Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Local Campaign Finance Reform

This just in from Chris Crawford. Those of you interested in campaign contribution limits of some kind may want to attend this event:
PRESS CONFERENCE – Thursday, April 8, 2010
11:45am - Humboldt County Courthouse, 825 Fifth Street, Eureka

When last polled on this subject, over 75% of Humboldt County residents expressed concern that campaign donations have an undue influence on elections. This public outrage was used as justification in 2006 to pass Measure T that instead of reforming local campaign finance laws, unfairly disadvantaged local businesses over labor unions and nonprofits, resulting in a 2008 summary judgment finding the ordinance unconstitutional by the federal court.

One of the proponents of Measure T’s “local control” was 4th District Supervisor Bonnie Neeley who is holding a re-election fundraiser in Sacramento on April 7, asking for $2,000 “sponsorships" and proclaiming that there are no contribution limits for county office in Humboldt County.

Chris Crawford chaired the NO ON MEASURE T campaign in 2006 and will speak to the problem of campaign donation abuses by suggesting an overall cap on individual donations regardless of the source. According to Crawford, “the feeling of frustration and disenfranchisement by voters is real and highly justified when abuses such as this are as flagrant as this instance. Is Bonnie within the letter of the law by raking in tens of thousands of dollars from Sacramento lobbyists, tribes, out-of-town developers and local special interests? Regrettably, she is … but we need to reign in these shameless practices by imposing caps to restore at least the appearance of propriety.”

Efforts to develop ordinance language for campaign donation caps have failed for lack of volunteers to assist in framing the issues and gaining consensus on some of the details, such as:

- what should the caps be and should they differ for different seats? For instance, $750 for local races and perhaps $2,000 for county races?

– some have indicated they would not support donation caps for initiatives, but would for candidates.

- should husbands/wives, employers/employees, unions/members be able to stack donations (write separate checks)?

- what about those who donate food for an event or an auction item?

- there should be an automatic rate adjustment tied to the Consumer Price Index or some other escalator.

So let’s start the dialogue now … let’s begin by asking all candidates for local office to impose limits on donations. The next step is to gain consensus on the details for a county ordinance to stop future campaign finance abuses.

Local democracy and the integrity of local elections is at stake.

Chris Crawford
3144 Broadway #4-400
Eureka, CA 95501
(707) 443-1944


At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds more like an attack session against Bonnie Neely

Call it whatever ya want-

At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want REAL campaign finance reform, put a cap on total fundraising limits, not individual donor limits. And make em' real low, so we can focus on the candidate, rather than their individual advertising campaigns. And most importantly, the debates, where we get a real look at the candidate and their positions in direct comparison to the other candidates.

Individual caps is simply a tactic by the local conservatives to have a major advantage when it comes to fundraising. If you look at the past supervisor & city council races, you can always expect the conservatives to have several dozen people donate 1000-2000 dollars to a campaign. (Thus the cap Crawford suggests - how convenient!) To counter and keep it somewhat balanced, the liberals typically get some single large contributions. Then, if you look at the totals for both campaigns, they are typically around the same.

Now if you limit the large contributions, you will have one side with their same contribution numbers, while the other is barely able to compete.

Fair? Sure, in the minds of the group that benefits!

Again, if you want REAL campaign finance reform, limit the totals, not the individual donor contributions.

At 5:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crawford has been talking finance reform since the Measure T campaign years ago.

Seems to me Bonnie (and others) are asking for it. She talks about how outside contributions are bad for democracy, out of one side of her mouth and then, when she can't raise money locally, goes after big time $$$ from those who don't give a damn about local issues or local people. Y'know what Fred? Once she takes the outside money, she won't care about local issues or local people either.

At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Y'know what Fred? Once she takes the outside money, she won't care about local issues or local people either."

Isn't this the truth?


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