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Lobbying Audits

Audit Program Information

lobbying-audits-page-imageThe Ethics Commission’s auditing standards are in part based on the standards of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). Auditing standards are used to measure the work done by the auditor to determine the acceptability of the audit. To the extent possible, each audit must conform to established AICPA auditing standards including standards of fieldwork and standards of reporting.

Lobbying Audits

Public disclosure of the identity and extent of efforts of lobbyists to influence decision-making regarding local legislative and administrative matters is essential to protect public confidence in the responsiveness and representative nature of government officials and institutions. To help promote accountability for lobbyists’ activities, City law requires lobbyists to submit regular disclosure reports that they verify, under penalty of perjury, to be accurate and complete. The Ethics Commission has authority under the law to audit lobbyist disclosure statements to substantiate the information they disclose. Pursuant to its authority under San Francisco Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 2.135, beginning in 2014 the Ethics Commission was authorized to initiate audits of one or more lobbyists selected at random. Lobbyists receiving a request for records must provide the requested documents within ten days.

Audit Reports

After all audit work has been completed and the auditee has had the opportunity to respond to any audit findings, Commission staff release a written audit report to the auditee and post it publicly. These reports provide an overview of the activity of the auditee during the period covered by the audit and identify any instances in which they failed to materially comply with the provisions of applicable laws.

All public audit reports issued by the Commission are also reviewed by Ethics Commission staff to determine if any administrative enforcement action is warranted and are also forwarded, as appropriate, to other enforcement agencies.

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