Los Angeles City Council Votes to Strengthen City's Public Financing of Campaigns
Los Angeles - The Los Angeles City Council
today unanimously voted to dramatically strengthen its
matching funds system of public financing of campaigns in a
comprehensive revision to the City's campaign finance laws.
The vote comes after years of efforts by the California
Clean Money Campaign, California Common Cause, and other
groups advocating to improve its system and follows
recommendations from the City's Ethics Commission.
The new legislation changes the matching funds currently
provided to qualified candidates from a one-to-one match on
individual contributions up to $250 in the case of City
Council races to a two-to-one match in primaries and a
four-to-one match in general elections. This means that a
$140 contribution from an individual would be as valuable
as a maxed-out $700 contribution from a corporation or
union in a general election.
A California Clean Money Campaign study showed that less
than 17% of contributions made to City Council candidates
from 2001-2011 came from actual individual residents of
their districts. 45% of total contributions to Council
candidates actually came from outside the city of Los
Starting in 2015, the system will encourage candidates to
focus on Los Angeles city residents rather than outside
interests by only matching contributions from City
residents. To qualify for matching funds, candidates will
be required to get at least 200 people from their districts
to give them $5.
"We need to make major changes in the way we finance
election campaigns", said Trent Lange, President of
the California Clean Money Campaign. "The new rules
will enhance the voice of regular voters and make
candidates engage more with the people they
A broad coalition of good government and community
organizations pushed for the new rule, with groups engaged
in the months-long process including not only the
California Clean Money Campaign and California Common
Cause, but the Advancement Project, California Nurses
Association, Community Coalition, Greenlining Institute,
the Korean American Coalition, League of Women Voters of
LA, Saving LA Project, SCOPE Agenda, Southwest Voters
Education Project, and West Los Angeles CDC.
Councilmembers Eric Garcetti and Jos? Huizar kicked off the
process with their leadership on Measure H, the campaign
finance reform measure that Los Angeles voters
overwhelmingly approved with 75% of the vote in March 2011
that provided a mandate for reform. Councilmembers Paul
Krekorian and Richard Alarcon also successfully pushed for
further reports from the Ethics Commission on how to
strengthen the system even more after 2013.
"Big Money special interests dominate too much of our
political process", said Lange. "The new rules in
Los Angeles are a small but important step towards giving
it a government of, by, and for the people, and serve as an
example of the direction that the rest of our state and
country should move in."
The California Clean Money Campaign is a non-partisan
501(c)(3) organization dedicated to lessening the unfair
influence of Big Money on election campaigns.? For further
information, visit www.CAclean.org.