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About the Commission

The Ethics Commission is an independent department that does not report to the Mayor or City Council. It is a body of appointed volunteer City officials, formed in 2001 for the purpose of monitoring, administering, and enforcing the City's governmental ethics laws. The Commission is also involved with proposing new governmental ethics law reforms, conducting investigations, referring violations to appropriate enforcement agencies, auditing disclosure statements, and advising and educating City officials and the public about governmental ethics laws. The Ethics Commission is composed of seven members appointed by the Mayor from a pool of nominees nominated by the Council and City Attorney and confirmed by Council. At least one of the members of the Commission must be a person who has been a candidate for elective governmental office or otherwise held a high level position in a campaign for elective governmental office. At least two of the members must be attorneys in good standing with the California Bar Association. No more than three members may be registered with the same political party.

The Ethics Commission is charged with:

  • monitoring, administering, and enforcing the City's governmental ethics laws and proposing new governmental ethics law reforms;
  • conducting investigations, referring violations to appropriate enforcement agencies, and auditing disclosure statements; and
  • advising and educating City officials, candidates, political committees, and lobbyists about governmental ethics laws.

The Commission is governed by San Diego Municipal Code Chapter II, Article 6, Division 4, Sections 26.0401 to 26.0456 (PDF). These sections were added June 5, 2001, by Ordinance 18945, and were amended on February 11, 2002, by Ordinance O-19034, and on December 6, 2007, by Ordinance O-19555.

Responsibilities

The Commission's responsibilities include:

  1. providing training and education regarding governmental ethics laws to City Officials and employees, and candidates for City office and their staffs;
  2. issuing formal and informal advice and opinions to any person regarding the governmental ethics laws within the Commission's jurisdiction;
  3. reviewing campaign, lobbying, and conflict of interest disclosure statements;
  4. proposing procedures for conducting audits of campaign, lobbying, and conflict of interest disclosure forms;
  5. investigating and enforcing violations of City governmental ethics laws;
  6. reviewing of the City's existing governmental ethics laws, and proposing updates to those laws to the City Council for its approval

Ethics Commission Staff

The Ethics Commission staff currently includes the following individuals: