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Acting Executive Director’s Report for September 2023

Date: September 1, 2023
To: Members of the Ethics Commission
From: Gayathri Thaikkendiyil, Acting Executive Director
Subject: Agenda Item 4 – Acting Executive Director’s Report for September 2023

Summary and Action Requested

This report provides various programmatic and operational highlights since the last report.

No action is required by the Commission, as this item is for informational purposes only.

Court Overturns State Rule Regarding Political Contributions, Similar Local Rule Remains in Effect

In July, the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a State rule that since 1976 had prohibited local government employees from soliciting political contributions from their coworkers, while State employees were exempt from the rule. The Court found that the State law violated the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause by prohibiting local government employees from soliciting political contributions from their coworkers, while State employees were not similarly barred. Locally, the City has a rule in Section 3.230(a) that prohibits officers and employees from soliciting political contributions from other City officers and employees. Staff and the City Attorney’s Office have conferred and determined that the Court’s recent ruling does not invalidate the City’s local rule. Since the Court’s ruling has been covered locally in the press, Staff is planning a public communication for later this month regarding the ruling so that City officials are aware that the City’s local rule remains in effect.

Job Postings

Staff is continuing to focus on hiring activities as a top priority for the department. The job posting for the 1840 Client Support Specialist position in the Engagement & Compliance division was open in August. The posting has now closed and the recruitment is in applicants review phase.

Two additional job postings in the Engagement & Compliance division are now live.

  • The Engagement & Compliance Officer position will provide compliance guidance, advice, filing assistance, technical support, training and day-to-day administration for the Campaign Finance program and other programs.
  • The Engagement & Compliance Manager position will provide day-to-day oversight for all compliance programs and division staff. This position will be responsible for implementing public-facing services online and in-office, managing implementation of new policies, procedures, and practices, and monitoring and reporting on program effectiveness.

We welcome candidates with diverse backgrounds who are eager to promote accountability and trust in public service to apply to these positions. Detailed information about current job openings can be accessed on the Ethics Commission’s Jobs page.  

Quarterly Enforcement Report Planned for October Meeting

The Quarterly Enforcement Report which would have been normally included in the agenda for the September meeting is now planned for the October meeting, as the Director of Enforcement will not be present at the September meeting. This report provides general programmatic updates and data about the cases handled by the Enforcement Division. We look forward to providing this update in the next month’s meeting.

Revenues Report

The table below reflects revenues received by the Commission for Fiscal Year 2023-24 as of September 1, 2023.

Account DescriptionBudgetActuals
Campaign Consultant Registration Fee$7,000$0
Lobbyist Registration Fee$85,000$2,500
Campaign Consultant Fines$2,000$0
Campaign Disclosure Fines$50,000$0
Statement of Economic Interests Fines$1,250$0
Lobbyists Fines$2,000$550
Other Ethics Fines$7,500$0
Other General Government Charges$2,450$0

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