New Door Opening For Reform

Media Contact:

December 2, 2010

Katie Fleming (916) 443-1792

New Door Opening for Reform

Sacramento – Yesterday marked the final day for public comment for the Political Reform Act Task Force housed in the Fair Political Practices Commission, which may offer a chance for renewal and modernization of California’s campaign finance laws. The task force members are meeting for the last time December 14th. California Common Cause has been among the advocates for stronger protections.

“This last election was brutal for voters who watched special interest heavy weights duke it out on television. Meanwhile, these ads fail to give us the truthful information we need to make informed decisions at the ballot box. Citizen trust in government is at an all time low.” said Derek Cressman, Western States Regional Director for Common Cause. “We should do everything we possibly can to bring integrity to the electoral process and this Task Force is a great opportunity to do that,” he added.

California Common Cause has offered advice to the commission on a number of issues, including changing campaign contribution limits, slate mailer reform, a more user friendly campaign finance reporting system, increased regulation of gifts and campaign committee rules.

“One serious problem we are seeing is how money moves from candidate to candidate and race to race. For example, one candidate for statewide office legally gave over $1 million to his wife’s county level race. In this case, cash on hand did not necessarily indicate broad public support. Additionally, donors may have felt their intentions were not respected. Changing this practice would have a big impact,” said Katie Fleming, Policy Advocate for California Common Cause.

The Task Force is made up of local government officials, political consultants and good government advocates. Robert Stern, President of the Center for Governmental Studies and Charles H. Bell, Jr., Senior Partner of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk, LLP an election law practitioner, are co-Chairs of the Task Force. More information about the Task Force and their proposals can be found at

California Common Cause is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring an open, honest, and accountable government, also working to strengthen public participation and ensuring that political processes serve the public interest, rather than the special interests.