Bob Stern is past President of the Center for Governmental Studies, where he studied the government process for nearly 30 years. He was the co-author of numerous books, including the Center’s Democracy by Initiative: Shaping California’s Fourth Branch of Government. He was a principal co-author of the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Proposition 9), passed by 70% of California voters, and called by the 2015 book, Game Changers, one of the 12 most important election results in California history. He was the first general counsel of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the agency in charge of administering California’s campaign disclosure, ethics and lobbying laws. He also worked for Jerry Brown when he was the Secretary of State and for Henry Waxman, when he was a state legislator. The Washington Monthly magazine described him as a “campaign finance guru,” and Peter Schrag, in the Sacramento Bee, called him the “godfather of modern political reform in California.”
Bob was a principal drafter of the City of Los Angeles’ Ethics and Public Campaign Financing law, passed by Los Angeles voters in 1990. Bob was President of the Council on Governmental Ethics Laws, an organization consisting of state, federal, Canadian and local agencies that regulate election, campaign finance, ethics and lobbying laws. In 2006, Bob was given the League of Women Voters of Los Angeles Education Fund Voter Participation Leadership Award. He has also been honored by Pomona College as a Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2010. Starting in 2016, Bob has presented a yearly course at UCLA Extension’s Osher School of Lifelong Learning and has taught “Current Events” at Santa Monica Emeritus’ Summer and Winter sessions since 2017. Bob is a graduate of Pomona College and Stanford Law School.