Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report

ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Meeting of August 24, 2015.  

1. Budget and Staffing

The Board of Supervisors approved the City budget on July 28, which was signed by the Mayor on July 29.

The budget for the Ethics Commission for Fiscal Year 2015/16 is 3,927,460, which is $646,894 less than the current fiscal year budget of $4,574,354.  This difference reflects:

  • A reduction of $617,179 in the deposit to the Election Campaign Fund which is normally about $2 million, but this year is only $1.3 million due to the Fund’s $7 million cap. 
  • A 3% reduction in Fringe Benefit costs.
  • A 5% reduction in Services from Other Departments (e.g., rent, phones, mail, training, etc.)
  • A 22% reduction Professional and Contractual Services (e.g., copier/equipment rentals, Court Reporters, Process Servers, etc.), which also reflects that a one-time $50,000 “addback” to the Commission’s budget in the last fiscal year from the Board of Supervisors is not in the current budget.

These reductions are offset by an increase in Systems Consulting Services of $4,500 and staff funding of $44,930.  However, this will not be enough to fund an additional staff member.

For the following Fiscal Year 2016/17, the proposed budget is increased by $782,800.  Most of this is attributable to a return to the normal deposit to the Election Campaign Fund, an increase of $681,668.  The remaining increase of $101,132 includes a 1% increase to Services of Other Departments, and a 3% increase in fringe benefits. There is also in increase of $81,919 in staff funding.  This will be enough to fund an additional staff position.

2. Investigation and enforcement program.

As of August 15, 2015, there were 18 pending formal complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction. 

Category # of Complaints
Campaign Finance 8
Conflict of Interest 6
Governmental Ethics 1
Lobbyist Ordinance 3
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 0
Sunshine Ordinance 0
TOTAL 18

Enforcement Summaries

  • On June 29, 2015, the Ethics Commission entered into a stipulated agreement with Jane Kim, Jane Kim for Supervisor 2015.  Ms. Kim admitted to committing one violation of San Francisco Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code section 1.122(b)(1), and agreed to pay a penalty of $2,500.  A copy of the agreement is available on the Commission’s website.
  • On July 27, 2015, the Ethics Commission entered into a stipulated agreement with Alex Tourk.  Mr, Tourk admitted to committing one violation of San Francisco Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code section 2.110(c), and agreed to pay a penalty of $1,500.  A copy of the agreement is available on the Commission’s website.

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. New CFRO rules.  Numerous amendments to the City’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, first approved by the Commission in January, took effect July 25, 2015. In addition to repealing certain contribution limits, these amendments updated and streamlined CFRO’s reporting and disclaimer requirements. In July, staff produced and distributed: (1) two new reporting forms; (2) two fact sheets summarizing the changes; and (3) five charts summarizing the new disclaimer requirements for all City campaigns (i.e, “Paid for by” rules).

b. Filing deadline.   As of August 13, 2015, eleven candidates and committees did not file their required campaign statement for the period ending June 30, 2015, which was due July 31, 2015.  They were sent a Non-Specific Written Notice informing them of their delinquent filing.  The next filing is September 24, 2015 for the First Pre-Election statement, which covers the reporting period ending September 19, 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.

c. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  In the fiscal year 2015-2016, as of August 15, 2015, the Commission collected $3,705 in late fees and forfeitures.  As of August 15, 2015, the Commission’s outstanding late fees and forfeitures were $33,275, of which $9,017 are represented requests for waiver consideration.  Separately, $208,504 is pending at the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR) as shown below.


#
Committee/
Filer
ID # Treasurer or Responsible Officer Date referral effective Original amount referred Last month’s balance Current balance (Changes are in bold) Status
1 Chris Jackson For Community College Board 1347066 Chris Jackson 7/12/13 $6,601 $6,601 $6,601 Pending at Small Claims Court
2 Committee to Elect Norman For Supervisor 1327771 Jacqueline Norman 5/01/15 $9,000 9,000 $9,000  
3 Bob Squeri For District 7 Supervisor 2012 1346150 Bob Squeri 5/01/15 $2,000 2,000 $2,000  
4 Mark Farrell  For Supervisor 2010 1320480 Mark Farrell 7/08/15 $190,903 $190,903  
            TOTAL $208,504  

d. Status of accounts to San Francisco Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR).  The following chart provides details on active accounts referred to BDR as of August 15, 2015:

4. Revenues report. 

For fiscal year 2015-2016, the Commission was budgeted to generate $70,000 in revenues.  As of August 15, 2015, the Commission received $15,755 or 22% of anticipated revenues for the year. 

