"Concern should drive us into action, not into a depression." -- Karen Horney

L.A. says it banned developer political contributions. But the job is only half-finished.

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 12/5/19

"The Los Angeles City Council struck a blow Wednesday against the pay-to-play culture at City Hall. After putting it off for many months, the council finally voted to ban campaign contributions from real estate developers with projects needing city approval. But hold your enthusiasm. For one thing, the council delayed the ban until after the 2022 primary election when several council incumbents will be running for reelection."  Full story

Give L.A.'s regular voters a bigger voice

Los Angeles Daily News, by David Donnelly and Trent Lange, 4/30/14

"If the City Council adopts these participatory recommendations, Los Angeles will become one of the leaders in ensuring elections are about people, not big campaign checks..."  Full story

Mystery sign supporting Carmen Trutanich pops up near freeway

Los Angeles Times, by Jean Merl, 1/23/13

"Technically, the sign is not a 'billboard' because its space was not sold for advertising purposes. As long as the permitted 'sign box' was not altered, it's OK to use it for 'political speech.' A commercial sign along such a highly traveled freeway could command anywhere from $7,000 to $20,000 a month in rent."  Full story

Los Angeles City Council Votes to Strengthen City's Public Financing of Campaigns

California Clean Money Campaign, Press Release, 9/12/12

The Los Angeles City Council today unanimously voted to dramatically strengthen its matching funds system of public financing of campaigns in a comprehensive revision to the City's campaign finance laws.  Full story

Measure H, Clean Money: Election Results

LA Weekly, by Gene Maddaus, 3/8/11

L.A. is voting tonight to bar city contractors from donating to campaigns. Measure H is passing easily with 74% of the vote.  Proponents of "clean money" argue that public financing levels the playing field between incumbents and challengers and curbs the corruptive influence of fundraising.
  Full story

Measure H: Clean Money

LA Weekly, by Gene Maddaus, 3/3/11

"This is a modest step," says Trent Lange, president of the clean-money group. "It's not going to solve everything, but it does get rid of one of the most corruptive contribution sources."  Full story

Yes on H: Keep Special Interests at Bay

LA Progressive, by Anjuli Kronheim, 3/3/11

"All politics is local and we believe that if, not when, Los Angeles succeeds in passing Measure H, we will send an important message that we are taking back our democracy.  It does not belong to We the special, well-financed interests.  Our democracy belongs to We the People."   Full story

Waste throws wrench into Los Angeles community colleges' massive project

Los Angeles Times, by Michael Finnegan and Gale Holland, 2/27/11

Millions are wasted on community college building project funded by LA Measure J on the November 2008 ballot.  Contractors put up nearly two-thirds of the $1.9 million raised for the ballot campaign.  Funding allocated by Board of Trustees whose campaigns gets funded by college administrators, unions and contractors.  Full story

Builder got millions from Glendale despite concerns about project

Los Angeles Times, by Jessica Garrison, Melanie Hicken and David Zahniser, 12/29/10

A developer made campaign contributions directly and indirectly from its contractors and subcontractors.  Four subcontractors told The Times of pressure to contribute and felt they risked losing future work with ADI if they said no.  They benefited from generous subsidies.  Full story

City Council approves plan to elevate matching fund program

Press Release, by Office of Councilmember Jose Huizar, 11/2/10

The Los Angeles City Council voted Tuesday to place a “Voter-owned election” referendum on the March 2011 ballot in order to encourage more candidates to use the City’s matching fund program while limiting special interest influence.   Full story

Councilmembers Alarcon, Cardenas, And Hahn Hold Key to Fair Elections in Los Angeles

California Clean Money Campaign, by California Clean Money Campaign, 10/29/10

The Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to vote today on a critical electoral reform package, the Los Angeles Voters' Bill of Rights. Introduced by Councilmembers Jose Huizar, Eric Garcetti, and Paul Koretz, the Voters' Bill of Rights is designed to increase the city's anemic voter turnout and strengthen its public matching funds program to limit special interest control over elections.   Full story

Election reform tries to put L.A. voters first at the polls

Los Angeles Daily News, by Jose Huizar and Eric Garcetti, 10/27/10

"Voters are burned out by too many primary, runoff and special elections. And they are increasingly disillusioned as a result of negative campaigns and big-money special interest funding of those campaigns...  That is why we have introduced The Los Angeles Voters' Bill of Rights"  Full story

L.A. council tentatively approves 3 voter-reform measures

Daily Breeze, by Rick Orlov , 10/25/10

 With a deadline nearing to place issues on the March ballot in Los Angeles, a City Council panel gave tentative approval Monday to three voter-reform proposals.   Full story

Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar urges vote reforms

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 9/27/10

A comprehensive package of election reforms dubbed the Voters Bill of Rights was proposed Monday as a way to boost turnout in municipal elections and move toward total public financing of political campaigns.   Full story

Coalition Seeks Election Reform thru the "Los Angeles Voters' Bill of Rights"

Press Release, by Councilmember Jose Huizar, 9/27/10

Four-part plan seeks to place proposal on March 2011 ballot in order increase voter turnout in the City of Los Angeles, ensure fair elections and save the City much-needed money   Full story

Huizar proposes conducting Los Angeles city elections by mail

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 9/25/10

Looking to boost voter turnout while cutting costs, Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar plans next week to unveil three proposals for the March 2011 ballot that would revamp the city's electoral process, including one that would allow every voter to receive an absentee ballot.  Full story

Cooley's donations raise questions about the line between fundraising and probes

Los Angeles Times, by Rich Connell, 9/6/10

The LA District Attorney running for California Attorney General is criticized for taking campaign contributions from contractors under investigation by his District Attorney staff.   Full story

City politics hamper efforts to update LAX concession contracts

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 9/5/10

  Like past plans to modernize the airport, the effort to overhaul the concession businesses has slowed to a crawl.  With hundreds of millions of dollars in airport business at stake, the dueling parties have hired an array of well-connected lobbyists.   Full story

Supervisors support financing campaigns with lobbyist fees

Ventura County Star, by Staff Reports, 4/20/10

A proposal to finance campaigns for the California secretary of state’s post with lobbyist fees was supported Tuesday by county supervisors.  Voting 4-1 with Simi Valley Supervisor Peter Foy objecting, the Board of Supervisors Proposition 15, that will appear on the June 8 primary ballot.  Full story

Sacramento City Council races attract cash from outside town

Sacramento Bee, by Ryan Lillis and Phillip Reese, 3/7/10

More than one-third of the money given to Sacramento City Council candidates during 2009 came from outside city limits.  The out-of-town figures "sound off alarms," said Trent Lange, president of the California Clean Money Campaign, which is shepherding a statewide June proposition that would provide for some public financing of political campaigns.  Full story

Outside groups shatter spending record in L.A. City Council race

Los Angeles Times, by Maeve Reston, 12/7/09

Unions and other groups inject nearly $1 million into the San Fernando Valley contest for the seat once held by Wendy Greuel. More than 90% of that amount is aimed at helping Christine Essel.   Full story

L.A. City Council is set to rule on whether AEG should cover cost of Jackson's memorial

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser and Phil Willon, 12/6/09

Some critics are skeptical that the panel will press the firm to help pay for police and cleanup because the promoter has been a reliable source of campaign contributions.  Full story

Shut The City's Stealth Campaign-Finance Loophole

San Francisco Examiner, Editorial, 5/18/09

"Board of Supervisors candidates received just $262,000 from third party expenditures in 2002. But by 2008 this “independent support” had exploded to more than $1.3 million, according to the San Francisco Ethics Commission..."  Full story

Villaraigosa Donors Agree to Pay Ethics Fines

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 4/9/09

Two Florida-based contributors to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have agreed to pay the city's Ethics Commission $108,000 in fines for participating in a scheme to circumvent the city's fundraising limits in the 2005 election.   Full story

Clean Money Elections Equals Better Turnout

CityWatch LA, by Charlotte Laws, 3/26/09

The Greater Valley Glen Council recently hosted a Clean Money Workshop, exploring the question of whether local elections should be fully financed with public funds, and if so, what the process should entail.  Full story

Villaraigosa Supporters Accused of Money Laundering

Los Angeles Times, by Jack Leonard and Phil Willon , 3/5/09

Two Florida businessmen who planned to seek lucrative concession contracts from Los Angeles International Airport for their gift shop business were charged Wednesday with conspiring to launder nearly $40,000 in political donations to Antonio Villaraigosa's 2005 mayoral campaign, authorities said.
  Full story

Suing the City of Los Angeles is Part of Lobbyist's Routine

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 3/1/09

Lobbyist Benjamin Reznik has sued Los Angeles more than 150 times.  Yet Reznik is also a frequent campaign fundraiser for elected officials, the same ones who decide not only whether to approve his clients' development projects, but whether to fight or settle should they wind up in court   Full story

Clean Money: Better Elections

Los Angeles Independent Media Center, by Charlotte Laws, 2/19/09

The Greater Valley Glen Council hosted a Clean Money Workshop at Kittridge Elementary School on January 17, 2009, exploring the question of whether local elections should be fully financed with public funds, and if so, what the process should entail. Robin Gilbert and Trina Ray, volunteers with the California Clean Money Campaign led the discussion.  Full story

An Advertisement for Fighting L.A.'s Excess of Billboards

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 12/3/08

"L.A.'s meager efforts to control billboard proliferation had been comically inept, with the outdoor advertising industry using muscle, campaign donations and lawsuits to run circles around hapless city officials...  they're especially derelict in challenging the businesses and unions that bankroll their campaigns..."  Full story

Unions' Campaign Fund for Ridley-Thomas Raises Fears About Special Interests

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 10/26/08

Labor unions have spent $8.5 million to elect state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas to the county Board of Supervisors on Nov. 4.  For every $1 raised by Ridley-Thomas, those unions have raised nearly $9 for a separate campaign on his behalf, according to fundraising reports.
  Full story

Investigation Into Former L.A. Airport Commissioner Finally Ends

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 10/10/08

Two law enforcement agencies have closed their investigations into former Los Angeles Airport Commissioner Ted Stein, a figure in the "pay-to-play" investigation that helped end the political career of former Mayor James K. Hahn.  Full story

Leveling the Campaign Playing Field

CityWatch LA, by Reatha Simon, 10/3/08

"There must be a better way to obtain a government for the people, by the people.  Perhaps the people of Connecticut, Arizona, and Maine have found that way.  They have all adopted Full Public Funding Systems for Electoral campaigns."  Full story

