Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – May 23, 2016

Date: May 18, 2016

To: Members of the Ethics Commission

From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director

Subject: AGENDA ITEM ­­9 – Executive Director’s Report for the May 23, 2016 Commission Meeting

Summary

This report provides various programmatic and operational highlights to date since the last monthly Executive Director’s Report.

Action Requested

No action is required by the Commission, as this item is only for informational purposes.

Budget and Staffing

On May 6, 2016, the Ethics Commission’s E-Filing Conversion Project received the green light for full FY2017 and FY2018 funding by the City’s Committee on Information Technology, or COIT. This is a welcome and important step toward fully modernizing delivery of the Commission’s regulatory framework through effective online technology.

Next week, the Mayor is expected to announce his June 1 budget, which will include his proposed budget for the Ethics Commission for FY2017 and FY2018.  Commission Staff met with the Mayor and his budget team on May 4 to discuss the Commission’s budget requests, and we are optimistic that the budget will propose strong support for advancing the Commission’s mandate over the next two years.  We will provide additional details about the Mayor’s final budget package as soon as they become available.

The application deadline for the Commission’s Deputy Director position was Friday May 6, 2016, and more than 120 applications were received.  Each is being thoroughly reviewed to identify the most highly qualified candidates to invite to interview for the position in the coming weeks.

I am sorry to announce that Investigator Garrett Chatfield will be leaving the Ethics Commission. He has decided to take a promotional opportunity within the City to become a compliance officer with the Department of Public Health. Garrett has been with the Ethics Commission since October 2007, and we will miss his legal and investigative skills, his unflappable manner, and his good humor. His last day in the office is Friday, May 20, 2016, and we wish him all the best in his next professional chapter.

Outreach

Since the April Executive Director’s report, staff met with two departments to provide Form 700 filing officer trainings, and to explore opportunities to conduct more targeted trainings for filers. Staff also provided two campaign disclosure briefing sessions for Ballot Measure committees and General Purpose Recipient Committees on May 4 and May 6, respectively.

Our most recent “Ethics fyi” was distributed on May 16 to over 500 city officials, including elected officers, department heads, and members of boards and Commissions. With the June and November election season activities ramping up, this fyi provided a refresher on “Political Activities: Do’s and Don’ts.” A copy is attached to this report for reference.

Policy and Legislation

  • The Commission’s discussion of a proposed policy agenda for FY2017 that began at its April Regular Meeting will be continued to the Commission’s next Regular Meeting on June 27, 2016.
  • The Ethics Commission’s implementing regulations for the Expenditure Lobbyist provisions of Proposition C that were added to City law last November took effect April 29, 2016. Under San Francisco Charter section 15.102, regulations adopted by the Ethics Commission must be referred to the Board of Supervisors, which has 60 days after adoption to hold a hearing for the purpose of vetoing the regulation. The deadline was April 29, 2016; no hearing was requested, and therefore the regulations took effect April 29, 2016.
  • On May 11, 2016, the State Legislation Committee voted unanimously to support State Bill 1107 as recommended by the Ethics Commission at its meeting last month. A copy of our 9 — transmittal to the committee is attached for reference.

Campaign Cycle Activities

Campaign Finance Program and Upcoming Filing Deadlines

First Pre-Election reports were due on April 28, 2016.  At this time a total of 99 candidates are filing campaign statements with our office for the June Primary and November General election. As of May 17, 2016, only one candidate, a candidate for the Democratic County Central Committee, had not filed a required Pre-Election campaign statement. As is our usual practice, Staff provided a courtesy reminder notice of the filing (copy attached) and has since contacted the committee to follow up on the late filing.  The next filing deadline is May 26, 2016, for the 2nd Pre-Election statement that covers the period through May 21, 2016.

Audit Program

In addition to ongoing audits of the public financing candidates in the 2015 election, the 11 pre-2015 audit reports of seven campaign committees and four lobbyists remain under final supervisory review and have been prioritized for completion by June 30.The internal review of audit approaches and processes that has been underway with audit staff will resume as soon as these remaining audits have been completed.

