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Ethics: Campaigns and Elections

MPA 642A

Natalie Nor

on 4 October 2012

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Transcript of Ethics: Campaigns and Elections

Dr. H. Eric Schockman
October 2, 2012 Eva Aryants - Vanessa Della Valle -Andrea LeFebvre - Natalie Noravian - Kim Olpin - Robert Paul Campaigns and Elections Thank you!

*FPPC was created out of the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Ballot initiative: Prop 9)
*California's conflict of interest law for public officials
*Response to Watergate (1972)
*LA's rules and regulations must meet or exceed the State's
*FPPC sets the sate laws regarding Candidate Disclosure rules.

Why is Disclosure important?
*Gives voters additional information on candidates' positions, by seeing who is supporting them.
*Helps illuminate possible conflicts of interest
*Easier to find candidates who may exchange political favor
*Transparency Financial Disclosure

-Who files statements of economic interests?
-What is a disclosure category?
-How to file?
-When to file?

Campaign Disclosure Requirements
-Periodic Campaign Disclosure Statements
-Mandatory online filing of campaign disclosure statements
-Amend campaign disclosure forms online
-Obtaining forms
-Candidates may also have to file with the IRS What types of refinements have occurred recently within campaign finance laws?

Due to recent Supreme Court decisions, the Ethics Commission has reviewed for improvements the City’s campaign finance laws:

•Provide public funds at a faster 4-to-1 rate which will grant additional public funding for qualified candidates.
•Remove trigger provisions to comply with Supreme Court decision (Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Freedom PAC v. Bennett and Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission). Arizona’s matching funds program was deemed unconstitutional.
•Qualification requirement that candidates have at least 1 opponent who is certified by the City Clerk to appear on the ballot.
•Amend the number of days which matching funds claims must be processed.
•Require matching funds claims to be submitted electronically.
•Disclosure of the primary purpose or business interest of a non-individual contributor.
•Separate social media accounts for campaigns.
•Uniform disclosure scheduled for all City committees.
•Amend Election Code to permit candidates to attempt to obtain 1,000 signatures on their nominating petitions but then pay the filing fee if they’re unable to complete. Goals for Ethics Commission:

•Allow the public a transparent and accessible system of elections.
•Increase accountability through disclaimers on political communications, text message contributions, and social media accounts.
•Encourage competition for elective office.
•Adjust trust fund to meet demand. Ethics Commission will pro-rate the amount of funding available for candidates in 2013 election.
•Establish for 2013 municipal elections. Some provisions won’t apply until 2015.
•Ethics Commission will be publishing guides and educational materials to help candidates, contributors, and others who participate in City elections understand and comply with the new laws.

Reference: Los Angeles City Ethics Commission 9/5/12. How are changes to campaign finance laws conducted?

Action History for Council File 12-1269:
1.Documents submitted by City Ethics Commission.
8/13/12: Amend the Campaign Finance Ordinance (CFO) and provisions of Administrative Code regarding improving City’s campaign financial laws and matching funds program.
2.Referred to Rules, Elections & Intergovernmental Relations Committee. Approved as amended.
3.City Clerk scheduled item for Council.
4.Council adopted item as amended pursuant Council Rule 51.
5.Documents submitted by City Attorney. Need to be amended. Referred back to Rules, Elections & Intergovernmental Relations Committee.
6.Repeat steps 1-4.
7.City Clerk transmitted file to Mayor.
8.Mayor transmitted file to City Clerk.
9/26/12: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed into law a new campaign finance ordinance that governs City elections.
Ordinance effective date 10/29/12.

Reference: Council File Management System 9/1/12. How can we analyze the changes in campaign finance laws to ethical theories and/or principles?
•Woodrow Wilson – Administration is connected to political progress. Civil-service reform is a moral preparation for what is to follow and it establishes public trust. Public opinion is our critic. But our downfall is trying to do too much by vote and not separating the essentials.
•Herman Finer – Political responsibility of officials is the major concern of those who work for the public to keep control and direction.
•Compare the ethical triangle to how change is conducted for a campaign finance law. Each point of the triangle represents an approach to an ethical dilemma which allows a public policymaker to make decisions that affect our laws for social change and justice. The Public Matching Funds

•Adopted in 1990 and applied to all City elections since 1993 for a total paid $27,362,494.

•Among many reasons, the few important expected results of this program are:
•Help candidates express their views
•Promote public discussion
•Limit overall spending
•Reduce fundraising advantage of incumbents
•Help restore public trust
•Avoid corruption or the appearance of it

•The program is funded by the City’s General Fund. Every year the City is required to set aside $2,000,000 for this program.
•This program is not mandatory and if there is a person who can fund their own campaign may do so. Those who want to participate in the program, have to have the right qualifications. •Current numbers:

Office Sought Primary Election General Election
City Council $100,000 $125,000
Controller $267,000 $300,000
City Attorney $300,000 $350,000
Mayor $667,000 $800,000

•Current LAW:The City’s matching funds program provides $1 of public funding for every matchable dollar of private funding. In 2003, this was raised to $3 of public funding for every matchable dollar.Whenever spending increases by a private party in the Primary or general elections, the city will raise its limits. Many people are against this accelerated increase in funds based on a non-participating members spending and in 2011 state of Arizona suspended those provisions. Many changes are going to possibly take place starting 2015 when matchable contributions will include only from those residing within the City. •Current expenditures Ceiling:

Office Sought Primary General City Council $330,000 $275,000
Controller $900,000 $676,000
City Attorney $1,013,000 $788,000
Mayor $2,251,000 $1,800,000

•These ceilings are lifted when a non-participating candidate raises their spending in excess of these numbers. City Contribution Limits

•Current Law Limits on:
*City Council Members
*Citywide Officials

•Mandatory Review
*Consumer Price Index (CPI)“annually adjust the limitation and disclosure thresholds required by City law to reflect any increases or decreases in the Consumer Price Index. Adjustments shall be rounded off to the nearest hundred dollars for the limitations on contributions… .” Charter § 702(h). Recommendations

•Limit Increase
*City Council
*Citywide Officials

•Changes in CPI
*Over twice current limits when rounded to nearest $100

•Eliminate Limit/CPI Review Cycle Rationale

•Keep Pace With the Economy
*Los Angeles has lowest per-person contribution limits among major cities
*CPI should be a basis so donors contributions are not marginalized
*Not subject to political/special interest whims

•Randall v. Sorrell “Contribution limits that are too low can also harm the electoral process by preventing challengers from mounting effective campaigns against incumbent officeholders, thereby reducing democratic accountability.” The Electronic Filing System (EFS):

Internet based, interactive program developed by the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission

Campaign disclosure statements must be filed online, as well as by paper copies, after a candidate has raised or spent $25,000 for campaign – began July 2001

Paper copy is still required as well

Information on paper and electronic filings must match

$25 a day penalty for filing after electronic filing deadline

Must continue to file until committee is terminated The Electronic Filing System:

Enables full disclosure
--> Informed voters
--> Eliminates improper practices
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