Los Angeles City Council Votes to Strengthen City's Public Financing of Campaigns

By Press Release

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 Angeles.

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 represent."

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.

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