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Executive Director’s Report – March 23, 2015

For the Meeting of March 23, 2015.  

1. Budget/Staffing.

All required budget documents have been submitted.  The Mayor’s proposed budget is due to be released on June 1, 2015.

2. Investigation and enforcement program.

As of March 15, 2015, there were 17 pending formal complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction. 

Category# of Complaints
Campaign Finance8
Conflict of Interest4
Governmental Ethics0
Lobbyist Ordinance4
Campaign Consultant Ordinance0
Sunshine Ordinance1

Enforcement Summaries

  • On February 23, 2015, the Ethics Commission entered into a stipulated agreement with Wendy Aragon and Committee to Elect Wendy Aragon to San Francisco Community College Board 2014.  Ms. Aragon admitted to committing one violation of San Francisco Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code section 1.162(a)(1) and agreed to pay a penalty of $1,000.  A copy of the agreement will be available on the Commission’s website.
  • On February 23, 2015, the Ethics Commission entered into a stipulated agreement with Chris Jackson and Chris Jackson for Community College Board 2012.  Mr. Jackson admitted to committing one violation of California Government Code section 84200(a), two violations of California Government Code section 84200.7(b), and one violation of San Francisco Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code section 1.109; Mr. Jackson also agreed to pay a penalty of $8,000.  A copy of the agreement will be available on the Commission’s website.

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.   The next filing is July 31, 2015 for the First Semi-annual statement, which covers the reporting period ending June 30, 2015.  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 the fiscal year 2014 -2015, as of March 15, 2015, the Commission collected $24,378 in late fees and forfeitures.  As of March 15, 2015, the Commission’s outstanding late fees and forfeitures were $14,770, of which $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 March 15, 2015:

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

BDR has obtained a lien from an abstract of judgment for the amount owed by the Coalition to Elect Chris Jackson to Community College Board ($2,658.90).

4. Revenues report. 

For fiscal year 2014-2015, the Commission was budgeted to generate $70,000 in revenues.  As of March 17, 2015 2015, the Commission received $132,014 or 188% of anticipated revenues for the year. 

SourceBudgeted Amount FY 14-15Receipts
Lobbyist Fees$37,000         $82,000
Other Ethics General$1,000                $8
Campaign Finance Fines$23,000         $24,376
Campaign Consultant Fees$5,000         $13,050
Lobbyist Fines$1,000              $50
Statements of Economic Interests Fines$1,000         $1,420
Other Ethics Fines$1,000           $9,500
Campaign Consultant Fines$1,000           $1,610
Unallocated$0                $0
Total                       $70,000$132,014

5. Lobbyist program. 

As of March 15, 2015, 126 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission.  Total revenues collected to date for the 2014-2015 fiscal year amount to $82,050, including $82,000 in lobbyist registration fees, and $50 in lobbyist fines.  The filing deadline for the next lobbyist disclosure statement is April 15, 2015.

6. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of March 13, 2015, 20 campaign consultants were registered with the Commission.  $13,050 in registration fees and $1,610 in fines have been collected so far during the 2014-2015 fiscal year. 

The next campaign consultant quarterly report deadline is Monday, June 15, 2015, covering the reporting period from March 1, 2015 through May 31, 2015.  Staff will send reminders to all active campaign consultants prior to the deadline.

7. Statements of Economic Interests.

The second of two trainings for Filing Officers was held on March 4, 2015.  As of March 16, 2015, 138 persons (25 percent) have electronically filed their Annual Form 700.  Thirteen percent have filed their Sunshine Ordinance Declaration, and 11 percent have filed their Certificate of Ethics training.

8. Outreach and Education.

On March 17, 2015, Commission interns Jeffrey Thorsby and Kristen Wolslegel released their data visualization report called “Spending to Influence: Campaign Finance and Lobbying in San Francisco in 2014”.  A preview of the report was presented to the Commission at the February 23, 2015 meeting.  The interactive report is available on the Commission’s web site.

For the calendar year 2015, staff has scheduled 14 workshops to provide training to campaign committees of their obligations under state and local campaign finance laws.  Of the 14 workshops, five will cover requirements pertaining to candidates seeking office in November 2015, five will cover requirements pertaining to ballot measure committees and four will cover requirements pertaining to general purpose committees (also referred to as political action committees).  In addition, to the 14 scheduled training workshops, staff will schedule additional training and/or conduct one-on-one training as needed.  Separately, on an on-going basis staff provides training to candidates and campaign treasurers on using the Commission’s online electronic filing system, SFEDS.   On March 20, 2015, staff is scheduled to provide an overview of San Francisco’s ethics standards to officials from the China General Administration of Customs office.

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
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