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San Francisco Ethics Commission Audit Report: Lynette Sweet for Supervisor 2010, FPPC ID #1324331


I. Introduction

This Audit Report summarizes the audit results of the committee, Lynette Sweet for Supervisor 2010, Identification Number 1324331 (“the Committee”), from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010.  The audit was conducted to determine whether the Committee materially complied with the requirements of the Political Reform Act (“the Act”) (California Government Code section 81000, et seq.) and San Francisco’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (“CFRO”) (San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 1.100, et seq).

II. Audit Authority

San Francisco Charter section C3.699-11 authorizes the Ethics Commission (“the Commission”) to audit campaign statements that are filed with the Commission along with other relevant documents to determine whether the committee complied with applicable requirements of State and local laws. 

III. Audit Scope and Procedures

This audit was performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards.  The audit involved a review of the Committee’s records for the period covered by the audit.  This review was conducted to determine:

  1. Compliance with all disclosure requirements pertaining to contributions, expenditures, accrued expenditures, and loans, including itemization when required;
  2. Compliance with applicable filing deadlines;
  3. Compliance with restrictions on contributions, loans, and expenditures;
  4. Accuracy of total reported receipts, disbursements, and cash balances as compared to bank records; and
  5. Compliance with all record-keeping requirements.
  6. Compliance with all provisions related to the Commission’s public financing program; and
  7. Any unexpended public funds that must be returned to the City up to the amount of public funds received by the candidate.

The Commission posts audit reports to its web site and, in cases of apparent violations of law, forwards them to the appropriate enforcement agency.

IV. Committee Information

The Committee was formed in January 2010 to support the election of Lynette Sweet to the Board of Supervisors, District 10 in the November 2, 2010 general election.  The Committee’s Treasurer was Alan L. Glen until January 27, 2010, and Cynthia Francisco was Treasurer until December 20, 2010. The current Treasurer is Lynette Sweet.  The Committee has not terminated and remains open as of the date of this report.

V. Audit Findings

For the period covered by the audit, the Committee received $73,489 in monetary contributions and $57,439 in public funds, and incurred $135,847 in expenditures.  The CFRO provides that any candidate who receives public funds must return unexpended campaign funds to the Election Campaign Fund.  The Committee does not have unexpended funds.

The Commission determined that there were three material findings with respect to the audit of the Committee: 1) the Committee failed to maintain complete campaign records, in violation of Government Code section 84104 and S.F. Campaign Governmental Conduct Code (C&GC Code) section 1.106; 2) the Committee failed to file campaign statements including its termination campaign statement, in violation of Government Code sections 84200 and 84214 and S.F. C&GC Code sections 1.106 and 1.112; and 3) The Committee failed to pay accrued expenditures within the 180-day limit, in violation of S.F. C&GC Code sections 1.118.

Government Code Section 84104 and S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 1.106: Recordkeeping

Government Code Section 84104 provides that it is the duty of each candidate, treasurer and elected officer to maintain detailed accounts, records, bills and receipts that are necessary to prepare campaign statements, and to retain the documents for a period of four years following the date the appropriate campaign statement is filed.  Section 84104 is incorporated into the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance at S.F. C&GC Code section 1.106.

The Committee did not maintain complete records. The total amount of expenses that lack supporting documentation (i.e., invoices, receipts, contracts or timesheets) is $61,791, which represents 45 percent of total expenditures incurred by the Committee.  Please see Attachment A.  In addition, the Committee reported contributions of $8,750, which represent 12 percent of the total contributions, for which supporting documentation was not provided.  Please see Attachment B.

Government Code Sections 84200 and 84214 and S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Sections 1.106 and 1.112: Requirement to File Campaign Statements

Government Code Section 84200 requires that candidates and committees file semi-annual campaign statements each year no later than July 31 for the period ending June 30, and no later than January 31 for the period ending December 31.  Government Code Section 84214 requires all candidates and committees to terminate their filing obligations. Sections 84200 and 84214 are incorporated into the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance at S.F. C&GC Code section 1.106. Under S.F. C&GC Code section 1.112 during the period covered by the audit, a committee was required to file these reports electronically if it received contributions of at least $5,000 or made independent expenditures of at least $5,000 in a calendar year.  Beginning with the July 31, 2013 filing deadline, a committee is no longer required to file paper statements when it submits an electronic statement.  Electronic campaign statements are due at the same time that paper statements are due under the PRA.

The Committee has not filed any campaign statement after its filing of FPPC Form 460 for the period covering October 17, 2010 through December 31, 2010.  The Commission has provided numerous verbal and written requests to the Committee to file its campaign statements, including a termination statement.  In order to terminate, the Committee must file FPPC Form 410 Termination Statement, and FPPC Form 460 for the period covering January 1, 2011 through June 30, 2011 and every semi-annual period thereafter through the date on which the Committee was eligible to terminate.

S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 1.118: Payment of Accrued Expenses

S.F. C&GC Code section 1.118 requires candidate committees that accept goods or services on credit to pay for such accrued expenses in full no later than 180 calendar days after receipt of an invoice and in no event later than 180 calendar days after the goods were delivered or the services were rendered, unless it is clear from the circumstances that the failure to pay is reasonable based on a good faith dispute.

As of December 31, 2010, the Committee had not paid two expenditures totaling $4,650.  It is unclear whether the Committee paid for these expenditures after December 31, 2010 because the Committee did not provide documentation. The two unpaid expenses are as follows:

Date(s) services provided Vendor Description Amount
9/13/2010 –10/10/2010 Clear Channel Posters/Advertisement 2,500
2/21/2010 David Binder Research Telephone survey 2,150
Total  4,650

VI. Committee’s Response to Finding:

The Committee did not provide any comments.

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