Union Leader's Difficulties Spill Over Into L.A. County Supervisors Race

Los Angeles Times, by Garrett Therolf and David Zahniser, 8/22/08

Controversy surrounding a powerful Los Angeles labor leader threatened Thursday to alter the landscape beneath the county's hottest political race, which has been fueled by record amounts of union spending.  Full story

Ex-L.A. Mayor Hahn Denies He Knew Whether Wong Took Bribes

Los Angeles Times, by Victoria Kim, 7/10/08

Former Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, testifying at the only trial stemming from "pay to play" allegations that dogged his administration, said Wednesday that he didn't know whether one of his top commissioners was taking bribes.  Full story

A Growing Trend

Marin Independent Journal, by Anita Fieldman, 7/9/08

"Support for the effort here, called Marin Clean Elections, is growing as voters learn that "clean" campaigns increase diversity and citizen participation, create more public confidence in government, and allow politicians to spend time on issues rather than raising money."  Full story

I Tried, But Failed, to Bring Ethics to City Hall

Los Angeles Times, by Bill Boyarsky, 7/6/08

"Five years ago, when I joined the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission, I was new to government, a bit wide-eyed about what I'd be able to get done and eager to begin shepherding big changes through the system. In particular, I hoped to help clean up a political system that I had come to see as dominated by money..."  Full story

Keeping Local Campaigns Clean

Marin Independent Journal, by Jonathan Frieman, 6/30/08

"There is an effective remedy to both the rising costs of campaigns and the paucity of candidates. And this same remedy is the best deterrent against independent expenditures: Full public funding of campaigns..."  Full story

San Rafael Initiative Launched for Public Funding of Political Campaigns

Marin Independent Journal, by Jennifer Upshaw, 6/28/08

Marin Clean Elections seeks public funding of campaigns for public office in the city. San Rafael is the only charter city in Marin, and state law allows for public financing only in charter cities.  The effort is being spearheaded by Moira Brennan, Northern California director of the California Clean Money Campaign.  Full story

L.A.'s Generosity Flows to Complete Midtown Crossing Development

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 6/20/08

Mayor Villaraigosa's appointees at the Community Redevelopment Agency recently recommended that the City Council increase the size of the subsidy to developer CIM Group's Midtown Crossing shopping center by $9.3 million.  Employees of the CIM Group have given the mayor and city council candidates nearly $28,000 in contributions in the last seven years. city has worked with CIM Group, the real estate company building the project.  Full story

SCNC Votes to Support Full Public Funding of City Elections

Sherman Oaks Sun, by Catherine Billey, 5/30/08

The Studio City Neighborhood Council (SCNC) voted to support the City of Los Angeles in adopting full public funding of city elections at its general board meeting on May 21. It is the first time the city has sought and received formal input from neighborhood councils in legislative affairs.   Full story

Forget Selling Land to Balance L.A.'s Budget, City is Giving it Away

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser and Steve Hymon, 5/9/08

The City Council is weighing a plan to give a three-acre site in North Hollywood to a developer who has promised to build an office tower and a seven-screen Laemmle movie theater.  The firm's president has contributed $160,000 to the mayor's political and philanthropic causes.  Full story

Election Reform Group Seeks SLNC Input

Los Feliz Ledger, by Catherine Billey Ledger, 5/1/08

At the request of the Los Angeles City Council, a west Los Angeles based election reform group called the California Clean Money Campaign (CCMC) is seeking input from the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council (SLNC) and other like groups in Los Angeles, to consider the idea of full public funding of city elections.   Full story

Billboards Gone Wild: 4,000 Illegal Billboards Choke L.A.'s Neighborhoods

LA Weekly, by Christine Pelisek, 4/23/08

The mayor and Los Angeles City Council have let the billboard industry flout a flat-out 2002 ban on new billboards.  Mayor Antonio Villagroisa, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, and every city council member have accepted campaign funds from the industry they have failed to regulate.  Full story

Council Hears Proposal for Full Public Funding in City Elections

Palisadian Post, by Danielle Gillespie, 4/16/08

A debate has begun in Los Angeles about whether the city should provide full public funding for city election campaigns, and last Thursday members of the Pacific Palisades Community Council expressed their views.   Full story

Leveling LA's Political Playing Field for the People

CityWatch LA, by Dennis Hathaway, 4/11/08

Workshops are being held throughout the city to educate stakeholders about Clean Money systems in effect in other states and cities, and to gather feedback to give to the city council on implementing such a system here.   Full story

Confusion Over L.A.'s Rules on Lobbyists

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 3/19/08

Under city law, a lobbyist is defined as anyone who is paid to work 30 hours on a specific city project over a three-month period and who makes one verbal contact with a single policymaker during that time.  Full story

Delgadillo Fete Raises Hackles

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser, 3/7/08

Today, the veteran City Hall lobbyist who represented Clear Channel during that lawsuit will help throw a party for City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo, the man whose legal team represented the city throughout the billboard fight -- and who won office with considerable help from billboard interests.  Full story

Money For Nothing

Sacramento News & Review, by Cosmo Garvin, 2/21/08

There's $300,000 waiting for a few good candidates to take on City Hall. Why won't anyone use it?  Full story

Marin Needs Well-Designed Clean Campaign Law

Marin Independent Journal, by Dick Spotswood, 2/3/08

"Now the county Board of Supervisors is poised to create a model clean campaign ordinance that may cap campaign contributions... County supervisors also might involve San Rafael's Jonathan Frieman, the same Frieman who is vice president of the California Clean Money Campaign..."   Full story

O.C. Supervisor to Pay Fine for Fundraising Violations

Los Angeles Times, by Christian Berthelsen, 12/4/07

Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen has agreed to pay $5,000 in fines to settle state and county investigations into an illicit fundraising effort she ran earlier this year in which she collected political donations above the legal limit and tried to avoid disclosing the funds.  Full story

Carona Takes Paid Leave

Los Angeles Times, by Christine Hanley, David Reyes and H.G. Reza, 11/7/07

Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona announced Tuesday he would take a paid leave to focus on the felony corruption charges facing him.   Carona is charged in a broad conspiracy to sell access to his office for tens of thousands of dollars and gifts, such as a boat, pricey watches and tickets to the World Series and a Las Vegas boxing match.  Full story

Public Campaign Financing Leads to Candidate Diversity

San Jose Mercury News, by Christopher R. Moylan, 11/4/07

"As the costs of campaigning have increased, fewer candidates have come forward. That's a problem for everyone. Every time a citizen who would have done a good job chooses not to run, the quality of local government suffers..."   Full story

Alatorre's back as unofficial lobbyist

Los Angeles Times, by David Zahniser and Ted Rohrlich, 10/13/07

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre is enjoying a second coming at City Hall.  Six years after he left the public stage -- his reputation in tatters after admitting that he took cash from people trying to influence him -- he has returned as an advocate for companies seeking city business.   Full story

Supes Tackle Election Reform

Pacific Sun, by Peter Seidman, 9/27/07

Moira Brennan, the Northern California director of the California Clean Money Campaign, describes how AB 583, the California Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, would have striking consequences for statewide races, it would have little impact on local races in Marin County and Marin towns.  Full story

Baca's 'Unwritten Rule': Most Promoted To Sheriff's Top Ranks Contribute To His Campaigns

Los Angeles Daily News, by Troy Anderson, 9/13/07

Long under fire as the "sheriff to the stars," Lee Baca now faces accusations from his deputies that most of the officers he promoted to his command staff contributed to his political campaigns.  Full story

Delgadillo Fined $11,450 For 30 Counts Of Campaign Finance Law Violations

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 6/13/07

"...The Los Angeles Ethics Commission approved $11,450 in fines Tuesday against City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo for 30 counts of violating campaign finance laws..."  Full story

Instant Runoffs Might Be Fix For Voter Fatigue

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Hymon, 6/11/07

"...this Wednesday's (L.A. City Rules and Elections Committee) meeting may be different because the committee is going to discuss instant runoff voting. If you're tired of the endless electioneering in the city, this is a good thing..."  Full story

Coalition Wants Change

Santa Monica Daily Press, by Kevin Herrera, 5/14/07

"..Voter-Owned Transparent Elections for Santa Monica (VOTE4SM) is strongly in favor of the public financing of campaigns and is expected to make that known tonight when City Clerk Maria Stewart hosts a City Hall-sponsored workshop on the electoral process at the Ken Edwards Center in downtown..."  Full story

Unopposed Board Raised $8 million

Los Angeles Times, by Jack Leanard and Doug Smith, 5/13/07

"...A Times analysis of political donations shows that supervisors have raised more than $8 million since 1998, tapping businesses, labor unions and individuals who have stakes in decisions made by the nation's largest county government.."
  Full story

Ethics Panel Passes Mayor's Case To Judge

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 5/9/07

One member objects, saying Villaraigosa's alleged campaign finance violations are too important to not be heard by the commission.  Full story

New Coalition Tackles Big Money In Local Campaigns

The LookOut news, by Jorge Casuso, 5/8/07

"...Worried that “money is having a destructive effect on public policy,” a group of Santa Monica residents and community groups have formed a coalition to lessen the growing importance of private funding on local politics..."  Full story

Villaraigosa's Green Colors School Board Runoff

Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume, 5/4/07

"...Villaraigosa is the main reason Vladovic has raised seven times as much as Kleiner, according to financial disclosure reports filed Thursday. And Villaraigosa is pouring even more money into a tightly contested race in the San Fernando Valley..."  Full story

L.A. Councilman Speaks Out

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Hymon, 4/6/07

Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl said at a the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum that "If you want true transparency" in which "no one has influence over anybody else, nobody has more access than anybody else, then we people have to say we're willing to pay" for campaigns with public tax dollars.   Full story

L.A.'s Democratic Party Machine

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 3/27/07

"...Power brokers in California's Democratic Party move the pieces on the chessboard, then go through the charade of putting their choices on the ballot. But the representatives of "the people" already have been named..."
  Full story

Voter Exclusion

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 3/26/07

"...L.A.'s incestuous and corrupt political system deliberately thwarts the voting process by anointing candidates and pressuring everyone to fall into line..."  Full story

Villaraigosa Vetoes Smart Growth

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 3/22/07

"... In Los Angeles, like most big cities, real estate developers are a prime source of campaign cash...  The latest battle could simply be a contest over whose pockets will be lined with money from downtown builders: the mayor's or council members'..."  Full story

Labor, Business Both On WInning Side In Four City Council Races

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 3/11/07

California Clean Money has started a series of meetings to try to persuade Los Angeles to adopt a complete public campaign-financing system and is trying to work through neighborhood councils to make it happen.  Full story

Less Isn't More When It Comes To Voting

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 3/9/07

"...Villaraigosa bankrolled Tamar Galatzan against union-backed incumbent Jon Lauritzen, funneling her $1.15 million from his school improvement committee. That piggybank, by the way, was stuffed by people unconnected to education ? including developers with business before the city..."
  Full story

Runoffs Likely In 2 School Races

Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume and Joel Rubin, 3/7/07

"Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's school-intervention plans hung in the balance Tuesday evening as election officials tallied results in four Los Angeles Board of Education races that could give him an outright majority of political allies."  Full story

No Big Bucks = No Chance In L.A. Unified Elections

Los Angeles Times, by Bob Sipchen, 3/5/07

School board elections, education histories tell us, once reflected democracy at its cornpone purest. In Tuesday's contest for four seats, vested interests have shoveled well over $2 million into the coffers of candidates running for part-time jobs that pay less than a high school dropout might make as assistant manager at a fast-food joint.  Full story

What Gives On Who Gives?

Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume, Joe Mathews, Joel Rubin, 3/2/07

  Full story

Donations to Mayor's Education Reform Efforts Raise Questions

Los Angeles Times, by Duke Helfand and Joel Rubin, 2/1/07

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa collected more than $761,000 for his education reform efforts during the last six months of 2006, some of it from companies and individuals who have had business before the city but no direct link to education, according to financial reports filed with the state Wednesday.  Full story

A Short Campaign That's Long on Assistance

Los Angeles Times, by Christian Berthelsen, 1/28/07

Candidates hoping to fill the vacant seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors are being heavily supported by independent expenditure committees, which are actually running the bulk of campaign activity.  Candidate Tom Umberg, a former assemblymember, has been the biggest beneficiary and biggest target.  Full story

Traffic Disaster Towers Over L.A.

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 1/14/07

"Homeowners feel like the deck is stacked against them. They point out that the project developer's Chicago affiliate ponied up $100,000 for the school takeover campaign by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who just happens to support the condo tower project..."  Full story

Money Politics

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 12/28/06

"...In the money game that is modern politics, there's something for everyone ? except the public..."  Full story

Signs of Opposition in Billboard Deal

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 11/27/06

City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo is pushing a lawsuit settlement that could allow hundreds of new and existing illegal billboards.  Critics question his impartiality because sign companies donated $424,000 worth of billboard space to support his first election in 2001. And the firms have since contributed thousands more to him and some City Council members.  Full story

Pay for Politics: Questions for John Hartley

Voices of San Diego, by Evan McLaughlin, 11/23/06

John Hartley has the bug for publicly financed elections, arguing that the money of interest groups needs to be removed from campaigns. A group he started almost two years ago, Neighborhoods for Clean Elections, is crafting a proposal that it hopes to forward to voters in 2008.   Full story

L.A. Mayor's Fund Raises Concern

Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume, 11/17/06

It is a dream come true for any politician: a committee that can raise unlimited money and spend it on almost any political or policy-related purpose. And that's exactly what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has enjoyed with his Committee on Excellence and Accountability, a fundraising vehicle he used to win authority over the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Full story

Ethics Panel Sends a Campaign Funding Plan to Council

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey Rabin, 11/15/06

On Tuesday, the same day that special interests behind a successful ballot measure to ease term limits held a celebratory party that included elected officials, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission sent to the City Council a proposal for full public financing of municipal election campaigns.   Full story

Reform, Hucksters

LA Weekly, by David Zahniser, 9/13/06

“’R’ is not for ‘revolution,’” he explained. “Maybe getting rid of term limits is revolution. Maybe clean money, or full public financing of campaigns, is revolution. In my work in the council, most of what we do is reform. It’s rare that you do wholesale change of a system 180 degrees overnight, and that’s probably a good thing.”   Full story

Broad Opposition Not Sinking Mayor's LAUSD Mission

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 8/15/06

"When politicians lament the calls for term limits and efforts like the so-called clean money campaign to try to reduce the influence of money in politics, they only have themselves to blame."  Full story

Friends in High-Rise Places

LA Weekly, by David Zahniser, 8/2/06

Community groups in and around Century City found a new reason to worry last week: Developers of all three projects have poured a combined $275,000 into Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign to seize power at the Los Angeles Unified School District, making them three of the takeover campaign’s five largest contributors.  Full story

Secretary Fined for Role in Illegal Bid to Aid Hahn

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey Rabin, 7/21/06

The secretary to prominent Los Angeles attorney Pierce O'Donnell has been fined $41,000 by the city Ethics Commission for her role in "aiding and abetting" his laundering of contributions to James K. Hahn's 2001 campaign for mayor.  Full story

'Clean Money' ...

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 7/7/06

"The theory behind "clean money" is for taxpayers to fund political campaigns. That way, special interests couldn't buy influence through campaign contributions like they do now. But the idea poses a brutal dilemma for politicians who don't want to change the system that's served them so well..."   Full story

'Clean Money' Hits Council's Nerve

Los Angeles Daily News, by Kerry Cavanaugh, 7/6/06

Reforming citywide election campaigns to a publicly funded "clean money" system could cost Los Angeles around $9 million a year and would likely require a special tax on residents, city leaders acknowledged Wednesday.   Full story

A Plan By Any Other Name ... Still Needs Financing

Daily Breeze, by Dan Laidman, 7/6/06

So long to "clean money," and hello to "full public financing." The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to rename a plan to dramatically reshape the city's elections process to make it sound less judgmental, albeit less catchy.  Full story

Council Studies Election Financing

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 7/6/06

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday inched closer to a controversial proposal to use taxpayer funds to fully finance municipal election campaigns, although some council members balked at the hefty price tag.   Full story

L.A.'s Ethical Void

Los Angeles Daily News, by Beth Barrett, 6/25/06

The City Ethics Commission has violated the law for a decade by failing to notify city agencies of sanctions against dozens of people who money-laundered tens of thousands of dollars to political candidates, the Daily News has learned.  Full story

Prosecutor Accuses Mayor, Aide in 'Secret Bribery, Fraud Scheme'

San Jose Mercury News, by Deborah Lohse, Howard Mintz and Sean Webby and John Woolfolk, 6/23/06

A Santa Clara County prosecutor this afternoon accused Mayor Ron Gonzales and his budget aide of engaging in a ``secret bribery, fraud scheme.''  Gonzales, Joe Guerra and Norcal were indicted on a seven-count complaint Wednesday, and on Thursday were arrested, booked and released on $50,000 bail.  Full story

A 'Self-Funded' Candidate: Avoiding Special Interests, or Buying the Office?

Los Angeles Times, by Dana Parsons, 6/11/06

"... when someone spends at least $2.7 million — the most ever — to win a seat on the Board of Supervisors, the impulse is to scratch your head and ask why someone wants to be elected that badly. Especially when DeYoung tapped into her family's resources and loaned her campaign $2.1 million..."  Full story

De La Fuente War Chest Fills Up

San Francisco Chronicle, by Christopher Heredia, 6/3/06

Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente's bid for mayor got a big financial boost in recent days from special-interest groups and individuals, including an Alameda County landlords' group and Golden State Warriors owner Chris Cohan.   Full story

Supervisor Candidates Spend Less Than in 1994

Contra Costa Times, by Rebecca Rosen Lum, 6/1/06

Candidates for outgoing Contra county Supervisor Mark DeSaulnier's seat have compiled only modest treasuries, campaign finance disclosure statements show.  The top fund-raiser, Concord Mayor Susan Bonilla, has garnered $66,000 -- less than half what DeSaulnier raised to get elected in 1994.  Unions, developers, builders, and other business provided the bulk.  Full story

Either There's Not Enough or Too Much Money

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Hymon, 5/29/06

Q: What else is on the council's plate these days? A: A little thing called campaign finance reform. Backed by Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel and Rosendahl, the idea is to expand public financing for candidates to increase competition for city office while diminishing the influence of those who have business at City Hall and oftentimes fund political campaigns.  Full story

City to Review Campaign Financing

Los Angeles Daily News, by Judy O'Rourke, 5/13/06

Spurred by a request from a community activist months ago, the Santa Clarita City Council will review campaign financing laws next month to see if reform is needed. The proposal to explore public campaign financing will be added to the mix.  Full story

Speakers Gather to Voice Support for Measure T Ordinance

Eureka Reporter, by Rebecca S. Bender, 4/26/06

Kathryn Donahue, chief nurse representative with the California Nurses Association, introduced the Clean Money and Fair Elections Act, now being circulated to qualify for the November ballot. “I’m here tonight because it goes hand in hand with Measure T,” she told the audience.  Full story

Irony Abounds in Proposal on Campaign Fund

San Jose Mercury News, by Scott Herhold, 4/20/06

"...Public financing has the potential to upset the labor-development alliance that now rules the council. It would broaden the field of candidates and encourage dissent, not bad things in a system that often penalizes open disagreement..."  Full story

Ferry, Weste Lead Fundraising

Los Angeles Daily News, by Judy O'Rourke, 4/4/06

[A] local resident questions the independence of incumbents who accept contributions from businesses that stand to benefit from council decisions. 'I looked at all of the candidates' filings . . . and was saddened to see how much money goes into the incumbents' coffers from developer interests,' said Carole Lutness.  Full story

Pay-to-Play Returns

Los Angeles Daily News, 4/4/06

It all seems so long ago: The Hahn administration, Deputy Mayor Troy Edwards, P.R. giant Fleishman-Hillard and its crooked deal with the Department of Water and Power. Remember? This is the scandal once known as "pay-to-play." But just because the voters dumped Hahn doesn't mean the scandal is over.  Full story

Give Gonzales His Due on Election Reform

San Jose Mercury News, Editorial, 3/27/06

"Public financing of political campaigns [for San Jose city races] would remove the need for candidates to ask special interests for contributions. It also would free them from spending hours on the phone raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in $250 or $500 checks... The time could be better spent meeting voters..."  Full story

