Tara's Thoughts

Yes on Prop. 15 – YesOnProp15.org

Posted on: April 16, 2010

Yes on Prop. 15 – YesOnProp15.org

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Elections Should Be Won, Not Bought

Why California Needs Reform

California’s campaign finance watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, reported that candidates and elected officials have directly raised over $1 billion since 2001, even under voter-approved, restrictive fundraising limits. Meanwhile, California’s problems have gotten worse.

We want our elected leaders focused on finding solutions to our challenges, not raising money for their next campaign! Under the California Fair Elections Act, candidates and elected officials will be able to get out of the money game and back to solving California’s problems.

Proposition 15 represents fundamental election reform that will allow candidates and elected officials to get out of the fundraising game and get back to solving California’s problems. Authored by then-Assemblywoman Loni Hancock and signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the California Fair Elections Act will appear on the June 8th ballot.

A Pilot Program for the Secretary of State Election Campaigns

Proposition 15 will create a pilot project to make voluntary public financing available to candidates running for Secretary of State in 2014 and 2018.

  • To Qualify:  Secretary of State candidates must show broad grassroots support by receiving 7,500 $5 qualifying contributions and signatures from registered California voters.  They must also agree to strict spending limits.
  • Fair Elections Candidates Receive:  Enough Fair Elections funds to run competitive primary campaigns ($1,000,000).  If they win their primary they receive enough funds to run competitive general election campaigns ($1,300,000).  A candidate may also receive “fair fight” funds if they are outspent or if outside groups attack them or support an opponent.
  • Fundraising Prohibitions:  Participating candidates would be prohibited from raising or spending money beyond what they receive from the fund.  They are banned from raising any money for their campaign from lobbyists, their clients, or anybody else.
  • Strict Enforcement:  Participating candidates must follow strict reporting requirements and can only spend on legitimate campaign expenses.  Violators would face fines, possible jail time, and prohibitions from running for office in the future.

Taxpayer and public funds are protected.  It will not increase taxes or take away from other important programs.  It is funded primarily by registration fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms, and lobbyist employers, with no taxpayer dollars going to candidates. Currently lobbyists only pay $12.50 per year in California, among the lowest rates in the country.

Why the Secretary of State?

The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing and regulating the state’s lobbying activity and the integrity of our elections, and the California Fair Elections Act will assure voters that the Secretary of State is focusing on his or her duties, not worrying about raising campaign contributions.

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