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Executive Director's Report - September 23, 2013

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR’S REPORT
TO THE SAN FRANCISCO ETHICS COMMISSION
For the Regular Meeting of September 23, 2013  

1. Budget.

As mentioned previously, the Commission’s budget for FY 2013/14 is $4,531,950, which is a total increase of $376,403 over the past year’s budget.  The total includes $1,903,559 for the Election Campaign Fund (ECF) and $2,628,391 for the operating budget.  Now that the Mayor has signed the budget, the Commission will focus its efforts on filling the three vacant staff positions: an auditor, an investigator, and a training officer/administrative assistant. 

2. Investigation and enforcement program.

As of September 16, 2013, there were 14 pending formal complaints alleging violations within the Ethics Commission’s jurisdiction. 

Category # of Complaints
Campaign Finance 8
Conflict of Interest 3
Governmental Ethics 0
Lobbyist Ordinance 0
Campaign Consultant Ordinance 2
Sunshine Ordinance 1
TOTAL 14

3. Campaign finance disclosure program.

a. Filing deadline.  The most recent filing deadline was on July 31, 2013 for the First Semi-Annual statement, which covers the reporting period ending June 30, 2013.    Eight committees were placed on the Commission’s Non-Responsive Filers List for failure to file the First Semi-Annual statement. The next filing deadline is September 26, 2013 for the First Pre-Election statement, which covers the reporting period ending September 21, 2013. 

Due to recent changes to the Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance and Ethics Commission regulations, all committees must now file electronic statements and complete the electronic signature requirements.  Staff has informed treasurers and candidates about the new requirements and has provided detailed instructions.  Staff continues to inform and assist committees during this transition.

b. Collection of late filing fees and contribution forfeitures.  In the FY 13-14, as of August 31, the Commission collected a total of $312 in campaign finance late fees and forfeitures.  Outstanding late fees and forfeitures total $38,681, of which waiver requests are pending for $210; and $13,260 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 as of August 31, 2013:

# 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
3 Chris Jackson For Community College Board 1347066 Chris Jackson 7/12/13 $6,600.94 - $6,600.94
            TOTAL $13,260

4. Revenues report. 

For FY 13-14, the Commission is budgeted to generate $100,000 in revenues.  As of September 16, 2013, the Commission received $4,961, as summarized below.  The figure represents collection of approximately five percent of expected revenues for FY 13-14. 

Revenues received as of September 16, 2013:

Source Budgeted Amount FY 13-14 Receipts
Lobbyist Fees $27,000          $3,500
Other Ethics General $1,000                 $0
Campaign Finance Fines $50,000              $312
Campaign Consultant Fees $18,000                 $0
Lobbyist Fines $1,000                  $0
Statements of Economic Interests Fines $1,000 $430
Other Ethics Fines $1,000                 $85
Campaign Consultant Fines $1,000                   $0
Unallocated $0               $634
Total                        $100,000 $4,961

5. Lobbyist program. 

As of September 16, 2013, 94 individual lobbyists were registered with the Commission.  Total revenues collected to date for the 2013-2014 fiscal year amount to $3,500 in lobbyist registration fees. The filing deadline for the next lobbyist disclosure statement is October 15, 2013.

6. Campaign Consultant program. 

As of September 10, 2013, 20 campaign consultants were registered with the Commission. No registration fees or fines have been collected so far during the 2013-2014 fiscal year.  The next campaign consultant quarterly report deadline is Monday, September 16, 2013.  Staff will send reminders to all active campaign consultants before the deadline.

7. Statements of Economic Interests.

As of September 17, 2013, 635 filers had filed their Form 700 statements (including annual, leaving office or assuming office statements) with the Commission.  Staff continues to process and post forms on the Commission’s website.

On July 30, 2013, 11 non-filers were referred to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) enforcement division for investigation and possible prosecution.  As of September 17, 2013, four of those non-filers have filed their outstanding SEI forms.

On September 16, 2013, staff sent out a notice to all department heads regarding the electronic filing of the Form 700 and how to create an e-filing account.  Electronic filing of SEIs with the Commission will be implemented beginning January 1, 2014.

8. Outreach and Education.

On September 16, staff met with a 16-member delegation organized by China's Supreme People's Procuratorate.  The delegation was interested in learning about the Commission's role in enforcing ethical behavior in the government.  It was sponsored by the Los Angeles-based US-China Business Training Center, a China State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs (SAFEA) certified provider of professional training programs for Chinese officials, industry professionals and business executives. 

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

9.  Open Data

In April, Socrata, the vendor that builds the software for the City’s data.sfgov.org open data system, wrote a case study about the Commission’s use of the system to publish campaign finance dashboards for the November 6, 2012 election on the Commission’s web site.  The case study is called “Set it and Forget it” Saves San Francisco Time.  This month, Socrata released a new quarterly magazine called Open Innovation and republished the case study in its inaugural issue.  The case study is attached to this report.  The magazine is available in hard copy or at the following URL: http://www.socrata.com/magazine/

In August, staff posted two new dashboards to the Commission’s web site:

  • The November 5, 2013 Election Dashboard tracks candidate and ballot measure committee activity and includes new graphs that track major donors, late contributions, and committee payments.  The dashboard updates daily to include the latest filings.
  • The Campaign Consultant Activity Dashboard summarizes quarterly campaign consultant activity with interactive charts and graphs.  Staff will update the campaign consultant data quarterly after each filing deadline.  Staff also back-entered campaign consultant data back to 2009, which can be downloaded in its entirety from the Commission’s web site. 

In addition, staff released a complete list of all of the filers in the Commission’s campaign finance records database.  The list includes over 3,300 individuals and committees including their current names, committee types, filing status, ID numbers, and committee officer names including treasurer, assistant treasurer and controlling candidate.  The list can be searched and downloaded on the Commission’s web site and will assist users researching committees on the Commission’s campaign finance database.

Respectfully submitted,

 

_________________________
John St. Croix
Executive Director                      

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