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Executive Director's Report - July 23, 2012

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Meeting of July 23, 2012  

1. November 6, 2012 election. 

The odd-numbered districts for the Board of Supervisors and four seats each for the Board of Education and Community College District will be voted on in the November 6, 2012 election. 

Recently, the Board of Supervisors approved changes to the public financing program, including changes to the qualification threshold.  Under revised rules, a candidate for the Board of Supervisors must demonstrate that he/she has received at least $10,000 in qualifying contributions from at least 100 individuals who reside in the City (incumbent candidates must raise $15,000 in qualifying contributions from at least 150 residents).  Upon certification, eligible candidates receive a grant of $20,000.  Thereafter, eligible candidates may receive additional public funds based on private contributions raised.  Candidates may receive up to $155,000 in public funds (incumbent candidates may receive up to $152,500).  The last day for candidates to submit an application to qualify for public funds is Tuesday, August 28. 

As of July 17, one candidate for the Board of Supervisors has submitted an application for public funding and has been certified as eligible to receive public funds. 

2. Investigation and enforcement program.

As of July 11, 2012, there are 23 pending complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction.  Out of the nine complaints alleging Sunshine Ordinance violations, the resolution of seven is pending the approval of the Commission’s Sunshine Ordinance regulations. 

Category # of Complaints
Campaign Finance 6
Conflict of Interest 4
Governmental Ethics 1
Lobbyist Ordinance 1
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 2
Sunshine Ordinance 9
TOTAL 23

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The next filing deadline that applies to all committees falls on July 31, 2012 for the First Semi-Annual statement, which covers the reporting period ending June 30, 2012.  In the interim, staff continues to receive and process campaign statements for other filing deadlines.  Staff continues to answer questions from and conduct outreach to candidates and other committee representatives about campaign finance filing obligations.

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  In the FY 11-12, as of June 30, the Commission collected a total of $38,379 in campaign finance late fees and forfeitures.  Outstanding late fees and forfeitures total $42,170, of which waiver requests are pending for $6,158; and $24,559 is pending at the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues.   

c. Status of accounts to San Francisco Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR).  The following chart provides details on pending accounts referred to BDR:

# Committee/
Filer
ID # Treasurer or Responsible Officer Date referral effective Original amount referred Last month’s balance Current balance (Changes are in bold)
1 Johnnie Carter for Community College Board 1226264 Johnnie Carter 6/16/06 $9,520 $6,595 $6,595
2 Committee to Elect M. Valle for Treasurer 1278937 Manuel B. Valle 6/14/07 $5,525 $5,525 $5,525
3 Omar Khalif for Board of Educ. 1287030 Omar Khalif 7/30/09 $1,800 $1,775 $1,775
4 Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup 1306882 Myrna Lim 7/30/09 $1,180 $1,180 $1,180
5 Myrna Lim for District 11 Sup 1256697 Jia Jun Chen 8/20/07 $3,855 $2,775 $2,775
6 San Francisco Women’s Political Committee 1243711 Giselle Barry 5/16/06 $1,906 $50 $50
7 Johnny K. Wang
JKW Political Consulting
100716 Johnny K. Wang 4/19/11 $4,000 $4,000 $4,000 
8 Coalition to Elect  Chris Jackson to Community College Board 1302351 Chris Jackson 6/17/11 2,658.90 $2,658.90 2,658.90
            TOTAL $24,559

4. Revenues report. 

For FY 11-12, the Commission was budgeted to generate $100,000 in revenues.  As of June 29, 2012, the Commission received $ 128,820 as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 128 percent of expected revenues for FY 11-12. 

Revenues received as of June 29, 2012:

Source Budgeted Amount FY 11-12 Receipts
Lobbyist Fees $27,000 $47,500
Other Ethics General $1,000 $316
Campaign Finance Fines $50,000 $38,379
Campaign Consultant Fees $18,000 $24,950
Lobbyist Fines $1,000 $350
Statements of Economic Interests Fines $1,000 $650
Other Ethics Fines $1,000 $9002
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000 $4,100
Unallocated $0 $3,573
Total $100,000 $128,820

5. Status of legislative proposals endorsed by Ethics Commission. 

On November 22, 2011, Supervisor Scott Wiener introduced proposed amendments to the CFRO that were approved by the Commission at its October and November 2012 meetings.  The legislation, File No. 111275, was assigned to the Rules Committee.  If approved by a supermajority of the Board of Supervisors, the amendments would have 1) modified and streamlined disclaimer and reporting requirements for candidates and third parties raising and spending funds in local elections; 2) required the Ethics Commission to provide public notice when thresholds are met; 3) eliminated the overall contribution limit on contributions to all candidates on the ballot in a single election; and 4) made various reporting and disclaimer requirements parallel to requirements in State law.  At a Rules Committee hearing on June 7, 2012, supervisors indicated that they were no longer interested in a compliance costs exception to the individual expenditure ceilings, given that legislation to amend the public financing program has been enacted.  Committee members also indicated, among other things, that the Commission should engage in another public process about proposals to amend the CFRO and that the Commission should not consider decreasing the frequency of disclosure.  Staff anticipates that it will bring forth proposals to address these concerns later in the year.

