Sen. Ben Allen’s SB 1107 wants to allow public funding of campaigns, something voters prohibited years ago. A long time acquaintance of mine, David Keating who now runs the Center for Competitive Politics in Washington, D.C. had an opinion piece in yesterday’s Orange County Register blasting the attempt by Sen. Allen to overturn a vote of the people with what Keating says is an unconstitutional bill. The voters outlawed public financing of campaigns with Proposition 73 in 1988. As someone who signed the ballot argument in favor of Proposition 73, I agree with Keating’s assessment. If legislators want public financing, legislators can’t do it on their own—they have to ask the voters.
Allen and supporters of SB 1107 claim that they are following the rules of the proposition that allow for legislative changes that “further the purposes” of the initiative. However, as Keating argues in his piece, “How can a bill “further [the] purpose” of the law banning tax-funded campaigns by allowing for tax-financed campaigns? The answer is: It can’t.”
Simply put, this legislative effort is a brazen attempt to flout the law and the will of the people who voted to ban subsidies for politicians. How can a bill “further [the] purpose” of the law banning tax-funded campaigns by allowing for tax-financed campaigns? The answer is: It can’t…
Were California legislators to take a timeout from rewriting California law by pretending it does not exist, they might learn a lesson from their neighbors to the east in Arizona. That state has had tax-financed campaigns since 2000. The result? An even more ideologically polarized legislature – because more mainstream candidates often find that candidates from the fringes have more resources than they otherwise would.
Most people think California’s legislature is already too polarized. Spending tax dollars to possibly get more polarization is a risky bet.
SB1107 seeks to “fix” a law that bans tax-funded campaigns by enabling tax-funded campaigns. It’s another power play from the Legislature.
The plaintiffs argued that the law was overly broad and, if the law stood, they would be prohibited from weighing in on ballot questions or possible initiatives unless they disclosed all their donors.
The state ultimately capitulated, entering into an agreement last month that the disclosure requirements were unconstitutional unless related to political entities whose “major purpose” is political advocacy.
The state agreed not to prosecute groups for violating the law and to pay the legal fees for the lawyers with the Alexandria, Va.-based Center for Competitive Politics who represented the plaintiffs.
State of Utah previously conceded First Amendment violation Alexandria, VA – The state of Utah today told a federal court it would pay $125,000 in attorney’s fees in a constitutional challenge to its campaign finance laws. If the court approves the fees, as expected, it would mark the final step in a lawsuit filed on […]