L.A. Ethics Commission recommends local campaigning incentives

Today’s Los Angeles Ethics Commission meeting showed remarkable momentum toward strengthening the City’s public campaign financing program and encouraging City candidates to connect with their constituents.

By unanimous vote, the Commission is recommending that, beginning in 2015:

  • matching funds only be given for donations made by Los Angeles City residents.
  • only contributions from Los Angeles City residents count towards qualifying for matching funds.
  • City Council candidates raise contributions of $5 or more from at least 200 people who live within their district in order to qualify for public financin

Common Cause was joined by representatives from the Clean Money Campaign, the League of Women Voters, the California Nurses Association, the Brennan Center for Justice, and Councilmember Bernard Parks’s office in speaking in support of these important changes.

While up until now, Los Angeles candidates have been able to claim public money even if their only donors were their own family members, big businesses, or residents of Alaska, this proposal will reward the candidates who campaign and fundraise where it matters—in the communities they want to represent.

This all comes on the heels of great news from April’s Ethics meeting, in which the Commission recommended raising the match rate from 1:1 to 4:1, starting ASAP.

We still need to get this proposal through the City Council, but after lots of meetings, we are feeling optimistic. Special thanks to Elisabeth Genn of the Brennan Center for coming out to talk about the success of New York City’s system—incredibly helpful in moving minds in L.A.!

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About Phillip Ung

Phillip Ung is California Common Cause’s policy advocate. Follow him on Twitter @PhilRUng.

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