Source Budgeted Amount FY 15-16 Receipts
Lobbyist Fees $37,000 $9,000
Other Ethics General $1,000  
Campaign Finance Fines $23,000 $3,705
Campaign Consultant Fees $5,000 $1,250
Lobbyist Fines $1,000  
Statements of Economic Interests Fines $1,000  
Other Ethics Fines $1,000 $1,800
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000  
Unallocated $0  
Total $70,000 $15,755

5. Lobbyist program. 

As of August 15, 2015, 155 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission.  Total revenues collected to date for the 2015-2016 fiscal year amount to $9,000 in lobbyist registration fees.  The filing deadline for the next lobbyist disclosure statement is September 15, 2015.

6. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of August 14, 2015, 24 campaign consultants were registered with the Commission.  $1,250 in registration fees have been collected so far during the 2015-2016 fiscal year. 

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

7. Statements of Economic Interests.

As of August 14, 2015, 480 persons (99 percent) of e-filers have filed their Annual Form 700 with the Ethics Commission.  Letters imposing late fines are being issued, and staff is continuing to follow up with filing officers and non-filers who have overdue Assuming Office and Leaving Office Form 700s.

8. Outreach and Education.

Acting Executive Director Jesse Mainardi met with representatives of Represent.US on August 6, regarding their ideas for potential changes to the City’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance.

As a follow-up to a June 2015 Meet and Discuss, staff and DCA Andrew Shen participated in a second meeting on July 8, 2015 with the representatives for various City unions to answer questions about the proposed regulations for electronic filing of Form 700s for all City employees.  A third Meet and Discuss was scheduled for August 20, and all San Francisco Labor Council Public Employees Committees (PEC) were invited to attend.  This third discussion will also be mediated by an Employee Relations Representative from the Department of Human Resources.

On July 7 and August 13, staff conducted a training on state and local campaign finance laws that apply to candidates running for office in the November 3, 2015 election.  Staff conducted a training session for general purpose committees on August 6.  Upcoming training sessions will be held on September 2 for general purpose committees and on August 19 and September 10 for ballot measure committees.  In addition to conducting live training sessions, the Commission has posted the training presentations on its website.  Separately, on an on-going basis staff provides training to candidates and campaign treasurers on using the Commission’s online electronic filing system, SFEDS. 

Acting Executive Director Jesse Mainardi was scheduled to make a presentation on August 21 to the California Political Treasurers Association regarding recently effective amendments to the City’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance and Proposition C.

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

9. Staff Project Calendar.

The staff project calendar for 2015 which was approved by the Commission in March is set forth below.  Per the direction of the Chair, the Commission’s consideration of the topics below has been placed on hold pending the resolution of its search for a new Executive Director.  This will necessitate a revision of the work plan.

  Apr May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
1. Limits for candidate-controlled committees     Sched.
Actual
    Sched.      
2. Reporting of bundling               Sched.  
3. “Public benefit” contribution bans                  
4. Slate mailer filings                  
5. Enforcement regulations/policies                 Sched.
6. Forfeiture/late fine penalties                  
7. Expenditure lobbyists     Actual            
8. Additional gift of travel reporting                  
9. Permit Consultant regulations                  
10. Form 700 electronic filing   Sched. Actual            

Notes:

  • Shaded squares indicate planned staff work on the issue.  Issues with no shaded squares were not intended to be addressed by staff in 2015.
  • “Sched.” indicates the Commission’s planned consideration of the issue at a public meeting during that month.
  • “Actual” indicates the Commission’s actual consideration of the issue at a public meeting during that month.

10. Language Access Ordinance Compliance

Seventeen key documents regarding the Ethics Commission’s services and programs have been translated by LanguageLine Solutions translation into traditional Chinese, Spanish, and Tagalog, and will be made available on the Commission’s website.  Language regarding the availability of translation and interpretation services has also translated, and will also be added to the website.  Lastly, software has been installed on a computer in the Commission’s public room that will enable video remote interpreting in spoken languages and American Sign Language.

Respectfully submitted,

 

_________________________
Jesse Mainardi
Acting Executive Director

 

S:\ED Report\2015\08.24.2015.docx

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