Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – September 22, 2014

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Regular Meeting of September 22, 2014  

1. Budget/Staffing.

The Mayor has expressed concerns about the costs of some November ballot measures, should they pass.  As a result, all departments have been directed to prepare a contingency plan cutting budgets by 1.5%.  In the event that this contingency is actually required, it would reduce the Ethics Commission budget for FY 14/15 by $39,608.  All of these funds would come out of the salary/fringe line items.

2. Investigation and enforcement program.

As of September 16, 2014, there were 18 pending formal complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction. 

Category# of Complaints
Campaign Finance13
Conflict of Interest2
Governmental Ethics0
Lobbyist Ordinance0
Campaign Consultant Ordinance2
Sunshine Ordinance1
TOTAL18

Enforcement Summaries

  1. On July 28, 2014, the Ethics Commission entered into a stipulated agreement with Melissa Apuya.  Ms. Apuya admitted committing one violation of California Government Code section 84200, subdivision (a) and agreed to pay a penalty of $500.  A copy of the agreement is available on the Commission’s website.
  2. On July 28, 2014, the Ethics Commission held a public hearing regarding Ethics Complaint No. 02-140228, which was a referral from the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force.  The Ethics Commission found that John Rahaim, Director, Planning Department, committed a non-willful violation of section 67.21(a) of the Sunshine Ordinance by failing to permit public records to be inspected and examined without unreasonable delay.  The Commission also found that there was not sufficient evidence to support a finding that there was a violation of section 67.29-7 of the Sunshine Ordinance.

    The Ethics Commission ordered Director Rahaim to cease and desist from failing to permit public records to be inspected and examined without unreasonable delay.  The Commission ordered Executive Director John St. Croix to post on the Commission’s website the Commission’s finding that Director Rahaim violated the Sunshine Ordinance.  The Commission also ordered Executive Director St. Croix to issue a warning letter to Director Rahaim and inform Director Rahaim’s appointing authority of the violation. 

These documents are available on the Commission’s website: https://www.sfethics.org/ethics/2009/05/enforcement.html

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.   The next filing deadline falls on October 6, 2014 for the First Pre-Election statement, which covers the reporting period ending September 30, 2014.  Eight filers were added to the Non-Responsive Filers List on September 2, 2014 for failing to file the First Semi Annual statement, period ending June 30, 2014. Since then, two filers have filed their required Semi Annual statements.

In the interim, staff receives and processes campaign statements for this and other filing deadlines.  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 fiscal year 2014-2015, as of August 30, 2014, the Commission collected a total of $2,124 in campaign finance late fees and forfeitures.  Outstanding late fees and forfeitures total $15,086, of which $1,025 are requests for waiver and $13,260 is pending at the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR). 

c. Status of accounts to San Francisco Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR).  The following chart provides details on active accounts referred to BDR as of June 30, 2014:

#Committee/
Filer
ID #Treasurer or Responsible OfficerDate referral effectiveOriginal amount referredLast month’s balanceCurrent balance (Changes are in bold)
1Johnny K. Wang
JKW Political Consulting
100716Johnny K. Wang4/19/11$4,000$4,000$4,000
2Coalition to Elect  Chris Jackson to Community College Board1302351Chris Jackson6/17/11$2,658.90$2,658.902,658.90
3Chris Jackson For Community College Board1347066Chris Jackson7/12/13$6,600.94$6,600.94$6,600.94
      TOTAL$13,260

4. Revenues report. 

For fiscal year 2014-2015, the Commission was budgeted to generate $70,000 in revenues.  As of September 15, 2014, the Commission received $28,606 or 41% of anticipated revenues for the year. 

SourceBudgeted Amount FY 14-15Receipts
Lobbyist Fees$37,000         $10,000
Other Ethics General$1,000                $2
Campaign Finance Fines$23,000         $2,124
Campaign Consultant Fees$5,000         $5,000
Lobbyist Fines$1,000              $0
Statements of Economic Interests Fines$1,000         $1,320
Other Ethics Fines$1,000           $9,500
Campaign Consultant Fines$1,000            $660
Unallocated$0                $0
Total                       $70,000$28,606

5. Lobbyist program. 

As of September 16, 2014, 116 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission.  Total revenues collected to date for the 2014-2015 fiscal year amount to $10,000 in lobbyist registration fees.  The filing deadline for the next lobbyist disclosure statement is October 15, 2014.

6. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of September 16, 2014, 31 campaign consultants were registered with the Commission.  $5,000 in registration fees and $660 in fines have been collected so far during the 2014-2015 fiscal year.  The most recent campaign consultant quarterly reports were due on Monday, September 15, 2014; four campaign consultants failed to file by the required deadline.
The next campaign consultant quarterly report deadline is Monday, December 15, 2014, covering the reporting period from September 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.  Staff will send reminders to all active campaign consultants before the deadline.

7. Statements of Economic Interests.

On September 30, 2014, staff will attend the quarterly meeting of Board and Commission filing officers to hear feedback following the first round of e-filing, and discuss training needs for 2015.

8. Outreach and Education.

Commission staff Jesse Mainardi and Steven Massey attended the “Code for SF Hack Day – Campaign Finance” at Code for America’s San Francisco offices on Saturday, August 9, 2014.  Jesse and Steven met with members of the SF Brigade and Bay Area d3 User Group who are working on building web visualizations of San Francisco campaign finance and lobbyist data using the Commission’s open datasets available on the City’s DataSF web site.  Jesse and Steven answered questions regarding the technical aspects of the data and provided context to the information within the framework of state and local law.  Visualizations produced at the event are available on the GitHub web site: https://github.com/danid123/campaign_finance/wiki/Examples

Sfcamplobbhackday

On September 17, 2014, staff attended a symposium sponsored by the Fair Political Practices Commission and the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law Capital Center entitled  “Political Reform's 40th Anniversary: A Dynamic Look at the Past, Present and Future.”  The event featured several prominent speakers discussing and debating the past, present, and future of the landmark 1974 initiative, the California Political Reform Act.

On September 9, 2014 staff met with a delegation from the Supervision Department of Hubei Province (China) and made a presentation on governmental ethics issues.

Additionally, the Commission continues to offer trainings on Statements of Incompatible Activities to City departments via web trainings.  The following are web video trainings available on the Commission website:

  • Department of Building Inspection SIA Training
  • Controller’s Office SIA Training
  • Department on the Environment SIA Training
  • Governmental Ethics Ordinance Training for City Employees
  • 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

S:\ED Report\2014\9.22.2014.docx

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