Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Announcement of Interested Persons Meetings to Discuss Public Financing Program and Draft Regulations Concerning Opinions and Advice

Tuesday, July 31, 2018 – 2:15 PM to 3:45 PM
25 Van Ness Avenue, Room 70 (basement)
San Francisco, CA 94102


And


Wednesday, August 1, 2018 – 4:15 PM to 5:45 PM
25 Van Ness Avenue, Room 70 (basement)
San Francisco, CA 94102

Ethics Commission Staff will be holding two meetings to receive public input on two of the Commission’s ongoing policy projects. The meetings will address (i) the City’s public campaign financing program and (ii) a set of draft regulations concerning the providing of opinions and advice by the Commission and Staff.

Public Financing Program

The Commission has identified a substantive review of the City’s public financing program as its top policy priority. As part of this process, Staff invites members of the public to share their thoughts about the program and how it might be improved.
Specific aspects of the program that will be discussed at the meeting include:

  1. The process for qualifying for public financing. Is it too difficult or too easy for candidates to access public campaign financing? If so, what specific changes could be made to the qualification process while still maintaining the integrity of the program?
  2. The funds available to candidates. Are the funds that participating candidates receive through the program too little or too much? Is the time window for receiving funds too broad or too narrow? What is a sustainable funding model that would better achieve the purpose of the program?
  3. The Individual Expenditure Ceiling. Are spending limits for publicly financed candidates working? If not, how might the Individual Expenditure Ceiling rule be changed to better serve the purposes of the program?
  4. What approaches taken in other jurisdictions should be considered to strengthen the effectiveness of the program?

Former candidates and treasurers are encouraged to attend the meeting to share their experiences with the program. Please note that if you are a former candidate or treasurer, Staff may contact you separately, regardless of your participation in these meetings, to solicit your feedback on the program.
All attendees are strongly encouraged to review the current rules of the program by reading the Supplemental Guide for Board of Supervisors Candidates Seeking Public Funding in the June and/or November 2018 Election or by viewing Staff’s presentation at the Commission’s July 20, 2018 meeting, a video recording of which will be made available at SFGovTV.

Regulations Concerning Opinions and Advice

Any person may request that the Commission issue a written opinion, or that Staff provide informal advice, with respect to that person’s duties under provisions of the Charter or any ordinance relating to campaign finance, conflicts of interest, lobbying or governmental ethics.
To clarify and standardize the processes by which members of the public request such guidance, the processes followed by the Commission and Staff in responding to requests, and the legal effects of opinions and advice on those who request them, Staff have developed a set of draft regulations. Members of the public are encouraged to share their thoughts on these draft regulations and how opinions and advice could best be provided. The Commission is particularly interested in public comment addressing the following questions:

  1. Would the approaches outlined in the draft regulations strengthen the processes for providing opinions and advice?
  2. What additional changes could strengthen the processes?
  3. What approaches taken in other jurisdictions should be considered?

The draft regulations and Staff memorandum provide useful background information.

Staff also welcomes written comments, which can be sent via email to ethics.commission@sfgov.org, or via U.S. mail to San Francisco Ethics Commission, 25 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 220, San Francisco, CA 94102.

For questions about the upcoming Interested persons meetings, please contact Pat Ford at (415) 252-3100. We welcome your input and hope to see you at one of our upcoming meetings.

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