California's For Fair Elections' Statement on FPPC Report Showing More Than 325 Fundraisers Were Held This Year

By Californians for Fair Elections

September 16, 2009

LOS ANGELES - Proponents of the California Fair Elections Act said today that a new report released by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) demonstrates precisely why California needs fair elections reform.

Trent Lange, Chairman of Californians for Fair Elections, made the following statement:

"Today's report by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission makes perfectly clear why an increasing number of California voters feel government isn't addressing their needs. While Sacramento failed to find meaningful solutions to some of California's most pressing issues this year including water and renewable energy, elected officials found time to organize at least 11 golf tournaments at which attendees were asked to contribute as much as $140,000. According to the FPPC, officials held more than 300 fundraisers in the capital city alone and more than 25% of the year's total campaign cash haul was made in just the final three weeks of the legislative session when the fate of most of the years' bills was decided.

"With increasing evidence that elected officials must spend so much time fundraising that they don't have time to govern, it's time to begin restoring Californians' confidence in our democracy by passing the California Fair Elections Act on the June 2010 ballot. The California Fair Elections Act would change the way we finance election campaigns so that voters can be assured that elected officials are representing the people's interests, not the special interests'."

Authored by Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) and signed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, AB 583, the California Fair Elections Act, would establish a voluntary pilot project for California's secretary of state races in 2014 and 2018. Candidates will be allowed to qualify for public financing if they agree to strict spending prohibitions and raise a large number of $5 contributions from Californians. If established, this pilot program would be funded primarily by fees on lobbyists, lobbying firms and lobbyist employers, who have some of the lowest fees in the country. The initiative aims to mitigate the influence of big donors and special interests in elections so that voters can start to feel that the government works for their benefit instead of that of big campaign contributors.

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