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San Francisco Ethics Commission Audit Report: Alice B. Toklas Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club PAC, FPPC ID #842018


I. Introduction

This Audit Report summarizes the audit results of the committee, Alice B. Toklas Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club PAC, FPPC Identification Number 842018 (“the Committee”), for the period from January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2015. The audit was conducted to determine whether the Committee materially complied with the requirements of the Political Reform Act (“the Act”) (California Government Code section 81000, et seq.) and San Francisco’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance (“CFRO”) (San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code section 1.100, et seq). The Committee was selected for random audit from the 2015 audit cycle.

II. Audit Authority

San Francisco Charter section C3.699-11 authorizes the Ethics Commission (“the Commission”) to audit campaign statements that are filed with the Commission along with other relevant documents to determine whether a committee complied with applicable requirements of State and local laws. Section 1.150(a) of the CFRO requires the Commission to audit all candidates who receive public financing.

III. Audit Scope and Procedures

This audit was performed in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards. The audit involved a review of the Committee’s records for the period covered by the audit. This review was conducted to determine:
A. Compliance with all disclosure requirements pertaining to contributions, expenditures, accrued expenditures, and loans, including itemization when required;
B. Compliance with applicable filing deadlines;
C. Compliance with restrictions on contributions, loans, and expenditures;
D. Accuracy of total reported receipts, disbursements, and cash balances as compared to bank records;
E. Compliance with all record-keeping requirements;
F. Compliance with all provisions related to the Commission’s public financing program; and
G. Any unexpended public funds that must be returned to the City up to the amount of public funds received by the candidate.

The Commission posts audit reports to its website and, in cases of apparent violations of law, forwards them to the appropriate enforcement agency.

IV. Committee Information

The Committee qualified as a general purpose committee on October 22, 1984 to support candidates and ballot measures. For the period covered by the audit, Juan Cerda served as the treasurer and Reese Isabell served as the assistant treasurer from January 4, 2014 through August 18, 2014. The Committee remains active.

V. Audit Findings

For the period covered by the audit, the Committee received $178,961.10 in contributions (the Committee did not receive any loans, non-monetary contributions or public funds) and incurred $188,440.50 in campaign expenditures.

The Commission determined that there was one material finding with respect to the audit of the Committee.

Finding: The Committee failed to abide by the campaign disclaimer requirements of Government Code Section 84506.5 for independent expenditure advertisements. That section states:

§ 84506.5. Disclaimer; Independent Expenditure Ads; Not Authorized by Candidate. (a) An advertisement supporting or opposing a candidate that is paid for by an independent expenditure must include the following statement: This advertisement was not authorized or paid for by a candidate for this office or a committee controlled by a candidate for this office.

None of the advertisements produced by the Committee which were categorized as independent expenditure ads on candidates included the required statement.

Committee Response

The Committee provided the following comment:

As noted in the draft audit report, we did include a disclaimer on all of our campaign materials:

“Paid for by Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club PAC, FPPC #842018”

However, we again relied on our accountant to ensure we complied with the disclaimer requirement. We did not know that we needed to include the second sentence “Not authorized by. . .” as well. We will include this in all materials going forward.

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