John St. Croix
For release: October 20, 2011
SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN AT OCTOBER 19, 2011 SPECIAL MEETING
At its special meeting on October 19, 2011, the San Francisco Ethics Commission took the following action:
- Received testimony from Legislative Aide April Veneracion of Supervisor Jane Kim’s office and also public comment regarding proposed amendments to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (“CFRO”) to address the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom Club PAC, et al. v. Bennett. The Commissioners discussed the situation and directed the staff to gather more public input about the issue, examine potential alternatives and to bring the Commission one or more alternatives, including Supervisor Kim's proposal.
- Received public comment on and after discussion of staff’s proposed amendments to the CFRO,
- By a vote of 5-0, approved new section 1.160(a) to establish disclaimer and disclosure requirements for communications that are paid for by third parties and that concern candidates for City elective office;
- By a vote of 4-1, approved new section 1.160(b) to establish the content and form of disclaimer statements on third party communications and to require that disclaimers appear in 14-point font on written communications;
- By a vote of 5-0, approved new section 1.160(c) to set forth the content and form of disclosure reports regarding third party communications related to candidates;
- By a vote of 5-0, approved new section 1.160(d) to identify exceptions to the disclaimer and disclosure requirements for third parties making communications related to candidates;
- By a vote of 5-0, approved new section 1.158 to establish the disclaimer and disclosure requirements for candidates who distribute communications and to require that such disclosure statements appear in 14-point font on written communications;
- By a vote of 4-1, approved a standard timing requirement for all disclosure reports to be filed by candidates and third parties who distribute communications regarding candidates for City elective office, such that such reports must be filed with the Ethics Commission by the first Disclosure Deadline after distribution of the communication;
- By a vote of 4-1, approved amendments to reflect the exclusion of up to ten percent of a candidate’s “Compliance Costs” from the determination of whether to lift the Voluntary Expenditure Ceiling or to adjust the Individual Expenditure Ceiling;
- By a vote of 4-1, approved an amendment to section 1.114(a) to preserve the $500 per person contribution limit to candidates, but adding language to require the Commission to adjust annually the limit according to changes in the Consumer Price Index from a February 2012 base, provided that the Commission ratifies any changes.
- By a vote of 5-0, approved an amendment to section 1.114(a) to delete the overall limit on contributions that a person may make to all candidate committees;
- By a vote of 5-0, approved an amendment to delete section 1.114(c), which sets limits on the amount of contributions a person may make to non-candidate committees that make expenditures to support or oppose candidates for City elective office;
- By a vote of 5-0, approved the deletion of section 1.114(g) related to when contributions are deemed received, so that local law is now consistent with state law;
- By a vote of 4-1, approved an amendment to section 1.122 such that campaign funds may be used by a candidate to attend a fundraiser for a charitable organization;
- By a vote of 5-0, approved an amendment to section 1.122 to clarify that a candidate may transfer funds from the candidate’s committee only before funds become surplus; and amendments to sections 1.148(b) and 1.150(b) to clarify that public funds may not be used for officeholder expenses.
- By a vote of 5-0, approved changes to the Commission’s Bylaws to provide that beginning in January 2012, the Commission’s regular meetings will be held on the fourth Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Room 400 City Hall, and that such meetings shall be televised, except for portions of meetings that are held in closed session or otherwise required to be confidential.
The Commission’s next scheduled meeting will be held on Monday, November 14, 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.