Lobbyists - Research and Filings
Contact lobbyists are required to register with the Commission and disclose activity on a monthly basis. Under amendments to the San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance effective July 26, 2014, a contact lobbyist is any individual who either: (1) makes five or more lobbying contacts in a calendar month with officers of the City and County on behalf of the individual's employer; or (2) makes one or more lobbying contacts in a calendar month with an officer of the City and County on behalf of any person who pays or who becomes obligated to pay the individual or the individual's employer for lobbyist services. An individual is not a contact lobbyist if that individual is lobbying on behalf of a business of which the individual owns a 20% or greater share.
Under the prior version of the law (effective starting in 2010), a lobbyist was an individual who received or was promised economic consideration of $3,000 or more within three consecutive calendar months for lobbyist services; and on behalf of the persons providing the economic consideration, made any lobbying contact with an officer of the City and County.
The Ethics Commission provides the public with a database to view the monthly disclosure reports including a directory of contact lobbyists, firms, clients, lobbying subject areas, and contacted public officials. Contact lobbyist activity can be searched, including political contributions made or delivered to candidates, contacts of public officials, payments promised by clients, and activity expenses. The web site is updated within minutes of a contact lobbyist filing a monthly disclosure reports. To check if a particular contact lobbyist has filed a report, please see the "All Lobbyist Filings" page.
Contact Lobbyist Datasets at data.sfgov.org and Database API
Datasets derived from lobbyist statements are accessible via data.sfgov.org. The datasets can be embedded into your own web site, built into charts, or downloaded into a variety of formats.
Software programmers can access the Commission's Lobbyist Database API to build custom applications with live access to the Commission's lobbyist database.
If the contact lobbyist makes an error on a disclosure statement, the contact lobbyist may submit corrections on an amended disclosure statement. When a contact lobbyist submits an amended disclosure statement, the Commission preserves a copy of the original disclosure statement in addition to the amended disclosure statement. However, the Commission's contact lobbyist web site directories and transaction searches display only the most current version of the content filed on a contact lobbyist disclosure statement. To see the changes made to the original statement by any amendment, please view the instructions below.
Mapping Reported Names
Lobbyists are required to accurately self-report all information required under the Lobbyist Ordinance. The Ethics Commission does not alter any entry except to correct typographical errors in order to facilitate the public's use of the reported information. This includes correcting the spelling of public officials' names and linking legislative aides and City employees to the correct public official. However, the Commission retains the original filings in its office.
An expenditure lobbyist is an individual or entity that spends $2,500 or more in a calendar month to solicit, request, or urge others to communicate directly with a City officer in order to influence local legislative or administrative action. City officers covered by this rule generally include elected City officials, members of City boards and commissions, and City department heads.
Examples of spending that counts toward the $2,500 registration threshold include public relations, media relations, advertising, public outreach, research, investigation, reports, analysis, and studies to the extent those activities are used to solicit, request or urge other persons to communicate directly with a City officer.
Examples of spending that does not count toward the $2,500 registration threshold include: payments made to a registered “contact” lobbyist who directly contacts City officers; payments made to an organization for membership dues; payments made by an organization to distribute communications to its members; payments made by a news media organization to develop and distribute its publications; and payments made by a client to a representative to appear on the client’s behalf in a legal proceeding before a City agency or department; salary paid by employer to employee for activities to solicit, request, or urge others to communicate directly with an officer of the City in order to influence a matter of local legislative or administrative action.
Expenditure Lobbyist Registration and Disclosure Filings
Lobbyist disclosure reports from 2006-2009 were filed on a quarterly basis on paper and recorded in a database viewable on the Ethics Commission web site. Scanned copies of filed forms are available to be viewed in PDF format. Filings that have not yet been scanned are marked as "Visit Office" and can be viewed in the Ethics Commission's office during regular business hours from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Lobbyist disclosure reports from prior to 2006 are accessible in the Ethics Commission's office.
Summaries of Quarterly Lobbyist Reports
Information about lobbyist activity from 1996-2009 is summarized in quarterly lobbyist reports prepared by the Ethics Commission.
The San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance, S.F. Admin. Code Section 67.1 et seq., requires lobbyists who contract for economic consideration with the City to represent the City in matters before any local, regional, state or federal administrative or legislative body to file quarterly activity reports with the Ethics Commission. These persons and entities are referred to as "Lobbyists on Behalf of the City." Please note: Lobbyists on Behalf of the City should not be confused with lobbyists who attempt to influence City officers on local legislative or administrative action on behalf of private parties. The latter are regulated by the San Francisco Lobbyist Ordinance, S.F. Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code Section 2.100, et seq., not by the Sunshine Ordinance.