Gonzales Proposes Public Funding for Some Campaigns

San Jose Mercury News, by John Woofolk, 3/23/06

San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales proposed full public funding today for future mayoral and city council campaigns.  Gonzales said it would let candidates focus more on voter concerns than fundraising, and free elected officials from the perception that campaign contributors influence their decisions.
  Full story

Clean Money

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 3/19/06

"... Although few among us like the prospect of our tax dollars paying for political campaigns, the reality is they already do. Politicians trade taxpayer-financed favors to special interests in exchange for campaign cash. And because a few thousand in private campaign donations can end up costing the public millions, public financing of campaigns could possibly save taxpayers a fortune..."  Full story

I Hate the Ethics Commission

Los Angeles Times, by Bill Boyarsky, 3/19/06

"At Tuesday's Ethics Commission meeting, in addition to fining Ludlow, we took a step that could actually repair the structure. We recommended that city elections be financed with public funds. That means candidates would no longer have to cozy up to contractors, land developers, union bosses and the rest of the crew that calls the shots at City Hall..."  Full story

Ethics Panel Endorses Public Funding of City Campaigns

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 3/15/06

"...Susan Lerner, executive director of the California Clean Money Campaign, said the [Ethics Commission] should consider the policy goals before weighing the costs, and she backed full public financing, which she said would improve 'the public's faith in the election process.'..."  Full story

Public Campaign Funding Urged

Los Angeles Daily News, by Lisa Mascaro and Harrison Shephard, 3/15/06

Los Angeles is considering full public financing of elections, part of a growing civic trend to stem the influence political donors have on City Hall. Commission President Gil Garcetti said he's never seen such an outpouring of public support... "It would make a big difference - for us, a big city, to do this would send a real signal," said Julia Maher, a [Clean Money] activist  Full story

An Outward Show of Political Influence

Los Angeles Times, by Stuart Pfeifer and Lance Pugmire, 3/13/06

Gary Nalbandian has tapped a network of businessmen and acquaintances to raise tens of thousands of dollars in political contributions for Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Riverside Sheriff Bob Doyle and San Bernardino County Dist. Atty. Mike Ramos.  These three officials authorized the issuance of official-looking badges for many of the donors. The three officials subsequently authorized the issuance of badges, identification cards or other official-looking credentials for many of the donors, designating them members of groups including Baca's "Homeland Security Support Unit," Doyle's "Sheriff's Executive Council" and Ramos' "Bureau of Justice."
  Full story

Friends in Deed

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Brooke Williams and Danielle Cervantes, 3/13/06

"...For the people who have deals to use city-owned land, it's just good business. For the politicians they favor, lobbyists they employ and the former City Hall insiders able to work the system, it can be a bonanza..."  Full story

Committee Hopes to Clean Elections for ‘True Democracy’

Santa Clarita Valley Signal, by Josh Premako, 3/12/06

Santa Clarita Valley residents turned out on Wednesday night as steering committee members of SCV Clean Money for Better Government provided information on what they say is a better foundation for elections - Clean Money full public funding of election campaigns. “What I want to see is a true democracy,” said committee chair Carole Lutness  Full story

Ludlow Pleads Guilty to Violating Campaign Law in '03 Council Race

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 3/9/06

Former Los Angeles City Councilman Martin Ludlow pleaded guilty Wednesday to a felony charge that he conspired with the head of a school workers union to illegally funnel union funds into his 2003 council campaign.  Ludlow will shoulder $40,000 in fines and court costs and accept a four-year ban on holding elected office and three years' probation.   Full story

Proposal Would Expand List of People Who Must Register as Lobbyists in L.A.

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 3/9/06

A Los Angeles ethics commissioner has proposed that leaders of homeowner groups, union activists and some heads of nonprofit organizations who frequently try to influence City Hall be required to register as lobbyists and disclose their activity.  Full story

A Roast, With a Side of Access

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin, 3/6/06

Donations to buy access to elected officials are a fact of Los Angeles political life. But rarely is a solicitation quite as joyfully blatant as the invitation to an upcoming political roast of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  The event, organized by two lobbyists and a City Hall aide, is a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Assn.  Full story

County Weighs Limits on Lobbying

Los Angeles Times, by Jack Leonard, 2/28/06

Los Angeles County supervisors are set to vote today to tighten their lobbying rules, but the proposal has not impressed political watchdog groups.  Along with a one-year moratorium on lobbying former county agencies, the proposed rule would ban any kind of lobbying on matters in which the official had personal and substantial involvement while working for the county.   Full story

New Details of Ludlow Investigation Revealed

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy and Steve Hymon, 2/24/06

Los Angeles labor leaders failed Thursday to name a successor to former City Councilman Martin Ludlow, as fresh details surfaced about the investigation that caused him to resign as head of their politically powerful coalition.  Full story

Labor's Loss

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 2/22/06

"Orgamized labor suffered a painful setback Tuesday when Martin Ludlow resigned as leader of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, under pressure from a joint probe by federal and county criminal investigators and local ethics officials into possible illegal use of campaign funds..."  Full story

Record Independent Campaign Spending Sparks Concern

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 2/15/06

Last year's Los Angeles city election set a record for independent expenditures by unions, corporations and individuals, for a total of $4.9 million spent outside the city's system of campaign finance limits. Commission President Gil Garcetti and Vice President Bill Boyarsky renewed a call for full public financing of election campaigns.  Full story

Election Reforms Weakened

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 2/15/06

Los Angeles City Ethics Commissionier Bill Boyarsky and Commission President Gil Garcetti called for the city to abandon its partial public financing system in favor of full public financing.  Boyarsky said he believes such a system could better reduce the impact of contributions on races.   Full story

Campaign Cash Reform Championed

Los Angeles Daily News, by Judy O'Rourke, 2/13/06

Santa Clarita residents fed up with ballooning campaign spending will ask local officials to follow lawmakers in Los Angeles and Sacramento who are considering public campaign finance plans. "[With Clean Money], [c]andidates are freed from the task of fundraising," said Eric Tang, a spokesman for the nonprofit California Clean Money Campaign.   Full story

Supervisors OK Public Financing For Mayoral Races

San Francisco Chronicle, by Charlie Goodyear and Cecilia M. Vega, 2/8/06

"Over the objection of Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed legislation Tuesday establishing public financing for mayoral elections and limiting parking spaces in new downtown residences, garages and lots."   Full story

Board Approves Public Financing For Mayoral Elections

San Francisco Examiner, by Justin Jouvenal, 2/7/06

"Millions of taxpayer dollars could finance future candidates for The City’s highest office, a move supporters say could make mayoral elections more competitive but raised questions from detractors, including the mayor, if it is the best use of public money considering the ongoing deficit."  Full story

Push To Open Up Mayor's Races In S.F., Public Financing Measure Designed To Level Playing Field

San Francisco Chronicle, by Rachel Gordon, 2/6/06

"San Francisco's liberal progressives are on the verge of a political victory they hope will level the financial playing field for the next election. On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take up -- and is expected to pass -- a public financing measure for candidates running for mayor."  Full story

Voter-Owned Mayoral Elections Looks Like Sure Thing

Beyond Chron, by Rita Mandelenis, 1/26/06

San Francisco is considering creating a partial public financing program for mayoral candidates.  Joni Eisen, member of San Francisco for Democracy, was the first to state that the elections would only be partially funded by the city, and that the campaign for voter-owned elections could go even further.
  Full story

LA City Council Votes to Study Feasibility of Public Financing of City Political Campaigns

The Argonaut, by Argonaut Staff, 11/24/05

"...'It is tremendously exciting that the City Council has taken this historic action and begun a vigorous discussion of how we can best restore faith in city government, said Susan Lerner, executive director of the California Clean Money Campaign..."  Full story

Consider Funding S.F. Campaigns

San Francisco Examiner, Editorial, 11/24/05

"But a public financing system could be an important part of making races for mayor cleaner, fairer and more focused on substantive issues. That makes it important enough that San Francisco should very thoroughly examine how such a system might work in The City..."  Full story

City to Look at Public Funding for Mayor’s Races

San Francisco Examiner, by Justin Jouvenal, 11/21/05

Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi has proposed legislation that would create a partial public financing system for mayoral elections in San Francisco.  The City would offer matching dollars if mayoral candidates can prove they have a substantial base of support.
  Full story

A Clean-Money Law Gives Power to Public

Los Angeles Daily News, by Wendy Greuel, Bill Rosendahl and Eric Garcetti, 11/18/05

"As elected officials, we continually strive to connect to, and communicate with, the communities we represent. But no matter how vigorously we attack the problems in our neighborhoods, an inescapable force pulls us in another direction. Political fundraising takes us out of our districts, sometimes even out of our city..."   Full story

L.A. City-Funded Campaign Financing Study is Approved

Daily Breeze, by David Zahniser, 11/16/05

The Los Angeles City Council took a hesitant first step toward full public financing of city campaigns Tuesday, voting unanimously to study how much it would cost if taxpayers funded the campaign of every council candidate.  On an 11-0 vote, the council gave its policy analysts 90 days to develop a workable "clean money" system for campaign fund raising.  Full story

City Eyes Public Campaign Funding

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 11/16/05

Trying to counter the public perception that politicians are beholden to their contributors, the Los Angeles City Council took steps Tuesday to study a taxpayer-funded campaign-financing system.  The proposal, approved 11-0, calls for a review of public financing systems across the country - notably in Arizona and Maine - their impact on elections and campaign spending.  Full story

Public Election Funding Urged in L.A.

