Press Release – Ethics Commission Fines Committee for Unlawful Use of Campaign Funds, and Issues Warning Letters to Department of Public Health and Sunshine Ordinance Task Force for Failure to Comply with Sunshine Ordinance
Date: December 20, 2016
Contact: Shaista Shaikh, (415) 252-3100
For Immediate Release
At its last meeting of the year on December 19, 2016, the Ethics Commission issued two separate enforcement orders pursuant to its oversight authority under City law.
In a Stipulation, Decision, and Order with 2015 Mayoral candidate Stuart Shuffman, the Commission assessed a $2,552 administrative penalty against Shuffman and his political committee “Stuart Shuffman for Mayor 2015” for one violation of the San Francisco Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, or “CFRO.” During his run for mayor, Schuffman’s candidate-controlled committee acknowledged paying $1,276 to produce a video advertisement that supported San Francisco’s Measure F, which also appeared on the November 2015 ballot. CFRO Section 1.122(b)(1) bans candidates from using funds raised on behalf of their candidacy for any other purpose. The Commission assessed penalties against Mr. Shuffman for two times the amount of campaign funds he unlawfully used to pay for the video advertisement in support of Measure F.
“Voters expect accountability in the way candidates use money they raise for city elective office,” Ethics Commission Executive Director LeeAnn Pelham said. “The Ethics Commission has a voter mandate to enforce the laws to ensure those expectations are met.”
In a separate enforcement matter that alleged violations of the city’s Sunshine Ordinance, the Ethics Commission determined that warning letters should be issued to the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force for their respective failures to meet stated deadlines for disclosure and resolution of Sunshine complaints, as required by the Sunshine Ordinance.
A copy of the Stipulation, Decision, & Order with Mr. Shuffman as well as Staff’s Report and Recommendation regarding the underlying violations of the Sunshine Ordinance can be obtained on the Ethics Commission’s website at sfethics.org or by contacting the 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, including the assessment of fines through its administrative enforcement authority. 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.