Section 5 – Analyses of Candidate Expenditures

Analysis of Mid-Year San Francisco Campaign Financing of Candidates for November 2011 Election Part 2

Section 4<<

By Oliver Luby & Marc Salomon

Section 5 – Analyses of Candidate Expenditures

District Attorney – Mayor – Sheriff.

This section provides three basic analyses of the candidate expenditure data.  For the sake of simplicity, only itemized payments were reviewed.  The actual total amount of expenditures made by the candidates (disclosed in Part 1 of article [link]) includes accrued expenditures (see Section 1 of Part 1 for the amounts [link]) and unitemized amounts (payments and accrued debts of less than $100 per vendor).

I. Table of Payments Made

Candidate Election contest Total itemized payments
Miyamoto Sheriff $9,282
Mirkarimi Sheriff $10,974
Avalos Mayor $37,564
Run Ed Lee Run Mayor $47,301
Bock DA $53,199
Ting Mayor $82,740
Gascon DA $93,259
Onek DA $123,675
Hall Mayor $139,912
Alioto-Pier Mayor $166,575
Chiu Mayor $261,109
Yee Mayor $350,730
Rees Mayor $361,133
Dufty Mayor $516,708
Herrera Mayor $520,879

II. Percentage of payments made to San Francisco vendors

Candidates for elective office often talk about the economy, but ever wonder which candidate is literally stimulating our local economy the most?  While a campaign to sway the voters may seem like a strange form of economic stimulation, the “Percentage of payments made to San Francisco vendors” chart below shows which candidates are spending the majority of their funds in San Francisco and which are taking most of their money elsewhere (the latter are highlighted in yellow in the chart)[i].

Of particular interest are the Mayor candidates, due to the fact that nearly all of them are currently receiving public financing.  We thought that the public might like to know where its money is being spent – note that four candidates receiving public financing (Herrera, Chiu, Alioto-Pier, and Hall) spent more than half of their campaign funds outside of San Francisco (over $100,000 – $300,000 each).

In the defense of all of the candidates spending outside the city, a limited market for some forms of campaign services, combined with the crowded field of candidates, may cause candidates to seek services outside San Francisco.

III. Percentage of payments made on staff

Wonder which candidate campaign is the most grassroots?  Seeing how little the campaign spends on paid campaign staff may provide a clue about who has the most volunteer-based campaign.  We came up with estimates[ii] of the amount spent on staff by totaling each candidates’ payments coded in their filed campaign reports as being made for Campaign Consultants services, Professional Services, or Salaries, as well as including any amount that was specifically listed as being made for a campaign worker.  Those making 50% or more of their payments on staff are highlighted in red in the chart below.  (To determine the dollar figure for the amount spent on staff, apply the percentage in the chart below to the total payment amount in the chart above.)

As can be seen from the chart, Avalos was the only candidate who did not spend any money on paid staff by June 30th.  This suggests that Avalos had the only San Francisco candidate campaign this spring that was entirely volunteer-based.


[i] Note: Our analysis did not include a review of sub-vendor data.  A more complex analysis utilizing the sub-vendor data might show payments made to San Francisco vendors such as consultants jumping outside the city to sub-vendors located elsewhere and/or the opposite.

[ii] The results in Staff Payments chart are just estimates because staff services can be hidden in the campaign reports under other expenditure coding.  Additionally, we did not incorporate a review of sub-vendor payments in our analysis, which could show the flow of payments from campaign to vendor to sub-vendor.  A more complex analysis utilizing the sub-vendor data might show instances where payments made to staff such as consultants are partially used for non-staff purposes and/or the opposite.