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 11/9/05

A quartet of elected officials urged the Los Angeles Ethics Commission to support a move toward full public financing of campaigns as a way to restore public faith in the integrity of city government. The panel heard support for the concept of a "clean money" program from City Council members Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti and Bill Rosendahl and City Controller Laura Chick.
  Full story

Public-Financed Elections Urged

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 11/9/05

A team of elected Los Angeles officials joined Tuesday with the Ethics Commission in urging that the city take the lead in promoting total public financing for municipal elections.  Controller Laura Chick and City Council members Wendy Greuel, Eric Garcetti and Bill Rosendahl all urged the panel to develop an election-financing plan - modeled after systems in Arizona and Maine.
  Full story

Spending Big at the Ballot Box to Build

Los Angeles Times, by Maria L. La Ganga, 10/31/05

A housing developer here in the Bay Area's bastion of slow growth is on track to spend nearly $68 per registered voter to pass a ballot measure that would expand the city's boundaries and add 2,450 new homes along one of Northern California's most congested highways.  Full story

Guards Union Enters O.C. Fray

Los Angeles Times, by Jean O. Pasco, 10/28/05

The union representing the state's prison guards has given $25,000 to defeat a measure on Orange County's Nov. 8 ballot that would carve off a slice of public-safety tax money for fire protection that now goes to the Sheriff's Department and the district attorney.  Full story

Redevelopment Leads to Lawsuits

Los Angeles Daily News, by Troy Anderson, 10/22/05

A class-action lawsuit alleges taxpayers have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in lease revenues because officials undervalued Marina Del Rey property.  Campaign reports show that marina lessees and developers have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to county supervisor campaigns.  Full story

Lobbyist Rules Toughened

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 10/19/05

"... [Los Angeles City] Councilman Bill Rosendahl... is among a group of officials who support complete public financing of campaigns. 'I want to take all the money out of politics... I believe it is the root of so much that is wrong in politics.' The Ethics Commission is scheduled to discuss a full public-financing campaign for city offices at its Nov. 8 meeting..."
  Full story

City Ethics Panel Urges Full Public Funding of Political Campaigns, Pledges Ballot Effort

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 10/12/05

Los Angeles City Ethics Commission members called Tuesday for full government funding of local political campaigns and pledged to put a measure before voters, if the plan is not adopted by the City Council.  Susan Lerner, of the California Clean Money Campaign, said she is eager to see how the Ethics Commission votes.   Full story

Billboard Firm to Be Fined for Political Effort

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 10/6/05

Clear Channel Outdoor has agreed to pay $30,000 in fines for failing to properly disclose its role in providing billboards touting candidates.  Clear Channel and other billboard companies  provided billboards worth $425,000 in support of Delgadillo in his 2001 battle for city attorney against Feuer, a proponent of tougher billboard regulations.  Full story

City Grapples With Campaign Reform

Sacramento Bee, by Terri Hardy, 9/20/05

Violate a campaign law in Sacramento and chances are good that nothing will happen to you.  Complaints go unanswered, city election officials admit some campaign ordinances have no teeth, and the City Attorney's Office has stated it's politically unrealistic for it to investigate or enforce violations.  Full story

L.A. County Donor Curbs Lack Teeth

Los Angeles Times, by Jack Leonard, 9/13/05

Nine years after voters overwhelmingly approved an initiative that limited fundraising for Los Angeles County elections, violations of the law are going undiscovered and unpunished.  A Times investigation found that no candidate or donor has ever been fined or prosecuted for breaking the rules.  Full story

Arcata City, CA Establishes Model Voter Confidence Resolution for Nation's Cities to Follow

Lone Star Iconoclast (Texas), by Leon Smith, 9/12/05

Voter confidence has plummeted during the past two presidential elections. The City of Arcata, Calif., after months of debate and consideration, has adopted what is called the Voter Confidence Resolution which includes Clean Money laws.
  Full story

Colonies Halts Contributions to Supervisors

Inland Valley News, by Edward Barrera, 8/6/05

Developers fill the coffers of local, county and state campaign funds. The Colonies developers have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in the past several years in campaign gift contributions to the San Bernardino County supervisors, and other developers have given even more.  Full story

Mayor Returns $45,000 in Questionable Contributions

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 8/4/05

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who returned thousands of dollars in questionable contributions from Florida donors during the mayoral campaign, has sent back 75 other donations totaling about $45,000.  Full story

Controller Takes Aim at Campaign-Financing Overhaul

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 7/29/05

Controller Laura Chick vowed on Thursday to make municipal-election reform a priority this year in an effort to reduce the impact of special interests on City Hall.  Chick said she plans to meet with business and community groups to discuss a proposal advanced this week by council members Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel and Bill Rosendahl that would study public financing of City Council races.   Full story

Public Financing Cannot Buy Integrity

San Diego Union-Tribune, Editorial, 7/28/05

"A confederation of interest groups that want taxpayers to pay for the campaigns of candidates for city offices. ... Apart from the fiscal insanity of the plan, the proponents' premise that public financing is the only way to have honest politicians is simply absurd."  Full story

Group Wants Elections Publicly Financed

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Martin Stolz, 7/27/05

The San Diego Alliance for Clean Elections announced plans to collect signatures for a ballot initiative for public financing of municipal elections for the November 2006 ballot.  The coalition includes the League of Women Voters, the Sierra Club and California Common Cause.  Full story

Campaign Finance Plan Urged

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 7/27/05

Amid declining voter turnout and a perceived lack of trust in politicians, four Los Angeles City Council members called Tuesday for the city to study a public-financing system for candidates.  Susan Lerner said the public funds could be used to offset the roles of independent committees by providing money to other candidates in a race.  Full story

City Considers Public Financing of Elections

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Hymon, 7/26/05

In a bid to reduce the influence of campaign contributors in citywide elections, three Los Angeles City Council members will submit a proposal today asking city staff to develop a public financing system for candidates.   Full story

Supervisors Eye Ways to Curb PACs

Contra Costa Times, by Peter Felsenfeld, 7/25/05

Like engineers trying to dam a tenacious river, Contra Costa leaders are toiling to stem the seemingly inevitable flow of money into local elections.  Ironically, their answer may be to ease or end their own campaign finance limits. A decade-old Contra Costa law curbing political campaign donations and spending sure hasn't worked.  Full story

Councilmen Zucchet, Inzunza Convicted on Corruption Charges

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Karen Kucher, 7/19/05

Acting Mayor Michael Zucchet and Councilman Ralph Inzunza were convicted Monday on federal corruption charges, with a jury finding the politicians conspired with a strip club owner to ease restrictions on such clubs in a quid pro quo for campaign contributions.  Full story

Romer Reveals Donors

Los Angeles Daily News, by Naush Boghossian, 7/13/05

The nonprofit organization Superintendent Roy Romer set up to defend Los Angeles Unified's image against political attacks relied almost entirely on contributions from construction firms, textbook publishers and other school contractors, records released Tuesday showed.  Full story

Mayor Makes Ethical Start

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 7/6/05

Delivering on a campaign pledge to try to restore public trust in City Hall, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday mandated an "ethics pledge" for key employees and appointed an ethics czar to oversee its enforcement.  Full story

Villaraigosa Takes Oath of Office, Makes Plans for Extravagant Gala

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 6/17/05

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's two-day inauguration celebration will include special attention to those who pony up $25,000 for a table for 10, donated to LA's BEST after-school program.  Some City Hall watchers were concerned it would allow lobbyists, city contractors and others to get on the new mayor's good side by donating to a charity he chose.   Full story

Ethics Panel Seeks Parity in Elections

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 6/15/05

Frustrated that unregulated, independent expenditure campaigns could be unfairly influencing Los Angeles elections, the city Ethics Commission considered countermeasures Tuesday, including an increase in taxpayer funding of candidates.  Susan Lerner, executive director of the California Clean Money Campaign, urged them to pursue the idea.  Full story

Reforms level field in L.A. elections

Los Angeles Daily News, by Patrick McGreevy, 6/12/05

June 12, 1995:  Campaign finance reforms adopted in 1990 have significantly leveled the playing field in Los Angeles city elections between incumbents and challengers, the city Ethics Commission said Thursday.    Full story

Laws Fail to Limit Political Spending

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin, 6/6/05

Unchecked independent spending is playing an increasingly large role in Los Angeles elections, despite city campaign finance restrictions that sought to limit the influence of big-money donors.  More than $4.2 million was spent independently in this year's campaign.  Full story

Court Gives Campaign Finance Laws a Green Light

Los Angeles Times, by Jia-Rui Chong, 5/21/05

Laws that voters in Pasadena, Claremont and Santa Monica approved three years ago will now go into effect since the California Supre Court refused to hear challenges to them.  The laws prohibit individuals or businesses that have done more than $25,000 worth of business with the city to make campaign contributions to local officials.  Full story

Westside Council Candidates Fighting to the End

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Hymon, 5/17/05

Three men with ties to the massive Play Vista development south of Marina del Rey reported spending a total of $45,000 since Friday in support of Flora Gil Krisiloff in the city council race against Bill Rosendahl.  The Ballona Wetlands Committee to Stop Playa Vista has spent $11,406 in support of Rosendahl.
  Full story

Campaign-Finance Reform Should be Priority

Los Angeles Daily News, by Susan Lerner, 5/15/05

"Transformation of Los Angeles' partial public funding of elections to a full Clean Money system would finally allow us to do what L.A.'s voters hoped the matching-fund system they adopted in 1990 would accomplish: Yank the "for sale" sign from City Hall and vote in the best candidate for mayor... "   Full story

Bankroll Disparity Widens Sharply

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin and Patrick McGreevy, 5/14/05

Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa has raised $2.3 million more than incumbent James K. Hahn in the mayoral runoff campaign, giving him a huge financial advantage as he makes his closing argument to Los Angeles voters this weekend.  Full story

Stakes Huge for Donors in Mayor's Race

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin and Patrick McGreevy, 5/13/05

Hundreds of thousands of dollars have poured into the campaigns of Mayor James K. Hahn and Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa from individuals, businesses, labor unions, developers, engineering firms, towing companies, airport concessionaires and port tenants that do business with Los Angeles.  Almost all have major stakes in city hall decisions.  Full story

Voter Vouchers Can Help Clean Up Politics

Los Angeles Times, by Richard L. Hasen, 5/10/05

"There is a way to solve the appearance of corruption and at the same time fulfill the need to allow the maximum number of voices to be heard during a campaign: public financing, distributed to candidates, causes and parties..."  Full story

City For Sale

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 5/8/05

"In Los Angeles, the famous Lord Acton's saying about power corrupting needs to be tweaked: Here, it's money that corrupts, and massive amounts of money corrupt massively..."   Full story

Exceptions Fill Mayoral Candidates' War Chests

Daily Breeze, by David Zahniser, 5/8/05

The two candidates for mayor are the beneficiaries of hundreds of thousands of dollars in "independent expenditures".  Because they exceed the $1,000 limit, the independent expenditures -- sometimes known as "IEs" -- dwarf the contributions sent in by individual citizens or businesses.  Full story

Dirty Money

Los Angeles Daily News, by Beth Barrett, 5/8/05

With special-interest spending in the mayor's race at a record -- $15 million overall in the primary and runoff -- the campaign has devolved into something of a shouting match over whose campaign money is dirtier.  Full story

Independent Spending on Race for Mayor Sets L.A. Record

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin and Daniel Hernandez, 5/5/05