At its special meeting on March 9, 2012, the Ethics Commission approved amendments to File No. 111082, legislation to amend the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance to establish new qualification requirements for candidates seeking public funds, set the amount of public funds that may be disbursed, delay the disbursement date of public funds, change the matching funds formula, continue with adjustable individual expenditure ceilings that start at $250,000 for a candidate for the Board of Supervisors and $1,475,000 for a candidate for Mayor, and cap the Election Campaign Fund at $7 million.  The legislation was referred back to the Board of Supervisors, where it passed in April; the legislation took effect on May 20, 2012.

6. Lobbyist program. 

As of July 11, 2012, 85 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission. For FY 11–12, total revenues collected were $47,850, including $47,500 in lobbyist registration fees and $350 in late fines. For FY 12–13, as of July 11, 2012, zero revenue has been collected. The filing deadline for the next lobbyist disclosure statement is July 15, 2012.

7. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of July 16, 2012, thirty-five campaign consultants are registered with the Commission.  $24,950 in registration fees and $4,100 in late fines were collected during the 2011-2012 fiscal year.  $100 in registration fees have been collected so far during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.  The next campaign consultant quarterly report deadline is Monday, September 17, 2012.  Staff will send reminder notices to all active campaign consultants two weeks before the deadline.

8. Outreach and Education.

On April 24 and June 26, staff conducted a Candidates’ Training which covered filing requirements for potential candidates for the City elective offices of the Board of Supervisors, Board of Education, and Community College Board.  This training focused on campaign finance requirements that apply to candidates for all City elective offices and provided an overview of the Board of Supervisors’ public financing program. 

On June 19, 2012, staff met with a delegation of 23 representatives from various justice ministries in China.  The group visited the United States and generally met with various prison officials to learn about the U.S. prison system, government integrity and public administrative efficiency. 

On June 29, 2012, staff met with a delegation of 18 persons from the Shandong Provincial Commission Office for Public Sector Reform. The group, whose first stop was San Francisco, was interested in learning about public sector reform and personnel administration in the U.S.  Sponsored by Triway International Group, a professional consulting firm that provides training and visiting programs for Chinese delegations to the states, staff discussed the formation, functions and responsibilities of the Ethics Commission and strategies to maintain and raise ethical qualifications of officials in government.

The Commission continues to offer trainings on Statements of Incompatible Activities to City departments. 

The following trainings are upcoming trainings scheduled for 2012:

  • Candidates’ Training:  August 16

The following are web video trainings available on the Commission website:

  • Department of Building Inspection SIA Training
  • Candidates’ Training
  • Controller’s Office SIA Training
  • Department on the Environment SIA Training
  • Governmental Ethics Ordinance Training for City Employees
  • Lobbyist Ordinance Training
  • Medical Examiner’s Office SIA Training
  • Non-Candidate Recipient Committee Training
  • Public Utilities Commission SIA Training
  • SIA Template Language Training

9. San Francisco Data Web Site

Staff worked with the Department of Technology to publish the Commission’s lobbyist and campaign finance data to the City’s new data web site at data.sfgov.org.  The data web site is a one-stop location to obtain datasets from a variety of City departments that are in a common format.  The federal government, and many states and cities have also started using the same data system so that datasets can be interoperable.  Lobbyist and campaign finance data can be sorted, filtered, graphed, or plotted on maps using the online tools and republished on other web sites.  The site also allows programmers to access the data for software applications and web sites.  When the lobbyist or campaign finance data is updated, graphs and charts published on other web sites will automatically update with the latest information.

10. Interns.

This past fiscal year we have been fortunate to have had the services of the following interns, some of whom are continuing on with their services to the Commission:  Alex Gudim, a student at University of San Francisco (USF); Johnny Hosey, a graduate of San Francisco State University (SFSU); Sade Jones, an intern with the SF Youth Works Program;  Colby Payne, a graduate of USF; Perry Wong, a student at New York University; Samantha Sabo, a graduate of USF; Sahand Shahrabani, a student at USF; Abdullah Taleb, a student at SFSU; and Alana Taloa, a student at John C. Kimball High School.

Respectfully submitted,

 

_________________________
John St. Croix
Executive Director                

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