LA City Ethics Commission Approves Recommendations to Strengthen Public Financing System
- Leila Pedersen
Today the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission approved recommended changes to the matching funds program that would increase the match rate to 6:1 for both primary elections and general elections. This new match rate would be a significant increase from the current 2:1 match available to candidates during the primary election and the 4:1 match in the general election. Six to one is the same match rate that is used in the New York City system and the same rate proposed by H.R. 20 (Sarbanes – MD) the Government By the People Act.
In addition to increasing the match rate, the Ethics Commission also agreed to recommend raising the maximum amount of matching funds a qualified candidate may receive during both the primary election and the general election.
“Increasing the match rate to 6:1 empowers Los Angeles residents to take a more active role in the election of their local representatives,” was the reaction of Leila Pedersen, Policy Coordinator at California Common Cause. “Matching constituents’ small dollar donations with more public money incentivizes candidate to spend more time in their home district talking to voters and less time fundraising from outside special interests.”
California Common Cause joined Ethics Commission staff, California Clean Money Campaign, and other allied organizations in making these recommendations. Public comment focused on the flood of outside spending that will continue to mount as a result of the Supreme Court’s decisions in McCutcheon v. FEC and Citizens United. To address the public’s waning trust in our governing bodies to uphold the true interest of the people, speakers urged the commission to take immediate action to strengthen the City’s public financing system.
The LA City Ethics Commission will meet again on June 12, 2014, before sending a proposal to City Council. To read the City Ethics Commission’s full report on recommended updates to campaign finance laws, refer to Item 6 on the April 17th agenda found at ethics.lacity.org.