To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 8 – Executive Director’s Report for the April 2019 Commission Meeting
This report provides various programmatic and operational highlights to date since the last monthly Executive Director’s Report.
No action is required by the Commission, as this item is for informational purposes only.
Deputy Director Gayathri Thaikkendiyil and I have been in continuing contact with the Mayor’s Budget Office to provide requested information in connection with our operational budget submission for FY20/21. In addition, Deputy Directory Thaikkendiyil will represent our office at the April 12th meeting of the Committee on Information Technology (“COIT”) to provide further information and answer questions regarding the Commission’s proposal, Making Disclosure Meaningful: Data Sharing and Analysis Tools for an Informed Public. We will provide further updates as developments warrant.
Engagement & Compliance Program Updates
The Engagement and Compliance division has been busy over the past several weeks across a range of programs to support core filing deadlines and implement new compliance tools and resources for new programs under the law.
Annual Statements of Economic Interest Filings (Form 700)
Annual financial disclosure statements required to be filed by City officials and designated employees were due Tuesday, April 2 this year due to the April 1 state holiday in observance of Cesar Chavez Day. Annual Ethics and Sunshine Ordinance Training Declaration Forms required to be filed by City officials were due Monday, April 1, 2019. Over 500 elected Officials, Commissioners, Board Members, and Department Heads are required to file the Form 700 electronically with the Ethics Commission. Approximately 3,000 other City and County employees designated on departmental Conflict of Interest codes are also required to file a Form 700. These designated employees file on paper copies with their respective departments.
To help inform filers and filing officers about the annual Form 700 and training requirements, in January we launched updated compliance pages online. To help heighten awareness of these requirements and support timely compliance, staff also conducted two information sessions for filers (on February 20 and March 20) and two for filing officers (on February 12 and March 12). Each session addressed information and tools available to promote understanding and compliance with annual filing requirements. In addition to online tools and information sessions, staff also sent out several reminder notices to departmental contacts and filers before the filing deadline with information about filing resources and assistance. The Engagement and Compliance team also provided one-on-one assistance to filers and filing officers through emails, calls, and in person.
After the annual filing deadline, Commissioners and Board Members that appeared to have unfulfilled annual filing requirements were notified about their pending filing obligations through an email notice on April 3 and April 4, 2019. Following these communications, additional filers filed their statements and some agencies notified us about changes to their commissions/boards that affected their filers’ status. Commission staff continue to work through a list of filer account changes to ensure that the e-filing system reflects any needed updates. After further detailed review of any remaining non-filers to confirm their pending filing requirements and to apply any needed updates to filer accounts, additional communications from our office will be sent out to the remaining non-filers.
All e-filed annual Form 700 and training declaration are available in the Commission’s SEI Disclosures database. The database also provides information regarding e-filers who have not filed their required statements. Additional information about this year’s filing will be provided in the upcoming Commission meeting.
Lobbying Program Update
Per City’s Lobbyist Ordinance, Contact Lobbyists are required to register with the Ethics Commission and pay an annual registration fee of $500 within five business days of qualifying as a lobbyist. To register, lobbyists must e-file registration reports that disclose information about their employers, clients, City agencies that they have lobbied or may lobby, and the lobbying period for each client and City agency. By the fifteenth day of every month, lobbyists are also required to disclose on electronic reports lobbying activity during the prior calendar month. After initial registration, lobbyists must pay $500 re-registration fee annually by February 1 to remain active. As of April 8, 190 contact lobbyists were registered with the Commission and 2 expenditure lobbyists were registered.
Over the last several months, the Engagement and Compliance staff members have been assisting lobbyists and their representatives to timely complete the annual registration requirements and file monthly disclosure reports. Staff provided compliance support by addressing lobbyists’ questions regarding filing requirements, managing filer accounts in the e-filing system, sending out reminder notices to filers with pending requirements, providing technical assistance to filers to submit their reports, tracking registration fee payments, and terminating inactive lobbyists. The Commission’s EDDA and Compliance staff have also been working on testing and implementing system enhancements to the Lobbyists e-filing system which were implemented on April 4, 2019. Some of the key changes to the system include improvements to how the lobbyists report their clients, payments, and amendments, among other enhancements. Information regarding Contact Lobbyists registered with the Ethics Commission can be accessed through the Commission’s Lobbyist directory.
Compliance Tools and Guidance for Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance (ACAO) Implementation
The Engagement and Compliance team also is working on implementing processes and procedures required to administer new provisions of law enacted by the Anti-Corruption and Accountability Ordinance (ACAO), which became operational on January 1, 2019. This work involves developing new disclosure forms, updating the Commission’s website and compliance materials, providing compliance guidance to filers, and establishing internal operational procedures to administer the program. Several of the disclosure forms have been implemented electronically while others will be automated in the coming months. Commission staff also will be conducting outreach and training to inform filers about the new laws, its requirements, and tools that will be available to support compliance.
Trustee Elections Reporting
In 2018, the Board of Supervisors and the Mayor approved amendments to the Administrative Code to institute certain campaign activity reporting by candidates and third parties making expenditures in elections for members of the following boards for the City and County of San Francisco: the Retirement Board, Health Service Board, and Retiree Health Care Trust Fund Board. Staff on the Commission’s Engagement and Compliance team have been working on providing outreach, compliance guidance, and technical assistance to filers for the upcoming Health Service Board election (May 10 – 29, 2019) and Retiree Health Care Trust Fund Board election (May 13 – 28, 2019).
Table 1 shows the revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2018, as of April 5, 2019.
Table 1- Summary of FY 2018-19 Revenues
|Source||FY 18-19 Budgeted Amount||FY 18-19 Receipts as of April 5, 2019|
|Lobbyist Registration Fees||$85,000||$91,250|
|Campaign Consultants Fees||$7,000||$8,100|
|Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public||$2,450||$2,514|
|Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees||$1,250||$160|
|Campaign Consultant Fines||$2,000||$750|
|Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures)||$50,000||$46,262|
|Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission||$7,500||$28,120|
|Major Developer Fee||$0||$4,500|
I look forward to answering any questions you might have at the upcoming Commission meeting.