  Full story

City Ethics $wamped

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 5/5/05

Freewheeling spending in the Los Angeles mayor's race by a wide range of interests that have something to gain has swamped the city's ethics-reform efforts and heightened concerns that City Hall is for sale, political experts said Wednesday.   Full story

Villaraigosa TV Ad Hits Hahn on Ethics Questions

Los Angeles Times, by Michael Finnegan and Jessica Garrison, 5/3/05

The Los Angeles mayoral race took a harsh turn Monday as City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa began airing a television ad that slams incumbent James K. Hahn for a grand jury investigation of his campaign fundraising and alleged corruption at City Hall.   Full story

Villaraigosa blasts Hahn With Ad Pinned to Probes

Los Angeles Daily News, by Rick Orlov, 5/3/05

For the first time, Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn proposed full public financing for city elections to prevent problems with campaign fundraising.  Mayor Hahn and challenger Antonio Villaraigosa exchanged charges and attack ads about "pay to play" allegations involving both candidates.  Full story

'Miami Vice' Meets 'Dumb and Dumber'

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 4/29/05

"Villaraigosa has quite appropriately beaten up Mayor Hahn for fundraising and contract-awarding practices that have sparked an ongoing City Hall corruption probe...  And then what did he do?  He created his own fundraising fiasco, finally agreeing under pressure Thursday to return campaign donations that had the odor of bad smelt..."
  Full story

The $31,000 Question

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 4/29/05

"... when two dozen employees of an out-of-town company whose president once held a lucrative concessions contract at Los Angeles International Airport make contributions that many can't remember and few can explain, it does tend to raise a red flag..."  Full story

Villaraigosa to Return Florida Donations

Los Angeles Times, by Richard Fausset and Jennifer Oldham, 4/29/05

In the face of escalating pressure over questionable out-of-state campaign contributions, mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa decided Thursday to return thousands of dollars to employees of two related Florida companies.  Full story

Villaraigosa Under Fire for Florida Donations

Los Angeles Times, by Richard Fausset and Jennifer Oldham, 4/28/05

After months of criticizing Mayor James K. Hahn for accepting questionable political donations, mayoral challenger Antonio Villaraigosa found himself answering questions Wednesday about $31,000 in donations to his campaign from workers at two affiliated Florida-based companies.  Full story

The Hundred Years War, L.A.-Style

Los Angeles Times, by Patt Morrison, 4/13/05

"Copy Arizona. It shames me to say this, but the state that once banned the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday is now way ahead of cutting-edge California. It has public campaign financing to die for..."  Full story

4 Candidates in 2001 L.A. Mayor's Race to Pay Fines

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 4/8/05

Four candidates for Los Angeles mayor in the 2001 election have agreed to pay $33,000 for campaign finance and disclosure violations.  The Ethics Commission on Tuesday will also consider approving $147,000 in additional fines against subcontractors of Casden Properties Inc. and employees, relatives and friends of the subcontractors.  Full story

Hahn Trails Villaraigosa in the Race for Money

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin and Patrick McGreevy, 4/8/05

Mayor Hahn should wish there was Clean Money since he's getting outraised by Villaraigosa...  I don't suppose there's any way to get him to think/talk that way, is there?  Full story

Turnout Low, Except in Candidates' Strongholds

Los Angeles Times, by Jennifer Oldham, 3/17/05

Voter participation in last week's mayoral election sank to its lowest level in 16 years.  Overall turnout at the polls was just 20%; absentee ballots brought the total to 26%.  Jaime Regalado, executive director of the Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. said "They're not believing politicians.."  Full story

County Official Solicited Campaign Funds From Contractor

Los Angeles Times, by Jack Leonard, 3/9/05

The head of a Los Angeles County government agency that doles out millions of dollars to community groups solicited campaign contributions from at least one of those groups while working for Antonio Villaraigosa's mayoral campaign.  Full story

Mayoral Hopefuls Ready for Ad Blitz

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin and Michael Finnegan, 2/25/05

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn and Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa have enough money to dominate the crucial television ad battle in the final 11 days of the mayor's race as a third contender, former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, struggles to keep pace, according to finance reports released Thursday.  Full story

Unopposed, School Board Leader Still Raises Funds

Los Angeles Times, by Cara Mia DiMassa, 2/22/05

Los Angeles Board of Education President Jose Huizar has raised more than $330,000 for his reelection, much of it from construction-related companies and individuals involved in the school district's massive school building program.  Full story

2001 Hahn Donor Gets $270,000 Ethics Fine

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 2/9/05

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission on Tuesday imposed a record $270,000 fine against Westside developer Mark Alan Abrams after the panel concluded that he hatched a scheme to launder political contributions to benefit James K. Hahn's 2001 mayoral campaign and the campaigns of two Hahn allies.  Full story

Four Who Want His Job Tackle the Mayor

Los Angeles Times, by Matea Gold and Michael Finnegan, 2/8/05

Los Angeles mayoral candidates Richard Alarcon, Bob Hertzberg, and Mayor Jim Hahn said they support full public financing of city elections in a live televised debate last night.  Bernard Parks and Antonio Villaraigosa called for further reforms of campaign finance rules but stopped short of endorsing such a measure.  Full story

PR Execs Hold Fundraisers for Hahn's Challengers

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 1/31/05

Mayor James K. Hahn's ban on public relations contracts at Los Angeles City Hall has been followed by a flurry of political fundraisers presented by PR executives for candidates who are not Hahn.  Full story

Look Who's Buying the Mayor's Race

Los Angeles Times, by Howard Blume with Maloy Moore, 1/23/05

"If money begets reality, Mayor James K. Hahn, the top overall money man in the 2005 mayoral race, can't be counted out no matter how much an evolving city-contract scandal touches him. By the same logic, former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, in second place, has a shot that belies his lack of name recognition.."  Full story

Illuminating City Hall's PR

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 1/15/05

"... Hahn was the recipient of generous donations from Fleishman-Hillard and its employees, including $15,000 to his 2002 Valley anti-secession drive...   If anyone should be able to shed some light on how the city found itself in this mess, Hahn should."  Full story

Hahn Moves to Defend Integrity in PR Billing Case

Los Angeles Times, by Jessica Garrison and Patrick McGreevy, 1/15/05

A federal grand jury investigation into city contracting under Mayor Hahn's administration has yield its first indictment, a senior executive of Fleishman-Hillard.  Fleishman employees have given at least $31,200 to Hahn's campaigns and received millions in city contracts.  Full story

PR Executive Indicted in 'Pay to Play' Probe

Los Angeles Times, by Ralph Frammolino and Ted Rohrlich, 1/14/05

A federal grand jury Thursday delivered the first indictment in a wide-ranging criminal investigation of corruption in Los Angeles city government.  The "pay to play" investigation focuses on whether firms doing business with the DWP, port and city airport agency were forced to make political contributions in return for contracts
  Full story

Major Hahn Backer Accused

Los Angeles Times, by Rich Connell and Robert J. Lopez, 1/12/05

Los Angeles ethics officials on Monday accused a Westside developer and major campaign fundraiser for Mayor James K. Hahn of orchestrating about $90,000 in illegal contributions.  As the money flowed, Hahn's office helped Abrams receive high-level City Hall access on a troubled development project and the mayor named the developer's real estate attorney to the city Planning Commission.   Full story

Hahn Leads Rivals in Cash Contest

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin and Patrick McGreevy, 1/11/05

As the Los Angeles mayor's race intensifies, incumbent James K. Hahn is in a commanding financial position, with $2.4 million available to pay for his reelection campaign, far more than his two best-financed challengers, Bob Hertzberg and Antonio Villaraigosa.  Full story

Debate Puts Hahn on Hot Seat

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey and Jessica Garrison, 12/3/04

Fighting for reelection in the first debate of the mayoral campaign, Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn faced sustained criticism Thursday from four challengers over alleged corruption in his administration.  Full story

Most City Incumbents Opt Out of Spending Limits

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 11/29/04

Most of the Los Angeles city pols up for reelection in March have opted out of taking public matching funds, which means they don't have to abide by spending limits, sparking concern from backers of the program.  Full story

Donations to Hahn Allies Scrutinized

Los Angeles Times, by Robert J. Lopez and Rich Connell, 11/1/04

Two Los Angeles City Council members who were key allies of Mayor James K. Hahn received more than $20,000 in contributions from companies and employees connected to a Hahn fundraiser now at the center of a criminal investigation.   Full story

A Golf Course in Wild Park?

Los Angeles Times, by Christine Hanley, 10/29/04

The Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach is quietly planning a possible expansion that would include a golf course extending deep into a protected wilderness park.  The company has contributed $36,000 to try to defeat Laguna Beach City Councilman Wayne Baglin, who opposes the expansion.  Full story

Contest Between Meyer and Groman Tops Record for Most Expensive

Metropolitan News-Enterprise, by Kenneth Ofgang, 10/29/04

The contest for the Los Angeles Superior Court seat being vacated by Judge James Wright is the most expensive in the history of the court, campaign records show.  Deputy District Attorney Judith L. Meyer has raised $306,663 through Oct. 16, and her opponent Superior Court Commissioner Donna Groman has raised $199,298.  Full story

Berkeley's Solution to Payback Politics

San Francisco Chronicle, by Barbara Lee, 10/28/04

"Giveaways to big-money, special-interest donors are way of life in Washington. The system encourages them... On Tuesday, Berkeley voters have a chance to set an example for California and the nation. Measure H would make Berkeley the first city in the United States to adopt the clean-elections system already tested and proven in Arizona and Maine..."   Full story

Disclosure Rule Suggested for L.A. Panelists

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 10/16/04

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission recommended Friday that city commissioners be required to disclose political fundraising they conduct in the year before they are appointed, but stopped short of banning people from taking city posts if they have raised money for city candidates.   Full story

Taxpayers Should Fund Campaigns

Berkeley Daily Planet, by John Denvir, 10/15/04

"... one sound principle is “Be Nice to People Who Help You.” One way politicians apply this maxim is to give special “access” to contributors. That’s not necessarily corrupt, but it is undemocratic....  But unequal access is not the major problem. There is also the problem of unequal influence..."   Full story

Builder Money Floods Dana Point

Los Angeles Times, by Jean O. Pasco, 10/13/04

For the second time in two years, developers are pouring money into the city elections in Dana Point, where low-key campaigning and modest political war chests had been the norm.  In 2002, two developers gave $70,000 out of a total $125,000 in contributions to four independent campaign committees.  There are limits of $540 per contribution for candidates.  Full story

