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Enforcement Update: Ethics Commission Approves a Settlement with Multi-Purpose Organization Walk San Francisco for Violating Campaign Finance Laws


For information:  Michael Canning (415) 252-3100.

February 13, 2024

At its monthly public meeting on Friday, February 9th, the San Francisco Ethics Commission unanimously approved a stipulated agreement fining the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization Walk San Francisco Foundation $1,200 for one count of violating City and State campaign finance laws.

In the Stipulation, Decision, and Order adopted by the Commission, the Walk San Francisco Foundation acknowledged responsibility and agreed to pay a monetary penalty for failing to register and report as a political committee once it qualified and was required to report as such. The law requires multi-purpose organizations, such as non-profits, to register as a political committee under several circumstances including when they accept payments from donors with an understanding that the money will be used for making political expenditures. Registering and reporting as a political committee gives the public important information about individuals and organizations spending money to influence elections.

The violations of state and City campaign finance law occurred when the Walk San Francisco Foundation solicited political contributions from its members to support Propositions J and L and oppose Proposition I on the November 8, 2022 General Election ballot and subsequently made political expenditures for the same purposes while failing to timely register and report as a political committee. Because the Foundation did not timely comply with registration and reporting requirements that apply to political committees, the public was deprived of transparency into when and how money is raised and spent to influence the outcome of political contests in the City. Campaign finance disclosure laws exist to ensure that this transparency exists.

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 full hearing. The Commission is authorized to assess a monetary penalty of up to $5,000 for each violation or three times the amount which the respondent failed to report properly or unlawfully contributed, expended, gave or received, whichever is greater.

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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. 

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