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
LOCAL CAMPAIGN FINANCES ARE OUT OF CONTROL
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:
AMOUNTS - 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?
CANDIDATES VERSUS INITIATIVES – some have indicated they would not support donation caps for initiatives, but would for candidates.
STACKING - should husbands/wives, employers/employees, unions/members be able to stack donations (write separate checks)?
IN KIND / AUCTIONS - what about those who donate food for an event or an auction item?
ESCALATOR CLAUSE - 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.
3144 Broadway #4-400
Eureka, CA 95501