Villaraigosa Is Set for a Well-Funded Race

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey and Patrick McGreevy, 10/7/04

Two months after he entered the race to unseat Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn, Antonio Villaraigosa has raised more than $643,000.  That probably puts him several hundred thousand dollars behind Bob Hertzberg and as much as $1 million behind the mayor.   State Sen. Richard Alarcon raised $50,456 during the last three months.  Full story

Supervisor Math -- They Give, You Pay

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 9/29/04

Each year, members of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors get discretionary funds which can top $1 million each.  "... The supervisors are imperial and untouchable enough without the added advantage of what East Coast wags call 'walking-around money.' You know, take care of friends, plant seeds for the reelection harvest."  Full story

Developer Donation Cap Backed

Los Angeles Times, by Catherine Saillant, 9/22/04

Moving to reduce monetary influence on development projects, Ventura County supervisors tentatively agreed Tuesday to a $250 contribution cap from donors with land-use matters pending before the board.
  Full story

Villaraigosa Reaches $200,000 in Donations

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin and Jessica Garrison, 9/21/04

Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa reached the $200,000 mark in campaign fundraising late last week, a month and a half after he announced his second run for mayor of Los Angeles.  Unlike last election, no wealthy candidates are pumping large amounts of money into their campaigns, which would allow the other candidates to raise more money from donors.
  Full story

Fundraising in Race for Mayor Gets Boost

Los Angeles Times, by Jeffrey L. Rabin, 9/19/04

Councilman Bernard C. Parks lent $50,000 to his campaign for mayor of Los Angeles and triggered an exemption from the city's contribution limit for other candidates.  Mayor James K. Hahn, former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg and state Sen. Richard Alarcon immediately took advantage of the opportunity to raise up to $7,000, rather than the usual $1,000, from individual donors.  Full story

Rally for Public Financing Today

Oakland Tribune, by Staff Reports, 9/18/04

Backers of Berkeley's public financing measure on the November ballot are holding a kickoff party and rally today at University of California, Berkeley.  If approved by a simple majority on Nov. 2, Measure H will make Berkeley the first city in Alameda County to fully bankroll the City Council, school board, auditor and mayoral elections with public money.  Full story

Firm Accuses Aliso Viejo Councilman

Los Angeles Times, by Jean O. Pasco, 9/17/04

An ambulance company says it was asked to contribute to the campaign of an Aliso Viejo city councilman at the same time it was seeking the city's business, triggering concerns that political corruption has arrived in Orange County's newest city.  Full story

His Firm Makes Millions by Running the Marathon

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 8/30/04

A dispute over the rights to the name "City of Los Angeles Marathon" has been settled in a way that could allow William Burke to earn millions of dollars using the city's name.  Burke is the husband of County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke and has given city officials $64,000 in political contributions in the last decade.  Full story

Campaign Donor Curbs Sought

Sacramento Bee, by Art Campos, 8/24/04

Another push is on to limit campaign contributions in Placer County after recent election statements showed Supervisor-elect Bruce Kranz raised $236,971 for his race - an all-time high for the county.  The proposed ballot initiative petition would limit individual contributions in supervisors races to $250 per donor.  Full story

The Making of a Political Insider

San Francisco Chronicle, by Lance Williams, Vanessa Hua, Bill Wallace, 8/15/04

Julie Lee has contributed $274,712 to the campaigns of Mayor Willie Brown, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley and many other politicians while raising tens of thousands more to benefit the causes and candidates she favored.  In response to her aggressive fund raising, critics say, the politicians provided many benefits.  Full story

Ethics Panel OKs Looser Fine Policy

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 8/11/04

Members tentatively agree not to fine candidates who return smaller excess contributions promptly. Some criticize change.  Full story

Alarcon Seeks Audits of L.A. Contracts

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 8/11/04

Alarmed by a sharp rise in how much the city of Los Angeles spends on private attorneys, state Sen. Richard Alarcon proposed Tuesday that the state audit the outside lawyer contracts.   It has increased significantly at the same time that 50 of the law firms involved and their attorneys contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Hahn and City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo.  Full story

Race Brings Donor Issues to Fore

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey and Patrick McGreevy, 8/8/04

Candidates running for mayor of Los Angeles are raising thousands of dollars from city contractors, developers and others who do business with City Hall despite Mayor James K. Hahn's contention that such political contributions should be banned to restore the public's faith in municipal government.   Full story

Hertzberg Leads Pack in Fundraising

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey and Patrick McGreevy, 8/3/04

Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg has raised just under $700,000 in the first six months of the year, outpacing every other candidate for mayor of Los Angeles.  Mayor Hahn raised $646,000, but has $1.5 million in his campaign account.  State Sen. Richard Alarcon raised $204,000 and Councilmember Bernard Parks raised $130,000.  Full story

Ethics Panel Makes Corruption Probes a Priority

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 8/3/04

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission on Monday adopted a list of "investigation and enforcement priorities" that included looking for political money laundering, abuse of independent expenditure campaigns, "pay-to-play" ethics lapses and "corruption/bribery cases focusing on major proprietary city departments."  Full story

Hahn Still No. 1 in Cash Race

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey and Patrick McGreevy, 7/31/04

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn maintains a substantial lead in the money race for next year's mayoral election, with $1.5 million in the bank.   But former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg, who entered the race in April, will report on Monday that he raised $700,000 in just 2 1/2 months.  Hahn's two othre major challengers aren't expected to have raised close to either amount.  Full story

Fundraising Prowess Has Hertzberg in Spotlight

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey, 7/30/04

In the early stages of the 2005 mayor's race, no one has been pulling in donations like Bob Hertzberg. With more than $700,000 in the bank, he has rocketed ahead of the other candidates challenging Hahn in the March election. The mayor is expected to report today that he had raised $2 million through the end of June.  Full story

There's a Reason for Sky-High DWP Bills

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 7/23/04

"... Dowie and Fleishman-Hillard were big political donors. Two years ago, for instance, Fleishman-Hillard ponied up $10,000 for its brass to dine with Hahn at an anti-secession fundraiser.  In the week that followed, Fleishman nabbed a $400,000 contract with the Harbor Commission, a $500,000 contract with the airport department and an $800,000 extension on its DWP contract..."  Full story

Dept. of Waste and Power

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 7/16/04

"It was bad enough to learn in April that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, a public monopoly with no discernible need for a public relations campaign, was shelling out $3 million a year to a PR company that charged $50 to $100 just to leave a telephone message..."  Full story

Panel Alleges Ethics Breach

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 7/13/04

The director of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission on Monday accused attorney Pierce O'Donnell and employees of his firm of laundering $25,500 in political contributions to Mayor James K. Hahn's 2001 election campaign.  Full story

Supervisor's Vote Draws Criticism

Los Angeles Times, by Hugo Martín, 6/29/04

San Bernardino County Supervisor Bill Postmus last week voted to approve a $77,000 contract for a charter school that employs his father and is run by a longtime friend and generous campaign donor.  Full story

Berkeley Advances on Public Financing

Contra Costa Times, by Martin Snapp, 6/12/04

The City Council took the penultimate step toward providing public funds to candidates in municipal elections, with the only remaining hurdle being approval by the voters in November.  If they say yes, Berkeley will become the first city in the country to publicly finance its elections. Maine and Arizona have previously adopted similar plans for statewide elections.   Full story

Hertzberg Leads Mayoral Challengers in Fundraising

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey, 6/3/04

Former Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg announced Wednesday that he had raised $200,000 in the race for mayor.  Mayor Hahn, who began his campaign in 2003, has raised more than $1.3 million. His challengers are only now beginning to raise funds for a race that is expected to cost millions of dollars.   Full story

Energetic Ethics Panel

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 6/2/04

"To a cynic, the rapidly multiplying investigations into City Hall campaign contributions are confirmation that Los Angeles government is hopelessly corrupt.... Yes, the sheer extent of the scrutiny signals that something could be seriously amiss. But it also shows that the city's Ethics Commission is alive, well and pushing hard for reform.?  Full story

Lawyers Hiring Lawyers

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 5/18/04

"Two-thirds of the law firms receiving contracts had donated to the political campaigns of Mayor James K. Hahn, City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo or both...  the public still expects politicians to avoid blatant conflicts of interest.  It's shocking to see how many of the contracts now at issue were awarded or extended without competitive bids being sought."  Full story

L.A.'s Outside Legal Bills Surge

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 5/17/04

Law firms and their attorneys have contributed $1.12 million since 1998 to candidates for city office and political committees they control.  Contracts were often approved or expanded by the city within weeks of a political fundraiser held by the benefiting law firm.  Full story

Election Panel Won't Impose New Spending Limits on Groups

New York Times, by Glen Justice, 5/13/04

The Federal Election Commission today refused, for now, to put limits on independent political groups that collect and spend millions in unlimited contributions, opening the way for advocacy groups supported by Democrats and Republicans to play a dramatic role in the 2004 elections.  Full story

Hahn's Donation Proposal Analyzed

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy and Noam N. Levey, 5/7/04

Mayor James K. Hahn's proposal to outlaw campaign contributions from contractors, lobbyists and developers with projects before the city would have eliminated 11% to 21% of the money donated to campaigns in 2001 and 2002, according to a Los Angeles Ethics Commission study released Thursday.  Full story

Mayor, Councilman Spar Over Probes

Los Angeles Times, by Jessica Garrison and Patrick McGreevy, 4/17/04

As county and federal prosecutors push ahead with probes into Los Angeles city government, Mayor James K. Hahn and Councilman Jack Weiss had a testy exchange Friday over whether the mayor had responded appropriately to the investigations.   Full story

Alice in DWP-Land

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 4/14/04

"What do the "pay-to-play" investigations swirling around Los Angeles' City Hall have to do with ordinary folks? Neighborhood councils last month started connecting the dots — all the way to taxpayers' wallets..."  Full story

U.S. Seeks E-Mails in City Probe

Los Angeles Times, by Jessica Garrison, 4/9/04

The U.S. attorney's office has served subpoenas at public-relations giant Fleishman-Hillard as part of its investigation into contracting practices in Los Angeles.   It has won contracts worth more than $20 million after Fleishman and its executives have contributed more than $135,000 to city candidates and political committees controlled by city elected officials.   Full story

