Getting Around Campaign Reform

  • 09/20/2013
  • Reporters Desk

The Long Beach city attorney recently sent out a memo citing questions “from several parties” that raises constitutional questions about the 1994 Campaign Reform Act.

The questions are about whether large amounts of campaign contributions from state campaign accounts could be flipped to a local Long Beach campaign account.

“For example,” the letter states, “the question has arisen as to whether a person who currently has campaign funds remaining from a state elected office can transfer those funds directly into the controlled committee account for a City of Long Beach election without regard to the City’s current campaign contribution limitations.            .

Long Beach has had a strict campaign finance reform act since the voters approved it in 1994. Contributions are limited to $750 per contributor and fundraising can’t happen sooner than 12 months before the election. Special interests can give up to $3,600 to state campaigns.

If money raised for a state assembly or state senate campaign is allowed to be flipped into a local campaign account then there will be no more limits on how much can be contributed at one time to a campaign for mayor or city council.

The city attorney’s letter also stated that the Fair Political Practices Commission will also be consulted with regard to these matters. The outside legal opinion will be released directly to the City Clerk.

A copy of the letter can be found at http://lbcityattorneyletter_campaigns

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