Ethics Commission
City and County of San Francisco

Executive Director’s Report – January 13, 2020

To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: LeeAnn Pelham, Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 11 – Executive Director’s Report for the December 2019 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 for informational purposes only.

Ethics Commission Outreach Selected for San Francisco Fellows Team Project

We are excited to announce that the Ethics Commission has been selected for one of the team projects to be undertaken by the San Francisco Fellows program.  The San Francisco Fellows program is designed to foster community stewardship by preparing recent college graduates and young professionals for roles in public service and administration. Participants are competitively selected applicants within five years of earning their undergraduate degree who join a cohort of up to 18 Fellows for an 11.5-month full-time work experience with the City. Working directly with Deputy Director & Chief Programs Officer Gayathri Thaikkendiyil and the Engagement & Compliance team, four Fellows will be committing 40 hours to our project to develop outreach materials and revise content on the “Get Guidance” page of our Commission website to help the public learn more about the Commission’s mission and its programs and services, including a brochure that Commission Staff will then have translated into other languages to broaden the impact of the Commission’s work.

Program Implementation Update: Behested Payments Reporting

At the December meeting of the Ethics Commission, Chair Chiu requested information about behested payment disclosures that have resulted to date from new City law reporting requirements that became operative January 1, 2019.

Specifically, San Francisco Campaign & Governmental Code Sec. 3.610(b) requires that City elective officers and members of certain boards and commissions file behested payment reports known as “SFEC Form 3610b” with the Ethics Commission any time a behested payment of $1,000 or more is made at his or her behest by an interested party. An interested party is defined in the law as a person who is a party or participant to certain types of proceedings before the official in question, and those proceedings are limited to administrative enforcement proceedings and proceedings regarding permits, licenses, or other entitlements for use. A party to such a proceeding is someone who files an application for a license, permit, or entitlement for use or is the subject of the administrative enforcement. A participant in such a proceeding is someone who is not a party to the proceeding but who actively supports or opposes a particular decision in the proceeding and has a financial interest in the decision.

The filing deadline for SFEC Form 3610b depends on the circumstances under which the behested payment was made. If the behested payment was made while the proceeding involving the interested party is pending before the official, then the form must be filed within thirty days of the payment being made. If there is a series of behested payments, the form is due within 30 days of the payment that makes the total $1,000 or more. If the behested payment was made within six months following the date on which a final decision was made in the proceeding involving the interested party, then the form must be filed within thirty days of the payment. If there is a series of behested payments, the form is due within 30 days of the payment that makes the total $1,000 or more. Finally, if the behested payment was made in the 12 months prior to the commencement of the proceeding involving the interested party, the form is due within 30 days of the date the official knew or should have known that the source of the behested payment became an interested party.

Under San Francisco Campaign & Governmental Conduct Code Section 1.114.5(b)(2), any ballot measure committee or committee making independent expenditures that receives contributions totaling $5,000 or more in a calendar year at the behest of a City elective officer is required to file Form 114.5.  “At the behest of” is defined in the law to mean under the control or at the direction of, in cooperation, consultation, coordination, or concert with, at the request or suggestion of, or with the express, prior consent of. However, a contribution is not made at the behest of a public official solely because the official requested the contribution via television, radio, billboard, a public message on an online platform, the distribution of 200 or more identical pieces of printed material, the distribution of a single email to 200 or more recipients, or a speech to a group of 20 or more individuals. The filing deadline for Form 114.5 is no later than the deadline to file the semi-annual or pre-election campaign statement that must report the contribution that makes the cumulative total $5,000 or more.

Table 1 below provides an overview of the reports filed by officials and committees in Calendar Year 2019 following enactment of these provisions.

Table 1 – Summary of City-Required Behested Payment Reports Received for Calendar Year 2019

SF C&GCC
Requirement
Disclosure Requirement
Applies to:
# Filers# Reports FiledTotal $ Amount of Behested Payments Reported Under City Requirements
Sec. 3610b
  • City elective officers
  • Certain Board and Commission members
413$70,787
Sec. 114.5
  • Ballot Measure Committees
  • Committees making Independent Expenditures
315$1,882,000

     
Note:
These City behested payments disclosure requirements are separate from disclosures required by elected officials under California Government Code section 82015 for payments of $5,000 or more made at the official’s behest that are made principally for legislative, governmental, or charitable purposes and principally for purposes unrelated to the official’s candidacy for elected office. Those disclosures are  reported on a state Form 803. Form 803 disclosures filed in 2019 by City elective officials be accessed through a Form 803 search function on the Commission’s website.

Attachment 1 provides further detail about behested payments disclosed in calendar year 2019 under City law and provides a snapshot of how those filings may be accessed and searched online at the Commission’s website.

On January 1, 2019, two related disclosure provisions also took effect in City law that established new requirements triggering behested payment reporting by donors and recipients of behested payments under certain circumstances. If a donor makes a payment, or series of payments, totaling $10,000 or more in a calendar year to a third party at the behest of a City officer, and the donor is an interested party or participant to a proceeding(s) before the officer who solicited the payment, the donor must disclose information regarding the payment(s) on Form SFEC-3.620. The donor must also notify the recipient of the behested payment of the name and title of the official who behested the payment.  Additionally, local law requires any person who receives behested payments, or a series of behested payments, totaling $100,000 to disclose information pertaining to the payment(s) on Form SFEC-3.630.  To date, for 2019 the Commission has received no Form SFEC3.620 or Form SFEC3.630 filings.

Staffing and Hiring

The application period for the vacant Investigative Analyst position (1822) closed on December 31 and the process of reviewing applications submitted by candidates is underway. The table below provides a snapshot of the Commission’s current position vacancies.

Table 1 – Position Vacancies

Position Working TitleWork GroupStatusTypeJob Class Title/No
Investigative AnalystEnforcement DivisionApplication period closed 12/31/2019.Vacancy/non-exemptAdministrative Analyst (1822)
Senior Information Systems Business AnalystElectronic Disclosure &  Data Analysis DivisionPosition posting under review.Vacancy/non-exemptSenior Information Systems Business Analyst (1053)
Policy AnalystPolicy DivisionPosition posting under review.Vacancy/non-exemptAdministrative Analyst (1822)
Principal Program Manager for AuditsAudit DivisionReview of position posting pending.Vacancy/non-exemptPrincipal Administrative Analyst (1824)

Additional updates regarding these positions will be shared as they become available.

Revenues Report

The table below shows the revenues received by the Commission during the fiscal year that began on July 1, 2019, as of January 10, 2020.

Table 2 – Summary to Date of FY19-20 Revenues

SourceFY 19-20 Budgeted AmountFY 19-20 Receipts as of
January 10, 2020
Lobbyist Registration Fees$85,000$32,850
Lobbyists Fines$2,000$5,900
Campaign Consultants Fees$7,000$13,025
Contact Lobbyist and Other e.g., copies made by public$2,450$0
Statement of Economic Interests Filings-Late Fees$1,250$1,060
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$4,000
Campaign Finance Fines (includes late fees and forfeitures)$50,000$60,384
Ethics, Other/ Administrative Fines Levied by the Commission$7,500$12,752
Major Developer Fee$0$500
Total$157,200$130,471

As always, I look forward to answering any questions you might have about this report at the upcoming Commission meeting.

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