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Executive Director's Report - January 28, 2013

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Meeting of January 28, 2013  

1. November 6, 2012 election. 

For the November 6, 2012 election, the Commission disbursed a total of $1,228,097 in public funds to 12 candidates eligible to receive public financing. 

According to Third Party Disclosure Forms filed with the Commission, third party spending to support or oppose candidates on the November 6 ballot totaled almost $1.7 million.  In 2010 when 22 candidates qualified to receive public funding, third party spending also totaled approximately $1.7 million.   

Staff continues to conduct outreach to candidates to inform them about rules relating to termination of committees, return of unexpended funds and other relevant matters.  Candidates who received public funding will be audited.

2. Investigation and enforcement program.

As of January 16, 2013, there are 30 pending formal complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction. 

Category # of Complaints
Campaign Finance 16
Conflict of Interest 3
Governmental Ethics 0
Lobbyist Ordinance 0
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 2
Sunshine Ordinance 9
TOTAL 30

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The most recent filing deadline was on October 25, 2012 for the Second Pre-Election statement, which covers the reporting period ending October 20, 2012.  Only one filer still has not filed his required statement.  Staff sent a Non-Specific Written Notice.  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.  The next filing deadline is January 31, 2013 for the Second Semi-Annual Statement, which covers the reporting period ending December 31, 2012.

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  In the FY12-13, as of December 31, the Commission collected a total of $26,786 in campaign finance late fees and forfeitures.  Outstanding late fees and forfeitures total $23,264, of which waiver requests are pending for $1,885; and $6,659 is pending at the Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR). 

c. Status of accounts to San Francisco Bureau of Delinquent Revenues (BDR).  The following chart provides details on active 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 Johnny K. Wang
JKW Political Consulting
100716 Johnny K. Wang 4/19/11 $4,000 $4,000 $4,000 
2 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 $6,659

4. Revenues report. 

For FY 12-13, the Commission was budgeted to generate $100,000 in revenues.  As of January 18, 2013, the Commission received $ 49,387 as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately 49 percent of expected revenues for FY 12-13. 

Revenues received as of January 18, 2013:

Source Budgeted Amount FY 12-13 Receipts
Lobbyist Fees $27,000 $18,000
Other Ethics General $1,000 $92
Campaign Finance Fines $50,000 $21,572
Campaign Consultant Fees $18,000 $3,650
Lobbyist Fines $1,000 $550
Statements of Economic Interests Fines $1,000 $2540
Other Ethics Fines $1,000 $1,300
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000 $150
Unallocated $0 $1,533
Total                        $100,000 $49,387

5. Lobbyist program. 

As of January 15, 2013, 89 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission. For FY 12–13, as of January 15, 2013, total revenues collected were $18,550, including $18,000 in lobbyist registration fees and $550 in late fines. The filing deadline for the annual re-registration fee is February 1, 2013 and the filing deadline for the next lobbyist disclosure statement is February 15, 2013.

6. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of January 18, 2013, eighteen campaign consultants are registered with the Commission.   $3,650 in registration fees and $150 in fines have been collected so far during the 2012-2013 fiscal year.  The next campaign consultant quarterly report deadline is Friday, March 15, 2013.  Staff will send reminders to all active campaign consultants two weeks before the deadline.

7. Outreach and Education.

On November 8, staff met with 16 representatives of the Sichuan Provincial Foreign Affairs Public Administration Management Office.  On December 4, staff met with 14 representatives of the Xizang State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission.  Both meetings were sponsored by the U.S.-China Exchange Council.  The delegations were interested in learning about the work of the Ethics Commission, codes of ethics, and conflicts of interest matters, as well as efforts to support government integrity and prevent corruption. 

On December 6, 2012, staff met with 18 representatives of the Jiangsu, China Provincial Supervision Departments and Bureaus.  On January 14, 2013, staff met with 17 representatives from several provincial and municipal departments of Sichuan, China.  The delegations, sponsored by Triway International, Inc., were in the U.S. to learn about anti-corruption practices in the states and to discuss the functions of the Ethics Commission and its education and enforcement programs.

On December 12, staff met with 25 members of Chinese Justice Management Delegation, representing prison officials and administrators from China.  The group, sponsored by the Cross Cultural Exchange, was invited to study anti-corruption practices in the U.S.

On November 28, staff trained the filing officer of the Planning Department and Commission on Statement of Economic Interests filing requirements.

On December 21, staff trained employees of the Department of Children, Youth and their Families on state and local conflict of interest laws.

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

The Commission has scheduled two trainings for filing officers regarding the annual Statement of Economic Interests filings that are due April 2, 2013.  The trainings will be held on February 6 and March 5, 2013 at 10 a.m. in Room 421 City Hall.

8. Budget and Legislative Analyst’s Report.

On June 5, 2012, the Budget Analyst issued a report comparing the laws of the City and County of San Francisco and the City of Los Angeles.  The report examined four areas of policy and enforcement: campaign financing, enforcement and education, lobbying, and transparency.  On December 4 and 10, 2012, staff held interested persons meetings to obtain feedback on the policy options listed by the Budget Analyst.  Based on concerns raised, staff will convene another interested persons meeting on February 27, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. in Room 400 City Hall.  At the meeting, staff hopes to present proposals for comment prior to their presentation before the Commission, which may occur in March.

9.  Technology Upgrades.

In December, 2012, staff deployed a variety of technology upgrades.  A new electronic filing software application is now available for committees required to file FPPC campaign finance forms.  The new application was developed as part of the Commission’s contract with Netfile and it incorporates much of the feedback that the Commission has received regarding the current SFEDS application. The application is available to committees free of charge.

Highlights of the new application include:

  • Single Sign-on for treasurers with multiple committees;
  • Streamlined data entry and faster data access, particularly for Form 460 Schedules D and G;
  • Ability to edit previously entered bills, payments, and loans;
  • Advanced transaction filtering;
  • Ability to change cover-page information;
  • Ability to add document notes to be attached to a statement;
  • Page help for every form;
  • Ability to add committee officers and assign signatory permissions; and
  • Easier statement amendment process.

The Commission also deployed new computers for staff and the public access room as part of the City’s PC Refresh Program.  In addition, staff migrated the Commission’s server to the City’s new data center as part of the Committee on Information Technology’s Server Consolidation Project.

10.  Status of legislative proposals endorsed by Ethics Commission.

Amendments to Section 1.112 of the Campaign and Governmental Conduct Code approved by the Commission at its meeting on July 23, 2012 passed first reading by the Board of Supervisors on January 15, 2013.  The amendments include the following changes:

  • Committees that are required to file electronic campaign finance statements will no longer be required to file duplicate paper copies;
  • Committees will be required to file electronic statements if the committee receives contributions or makes expenditures that total $1,000 or more in a calendar year;
  • County Central Committee candidate controlled committees and primarily formed committees will be required to file electronically; and
  • Any committee not required to file electronic statements may voluntarily opt to file electronic statements.

Should the amendments pass second reading by the Board of Supervisors and be approved by the Mayor, staff will provide notice to committees of these changes and instructions regarding new electronic filing procedures. 

The amendments to Section 1.112 were made possible as a result of the staff’s work on Assembly Bill 2452 that was approved on July, 13 2012.

Respectfully submitted,

 

_________________________
John St. Croix
Executive Director

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