Campaign Finance Reform Starts At The Local Level
The Ethics Commission in Los Angeles proposes an increase in public funding available to candidates seeking local office. The proposal must be approved by the City Council.
Los Angles now gives $2 for each dollar a candidate raises in primary elections, and $4 for each dollar contributed in two-way runoffs in general elections.
The Commission proposes that the city of Los Angles match to candidates be $6 in both primary and general elections.
The commission believes that the proposal allows candidates to spend more time on the campaign communicating with voters and less time raising money.
Los Angeles spent approximately $10 million funding candidates in the 2013 elections.
A recent Supreme Court ruling.found limits on total giving to multiple candidates unconstitutional, spurring the commission stop enforcing aggregate giving laws.
Current caps on spending range from $700 to $1,300 per election, depending on the office. Candidates must raise certain monies to qualify for matching funds.
To reduce the number of the candidates receiving matching funds, only contributions from city residents would qualify for matching city funds. Plus candidates would have to raise a minimum of 200 contributions of $5 or more from individuals who live in their district. The commission also voted to raise the cap on total matching funds.
The proposal recommends that he maximum available to candidates in general elections would be $187,000 for City Council candidates; $450,000 for city controller; $475,000 for city attorney; and $1.2 million for mayor.
These kind of campaign finance reforms level the playing field allowing more people who want to serve in public office to campaign. They also allow our elected officials to spend more time serving the people rather than raising money to pay off debt or in preparation for the next election.