Other Program Highlights

Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) Disclosure Program

The annual deadline for Statement of Economic Interests (Form 700) was April 1.  As of May 13, 2016, 97 percent of roughly 500 e-filers had filed their Annual Form 700 through the Commission’s online filing system.  On May 2, 2016, a list of Form 700 electronic filers whose statements were outstanding at that time was provided to the Mayor’s Office.  E-filers who had not yet filed their required Form 700 as of May 10, 2016, were listed on the Form 700 Non-filers roster on the Commission’s website (at https://www.sfethics.org/ethics/2014/06/statement-of-economic-interests-sei-form-700-non-filers.html ).

Contact Lobbyist Program

As of mid-May 2016, 169 individuals were registered with the Commission as contact lobbyists.  This represents a 32 percent increase from the number of contact lobbyists registered at this time last year. Lobbyist monthly disclosures were due May 16, 2016.  As is Staff’s normal practice each month, reminders of the deadline were sent to each registered contact lobbyist approximately one week prior to the deadline to help promote full and timely reporting compliance.  Contact lobbyists are required to register within five business days of qualifying, and their registration terminates annually on February 1 unless they re-register for the upcoming calendar year.

Campaign Consultant Program

Campaign consultants are required to register with the Ethics Commission once the threshold in section 1.505 of the Campaign Consultant Ordinance is met.  Each registered campaign consultant is required to re-register annually at the beginning of the calendar year.  As of mid-May 2016, 29 campaign consultants were registered with the Commission for 2016.  Campaign Consultants are required to submit their next quarterly reports no later than June 15, 2016.  These reports will cover the reporting period from March 1, 2016 through May 31, 2016.

Investigation and Enforcement Program   

Investigative matters under the jurisdiction of the Ethics Commission are treated as formal complaints if, based on the allegations and Executive Director’s preliminary review, the Executive Director determines there is reason to believe a violation of law may have occurred.  Once the Executive Director has determined with regard to a particular complaint that there is reason to believe a violation of law may have occurred, those complaints are logged as formal complaints.  As of mid-May 2016, 24 formal complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction remained pending.  Table 1 summarizes the number of pending formal complaints by category.

 Table 1 – Summary of Pending Formal Complaints, by Type, as of Mid-May, 2016

Type Number
Campaign Finance 8
Conflict of Interest 11
Governmental Ethics 3
Lobbyist Ordinance 1
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 1
Sunshine Ordinance 0
Total 24

Revenues Report      

Table 2 shows the revenues received during the current fiscal year by the Commission as of May 15, 2016.  The $163,867 received through that date is roughly 234 percent more than the $70,000 figure budgeted for FY2015-16.

Table 2 – Summary of FY 2015-16 Revenues as of May 15, 2016

Source Budgeted Amount FY15-16 Receipts as of mid-May
Registration Fees
      Contact Lobbyists $37,000 $103,500
      Campaign Consultants $5,000 $15,250
Other, Ethics General (e.g., copies made by public) $1,000 $7
Late Fees
     Statement of Economic Interests Filers $1,000 $1,660
     Contact Lobbyist Filers $1,000 500
     Campaign Consultant Filers $1,000 $1,750
     Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures) $23,000 $33,400
Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission
     Ethics, Other $1,000 $7,800
Total $70,000 $163,867

Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR) Accounts

The following chart summarizes active accounts that have been referred by the Ethics Commission.

Committee/Filer ID # Treasurer or Responsible Officer Date Referral Effective Original Amount Referred Last Month’s Balance Current Balance Status
Chris Jackson for Community College Board 1347066 Chris Jackson 7/12/13 $6,601 $6,601 $6,601 Judgment issued 11/18/15 Small Claims Court
Committee to Elect Norman For Supervisor 1327771 Jacqueline Norman 5/01/15 $9,000 $9,000 $9,000
Bob Squeri For District 7 Supervisor 2012 1346150 Bob Squeri 5/01/15 $2,000 $2,000 $2,000
Mark Farrell  For Supervisor 2010 1320480 Mark Farrell 7/08/15 $190,903 $190,903 $190,903
Isabel Urbano 153993 Isabel Urbano 3/23/16 $7,000 $7,000
TOTAL $215,504

I look forward to answering any questions you might have in connection with this Executive Director’s report at the May 23rd Commission meeting.

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