 $1,775 $1,775
6 Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup 1306882 Myrna Lim 7/30/09 $1,180 $1,180 $1,180
7 Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup 1256697 Jia Jun Chen 8/20/07 $3,855 $2,775 $2,775
8 San Francisco Women’s Political Committee 1243711 Giselle Barry 5/16/06 $1,906 $50 $50
9 Johnny K. Wang
JKW Political Consulting
100716 Johnny K. Wang 4/19/11 $4,000 $4,000 $4,000 
10 Coalition to Elect  Chris Jackson to Community College Board 1302351  Chris Jackson 6/17/11 2,658.90 New Referral 2,658.90
            TOTAL $25,028

5. Revenues report. 

For FY 11-12, the Commission is budgeted to generate $100,000 in revenues.  As of October 1, 2011, the Commission received and deposited $22,439, as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 22 percent of expected revenues for FY 11-12. 

Revenues received and deposited as of October 1, 2011:

Source Budgeted Amount FY 11-12 Receipts
Lobbyist Fees $27,000 $3,500
Other Ethics General $1,000 $144
Campaign Finance Fines $50,000 $6,970
Campaign Consultant Fees $18,000 $10,100
Lobbyist Fines $1,000 $100
Statements of Economic Interests Fines $1,000 $325
Other Ethics Fines $1,000 $0
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000 $1,300
Total $100,000 $22,439

6. Status of legislative proposals endorsed by Ethics Commission. 

Draft amendments to the Campaign Consultant Ordinance, which were approved by the Ethics Commission in December 2010 and January 2011, have been placed by the Board of Supervisors on the ballot as Proposition F in the November 8, 2011 election.  The proposed amendments

  • adopt an electronic filing system for reporting by campaign consultants;
  • require consultants to disclose information on a monthly basis;
  • change the economic threshold for qualification as a campaign consultant;
  • modify the registration fees;
  • eliminate the client fees; and
  • enable the Board of Supervisors to amend the Ordinance under certain circumstances. 

Amendments to section 1.144 of the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, which were approved by the Commission at its July 2011 meeting to address the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC, et al. v. Bennett, were introduced by Supervisors Farrell and Elsbernd at the Board of Supervisors.  On September 27, 2011, the Board voted 7-3 to support the amendments.  Because eight votes were needed for passage, the Board rescinded the vote.  On October 4, the Board voted 6-5 in favor of the amendments.  However, because eight votes were needed for passage, the amendments failed.

At its September 12 meeting, the Commission approved amendments to Ethics Commission Enforcement Regulations VI.A and XIV.C to permit the Commission to calendar proposed dismissals or settlements of enforcement matters based on the request of one, rather than two, Commissioners.  These amendments were forwarded to the Board of Supervisors and will take effect on November 11, 2011 unless before the expiration of 60 days from the date of adoption, two-thirds of all members of the Board of Supervisors vote to veto them. 

On October 4, 2011, Supervisor Campos introduced legislation to require the Ethics Commission to televise its regular and special meetings on San Francisco Government Television, to be effective 30 days from the date of passage.

7. Lobbyist program. 

As of October 1, 2011, 77 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission.  In FY 11-12, total revenues collected to date amount to $3,600, which consist of $3,500 in lobbyist registration fees and $100 in late fines.  The September 2011 reporting period deadline is October 17, 2011.

Staff worked with Netfile to deploy a new feature to the lobbyist web site so that the public can see the changes made to an original lobbyist disclosure statement by any amendment.  The web site will detail each piece of information that has been added or removed from a lobbyist disclosure statement.  Instructions are available on the Commission’s web site to learn how to use this new feature.

8. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of October 6, 2011, fifty-seven campaign consultants are active and registered with the Commission.  $10,100 in registration fees and $1,300 in late fines have been collected so far during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.  The next campaign consultant quarterly report deadline is Thursday, December 15, 2011.  Staff will mail and e-mail reminder notices to all active campaign consultants two weeks prior to the deadline.

9. Outreach and Education.

On October 3, staff met with a delegation of 20 visitors from the Municipal Bureau of Supervision of the City of Nanjing, to discuss the responsibilities of the delegates regarding civil service discipline issues, and the promotion of good ethics among government officials.

On October 24, staff met with a delegation of 19 representatives from the Ningxia Minority Autonomous Region of the northwest part of China.  For most of the delegates, it was their first visit to the United States. They were here to learn the mechanisms of anti-corruption in the US and to hear about the experience of the Commission in combating corruption and the abuse of power. 

The Commission continues to offer trainings on Statements of Incompatible Activities to City departments. 

The following are web video trainings available on the Commission website:

  • Department of Building Inspection SIA Training
  • Candidates’ Training
  • Controller’s Office SIA Training
  • Department on the Environment SIA Training
  • Governmental Ethics Ordinance Training for City Employees
  • Lobbyist Ordinance Training
  • Medical Examiner’s Office SIA Training
  • Non-Candidate Recipient Committee Training
  • Public Utilities Commission SIA Training
  • SIA Template Language Training

Respectfully submitted,


John St. Croix
Executive Director                

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