Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Who's Donating Gifts to SF City Attorney Herrera?

How can the public know who may be attempting to influence an elected official, or just make nice with the politician, if the elected official does not keep a list of gifts? Here's what the San Francisco City Attorney's web site has to say about the threshold that must be met for certain reporting to kick in:

The San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance provides for the public reporting of all gifts of money, goods or services, worth more than one hundred dollars in aggregate, for the purpose of carrying out or assisting City functions (S.F. Admin. Code Sec. 67.29-6). The San Francisco City Attorney's Office has received the following gifts, which are reportable as part of that sources of outside funding provision.

I submitted a public records request to Dennis Herrera for all gifts to him or his office regardless of amount, since I've become aware of New York Times reporter Jo Becker giving him a copy of her book "Forcing the Spring" and wanted to see if and how he maintained a list of such gifts since 2008.

A staff publicist for Herrera, Gabriel Zitrin, replied to my request stating, "Our Office does not maintain a list of gifts and services to our Office, the City Attorney, or members of our Office. As a result, we do not have a record responsive to your request".

Well, isn't that convenient? The City Attorney can't be bothered to track which private persons or corporations or nonprofits or business provide him and his office with gift.

They do have hard copies of 1,600 Form 700s for the City Attorney and staffers that I could pore over at their office, but I believe the taxpayers deserve a simple list of gifts and services of any amount should be kept and shared by this office on the web. Herrera needs to do more to be fully transparent and accountable to the public.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree!