In unrelated enforcement actions, Commission also levies more than $15,000 in fines in four separate matters resolved through its new Streamlined Administrative Resolution Program
August 13, 2021
For information: Patrick Ford (415) 252-3100
At its monthly public meeting Friday, the San Francisco Ethics Commission unanimously approved a stipulated agreement fining Mayor London Breed $22,792 for four counts of violating City campaign finance, ethics, and gift laws. In the proposed Stipulation, Decision, and Order adopted by the Commission, the Mayor acknowledged responsibility and agreed to pay a monetary penalty for having sought and accepted contributions in excess of the limits established under City law, which she then failed to publicly disclose on campaign statements as required by law; for a misuse of her City title for personal purposes unrelated to her official duties; and for accepting a gift from her former subordinate employee Mohammed Nuru, in violation of City gift laws. As authorized by the City Charter, the resolution of violations through a public stipulated agreement enables Respondents and the Ethics Commission to resolve enforcement matters without the need of a lengthier and more costly process involving a hearing on the merits.
As detailed In the Matter of London Breed (SFEC Complaint No. 1920-072), while a member of the Board of Supervisors, Breed in 2015 asked for payments of $1,250 each from “Nick Bovis/Lefty O’Douls” and “John Konstin/John’s Grill” to help defray the cost of her 2015 Pride Parade float. Under campaign finance rules, these payments qualified as contributions to the political committee she used as her officeholder account, London Breed for San Francisco Supervisor 2012. The contributions each exceeded the City’s $500 candidate contribution limit and were not reported as required on the 2012 committee’s subsequent campaign statement. In resolving these counts, the Commission fined Breed $12,000 Breed for failing to report the contributions and for having accepted campaign contributions over the legal limit.
The Commission fined Breed $2,500 for having used her official City title in a 2018 communication in which she sought to resolve a matter of personal interest. In a letter Breed sent in 2018 to the then-Governor of California, Breed referenced her title as “Mayor” in seeking the commutation of her brother’s prison sentence. By improperly referencing her City title in the letter, Breed violated provisions of the Mayor’s Office Statement of Incompatible Activities that prohibits the use of City title for personal purposes.
Lastly, Breed agreed to pay $8,292 to resolve one count in violation of the City’s ban on receiving gifts from a subordinate employee for having accepted gifts in 2019 in the form of automobile repairs and rental car payments totaling more than $5,500 from then-Director of Public Works Mohammed Nuru. Because Nuru was a subordinate employee to Breed at the time she accepted the gifts, Breed violated the City’s prohibition on receipt of gifts from a subordinate employee.
In separate enforcement actions today, the Commission also unanimously adopted four other stipulations handled through its new Streamlined Administrative Resolution Program that together levied fines totaling $15,513:
- In the Matter of Norman Yee for Supervisor 2016, Norman Yee, and Lisa Le (SFEC Complaint No. 1617-020);
- In the Matter of Eamonn Herlihy and Richard Hart (SFEC Complaint No. 1819-062, 1920-035);
- In the Matter of John Dennis for Supervisor 2018, John Dennis, and Kelly Lawler (SFEC Complaint No. 1819-062-2, 1920-35-2); and
- In the Matter of Yes on Proposition V and Rebecca Olson (SFEC Complaint No. 1920-048).
As with other stipulations acted on by the commission, Respondents and the Commission may agree to settle and resolve all factual and legal issues and reach a final disposition in these streamlined matters without the need for an administrative enforcement hearing. Established in February 2021, the Commission’s Streamlined Administrative Resolution Program is designed to provide accountability for violations of City laws while reducing the amount of time and resources required for a more formal case resolution. The program does this by allowing identified types of cases to be resolved by a more standardized method for resolving matters by streamlined stipulated settlement within a framework of established fine formulas for violations of certain provisions of the City law. By allowing eligible matters to be resolved through streamlined procedures, the program enables the Commission to reserve a larger share of its investigative resources for broader scope investigations of greater severity, complexity, or breadth.
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The San Francisco Ethics Commission was created directly by the City’s voters with the passage of Proposition K in November 1993 and is responsible for the independent and impartial administration and enforcement of laws related to campaign finance, public financing of candidates, governmental ethics, conflicts of interests, and registration and reporting by lobbyists, campaign consultants, permit consultants, and major developers.
Our mission is to practice and promote the highest standards of integrity in government. We achieve that by delivering impactful programs that promote fair, transparent, and accountable governmental decision making for the benefit of all San Franciscans. Public service is a public trust, and our aim is to ensure that San Franciscans can have confidence that the operations of the City and County and the decisions made by its officials and employees are fair, just, and made without any regard to private or personal gain.