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Spending to Influence: Lobbyists

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This section analyzes the focus and extent of lobbying activity in San Francisco in 2014 using data from reports filed with the Ethics Commission.

The user is able to examine payments to San Francisco lobbyists, their contacts with City officials, and their political contributions in 2014.  More specifically, this page and the following pages allow the user to explore the issues of most importance to City lobbyists, gain an understanding of who has hired these lobbyists, and see campaign funds raised by lobbyists.

See the visual below to explore information about lobbying in San Francisco and some conclusions that can be drawn from the relevant data.

Lobbying reporting in San Francisco

Lobbyists in San Francisco are required to file monthly reports with the Ethics Commission disclosing a variety of information.  An individual will qualify as a lobbyist if he or she makes just one compensated contact with a higher-level City official in order to influence local legislative or administrative action on behalf of a client.  An individual will also qualify as a lobbyist if he or she makes five or more such contacts in a calendar month on behalf of an employer (unless the individual is also a 20% or more owner). Certain contacts will not trigger reporting, like appearances at public hearings and letters that are part of the public record.

Among other things, lobbyists are required to report their contacts with City officials and amounts they are paid for their lobbying services.  They are also required to report political contributions of $100 or more that they make to, or raise for, any City official or candidate, their controlled committees or any City ballot measure committees. 


Sixty-four registered lobbying firms and 94 lobbyists were active in 2014, making 1,913 reported contacts with City officers.  Lobbyists also made or raised political contributions totaling $643,227.  Measure G, which would have imposed a tax on properties being “flipped” in the City, was the measure that triggered the most lobbyist contribution activity ($318,022 or over 60% of all reported lobbyists contributions).  Substantial lobbyist contributions were also reported with respect to Measure A, a bond measure ($131,514 or 25% of total lobbyist contributions).

This analysis only reflects lobbying activity as reported in 2014. If a ballot measure or candidate is not found, it is because there was no activity data reported in association with it or them. All activity is taken from the calendar year excluding the number of registered lobbying firms, registered lobbyist and registered clients.

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