Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Summary of Actions Taken and Matters Discussed at Ethics Commission February 29, 2016 Special Meeting

Date: March 1, 2016
Contact: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director, (415) 252-3100

At its special meeting on February 29, 2016, the San Francisco Ethics Commission took the following actions and discussed the following matters:

  • Heard and discussed a presentation by University of San Francisco Master of Public Affairs candidates on recommendations to improve the transparency of the Ethics Commission’s website (Item 3). The presentation included suggestions for making online lobbying data filed with the Commission more transparent by standardizing it and enhancing its search functions. The recommendations grew out of a research project conducted by students in the Fall 2015 Advocacy, Lobbying and Governmental Relations class.
  • Discussed, heard public comment, and took action on draft regulations regarding Expenditure Lobbyist activities (Item 4). In sum, the Expenditure Lobbyist regulations adopted by the Commission are:
    Regulation 2.105-5 Expenditure Lobbyist Definition. This regulation provides further definition about qualifying as an Expenditure Lobbyist, such as when payments are considered “made,” how certain activities are treated for purposes of reaching the $2,500 threshold (such as salaries paid by an employer), and how payments made prior to the February 1, 2016 implementation date of Prop. C are treated for purposes of registration and reporting.
    Regulation 2.105-6 Payments for Communication with Members. For determining qualification as an Expenditure Lobbyist, Prop. C exempts payments an organization makes to distribute communications to its “members.” This regulation further defines the term “member.”
    Regulation 2.110-10 Registration and Reporting. This regulation provides guidance about the registration and reporting process, including forms to be used, when payments “made” are to be reported, and the terminating registration as an Expenditure Lobbyist.
    Regulation 2.110-11 Fees. This regulation provides that the Ethics Commission shall waive the $500 registration and re registration fees for certain 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.
    Language adopted by the Commission for each regulation is being finalized, and will be available on the Commission’s website under Laws & Advice.
  • Voted 5-0 to continue its consideration of proposed language to clarify and strengthen the City’s Whistleblower Protection Ordinance (Item 5) to its March regular meeting.
  • Discussed the Executive Director’s report and attachments (Item 7), including the February 22, 2016, submission of the Commission’s budget for Fiscal Years 2016/17 and 2017/18 to the Mayor’s Budget Office, and three projects submitted by Staff for consideration by the Mayor’s Senior Fellows program.
  • Continued approval of draft minutes for its January 25, 2016 regular meeting (Item 8) to its March regular meeting.
  • Under the Ethics Commission’s Bylaws, Commissioner Hur’s six-year term ended with the February 2016 meeting. Chairperson Renne and members of the public acknowledged Commissioner Hur’s contributions, and he expressed his thanks for being allowed to serve on the Commission.

The next regular meeting of the Ethics Commission is scheduled for Monday, March 28, 2016 in Room 400 of City Hall at 5:30 pm.

For further information, please feel free to contact the Ethics Commission at (415) 252-3100.

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The Ethics Commission, established in November 1993, serves the public, City employees and officials and candidates for public office through education and enforcement of ethics laws. Its duties include: filing and auditing of campaign finance disclosure statements, lobbyist and campaign consultant registration and regulation, administration of the public financing program, whistleblower program, conflict of interest reporting, investigations and enforcement, education and training, advice giving and statistical reporting. We invite you to follow our work at www.sfethics.org.

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