Clear the Air Over LAX

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 4/6/04

"The widely held perception that the city's airport and other departments operate under a pay-to-play system is bad for the airport. It is bad for Los Angeles. And it is bad for citizens already cynical about government..."  Full story

Ethics Panel Urges More Reforms

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy,, 4/4/04

Despite recent reforms of Los Angeles' political finance laws, members of the city's Ethics Commission said Saturday there is more to be done to address concerns that city commissioners wield extraordinary power and special interests flood city races with unregulated dollars.  Full story

Firm Says It Lost LAX Bid by Not Donating

Los Angeles Times, by Ted Rohrlich, Ralph Frammolino and Jeffrey L. Rabin, 4/2/04

Executives of an engineering company working at Los Angeles International Airport have told federal prosecutors that the firm lost a multimillion-dollar contract because it refused to contribute $100,000 to the anti-secession campaign led by Mayor James K. Hahn.  Full story

The Mayor Pitches a Lob to His Critic

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 4/2/04

"In L.A., where literally billions of dollars are at stake, the temptation for shady deals is magnified. Until recently, Los Angeles allowed commissioners to solicit donations for the political bosses who appointed them, which was like an open invitation to corruption..."  Full story

City Debates Influence of Campaign Finances

San Mateo County Times, by Erin Sherbert, 3/24/04

Councilwoman Sue Lempert thinks it's time San Mateo reshape its political landscape, getting away from bitter elections, excessive donations and the potential for campaigns to be bought.  Lempert has asked her colleagues to pass an ordinance capping individual campaign donations to $250 and self-loans to $15,000.   Full story

Reforming Campaigns Isn't Easy

Contra Costa Times, by Martin Snapp, 3/19/04

The Berkeley City Council took the first tentative steps toward public financing of city elections -- accent on the tentative.  After heated debate, council members gave up hope of coming to a quick consensus, instead directing city staff to draw up a list of options for the council's April 27 meeting.  Full story

Campaign Limits May Face Repeal

Los Angeles Times, by Jean O. Pasco, 3/14/04

Orange County voters may be asked in November to repeal a groundbreaking political-reform law that for 25 years has restricted campaign donations to local candidates.  In the absence of the Orange County law, donations would be regulated by more generous state limits that allow, for instance, married couples to contribute 10 times as much.   Full story

Voters Could Decide on Election Funding

San Francisco Chronicle, by Patrick Hoge, 3/13/04

Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates wants to take a ballot measure to voters that would apparently make the East Bay city the nation's first to finance local campaigns entirely with public funds.  A divided city Fair Campaign Practices Commission endorsed the concept in October after holding five hearings on the subject.   Full story

Ethics Panel Skeptical on Hahn Rules

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 3/10/04

Mayor James K. Hahn's plan for new campaign finance rules ran into skepticism Tuesday from members of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission.  The commissioners said they wanted to determine whether the proposed rules were legal, to hear Hahn address their concerns and to discuss what their own role should be as enforcers of ethical conduct.  Full story

Airing Out a City Hall Stink

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 3/10/04

"City building inspectors recently shut down work on the Van Nuys Flyaway expansion until [Tutor-Saliba corp.] replaces substandard concrete and fixes misaligned columns on parking structures.  Company President Ronald N. Tutor, his employees and their spouses spent more than $214,000 on Hahn's 2001 election campaign and the 2002 Hahn-led campaign against San Fernando Valley secession..."
  Full story

Hahn's Ethics Plan Called Impractical

Los Angeles Daily News, by James Nash, 3/10/04

Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn has made several proposals to reform campaign financing in Los Angeles.  Hahn raised more than $1.3 million for his re-election bid in 2003.  The Center for Governmental Studies said the proposals "could restore some of the luster that L.A. has had in terms of its reputation as one of the most ethical cities in the nation."  Full story

Reader-Friendly Guide May Help Foster Understanding, Indignation

Los Angeles Daily News, by Mariel Garza, 3/7/04

"With that in mind, I've put together a reader-friendly guide to some of the terms and definitions used in news accounts of this emerging scandal. Pass them out to your friends and co-workers who think public corruption is a club on Melrose Avenue..."  Full story

Subpoena Power

Los Angeles Daily News, Editorial, 3/5/04

"It's amazing what a few well-placed subpoenas will do... Members of the council, not wanting to be caught on the wrong side of the reform debate, quickly rolled over on the ban on commissioner fund raising. And Hahn, one year away from a re-election bid, didn't want the taint of any more dirty money on his hands..."   Full story

City OKs Politics Reform Plan

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy and Jessica Garrison, 3/3/04

Against the backdrop of federal and local investigations into possible corruption in Los Angeles, the City Council voted Tuesday to prohibit city commissioners from raising campaign funds for local elected officials.   Full story

Fund-Raising Ban Won't Bring Reform

Los Angeles Daily News, by Julie Butcher, 3/2/04

"Personally, I support full public funding of all local elections, but I don't believe there's public support (or funds) for a "clean money" effort this year.  And as long as there's no constitutional way to stop a rich man from spending his own money to win an election, every campaign finance rule should work to level the playing field..."  Full story

Mayor's Reform Plan Is Getting a Cool Reception

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey, Patrick McGreevy and Jessica Garrison, 2/28/04

Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn unveiled his own sweeping plan to restrict local fundraising, lobbying and political giving.  Many questioned his sincerity since he has raised more than $1.3 million for his 2005 reelection campaign.  Myt few few reform advocates lauded his proposal.  Full story

Panel Votes to Ban Fundraising

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 2/11/04

Amid expanding investigations of potential corruption at City Hall, the Los Angeles Ethics Commission recommended Tuesday that members of city boards and commissions be prohibited from soliciting political contributions for elected officials.  Full story

Deputies Focus on Ousting Burke

Los Angeles Times, by Sue Fox, 2/9/04

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors manages a vast government with a $17.1-billion budget and nearly 93,000 employees.  Anyone hoping to take on a sitting Los Angeles County supervisor and win — a feat that hasn't been accomplished in 24 years — needs plenty of campaign cash and name recognition.  Full story

Deputies Focus on Ousting Burke

Los Angeles Times, by Sue Fox, 2/9/04

Sometimes dubbed the "five little kings," the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors manages a vast government with a $17.1-billion budget and nearly 93,000 employees.  Anyone hoping to take on a sitting Los Angeles County supervisor and win — a feat that hasn't been accomplished in 24 years — needs plenty of campaign cash and name recognition.  Full story

Union, City Attorney Clash Over Proposed Ban on Fundraising

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey, 2/6/04

Two of the city's most influential players weighed in on opposite sides of the proposed ban on fundraising by Los Angeles city commissioners Thursday, setting the stage for a highly contentious debate before the City Council.  Full story

Effort to Curb Fundraising Gets Attention

Los Angeles Times, by Noam N. Levey and Patrick McGreevy, 1/31/04

More than six years after a proposal to ban fundraising by Los Angeles city commissioners collapsed before an unsympathetic City Council, those pushing change appear to be gaining momentum in their efforts to limit the influence of money in City Hall.   Full story

Local Election Reforms Pay Off

Los Angeles Times, by Catherine Saillant and Daryl Kelley, 1/23/04

Strict contribution limits for Ventura County supervisorial candidates have evened out fundraising for the March 2 primary campaign, finance reports released Thursday show.  But Republican candidates vying for an open Assembly seat, unrestricted by such rules, have already raised more than $1 million in one of the most expensive primary campaigns in California.   Full story

Hahn Campaign Raises $1.3 Million

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy and Jessica Garrison, 1/23/04

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn reported Thursday that, more than a year before the March 2005 vote, his reelection campaign has raised $1.3 million — an amount that his supporters hope will scare away any potential challengers.   Full story

S.D. Panel Rejects Effort to Change Campaign Funding

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Ray Huard, 1/22/04

Public financing of San Diego election campaigns was narrowly rejected by a City Council committee yesterday, but the idea isn't dead.  Under the Ethics Commission proposal for voluntary public financing, council candidates could receive matching funds of up to $300 for every $150 in contributions they receive.  Full story

3 Top Ballot Races Drawing Big Money

Los Angeles Times, by Hugo Martín, 1/21/04

There will be hard-fought primary campaigns to replace two state assemblymen and a county supervisor who resigned under a cloud of scandal in San Bernardino County.  Campaign finance statements filed last week show that several candidates already have amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign funds   Full story

Publicly Financed Elections Proposed

Berkeley Daily Planet, by J. Douglas Allen-Taylor, 1/20/04

Berkeley could become the first city in the nation with public financing of local elections if voters approve the proposal supported by Mayor Tom Bates and at least two city councilmembers for the November ballot.   Full story

Lobbyists Now Have Lobbyists

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 1/8/04

With city officials weighing plans to limit the influence of lobbyists at City Hall, 20 legislative advocates said Wednesday that they had formed the Los Angeles Lobbyist and Public Affairs Assn. to advance their interests with government policymakers.  Full story

Campaign-Finance Rule Fails

Los Angeles Times, by Jean O. Pasco, 1/7/04

A provision of Orange County's political reform law that bars transferring money into a county campaign account from another campaign fund was declared unconstitutional Tuesday by a Superior Court judge.  Full story

Council to Study Ethics Proposals

Los Angeles Times, by Jessica Garrison, 1/7/04

Concerned about the appearance of impropriety at City Hall, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to study proposals that would ban city commissioners from political fundraising or evaluating contractors within their purview.  Some worry that the plans could become buried in the bureaucracy.   Full story

Committee To Take Another Look At Plan

San Diego Union-Tribune, by Ray Huard, 1/5/04

A proposal to rewrite San Diego's 30-year-old campaign fund-raising law will get a further look this month from a City Council committee.   The Ethics Commission proposal also would provide for voluntary public financing of candidates, using taxpayer funds to match contributions raised by candidates.  Full story

Indicted Donors Gave to Council

Los Angeles Times, by Nicholas Riccardi, 12/23/03

Contractors accused of conspiring with an executive of a major development company to make illegal campaign contributions to four politicians also donated to a majority of the Los Angeles City Council, as well as to a powerful Los Angeles County supervisor, campaign records show.  Full story

City Gets C Grade in Curbing Powers of Big Corporations

Los Angeles Daily News, by James Nash, 12/23/03

Corporations in Los Angeles have too much power to promote their brands on public facilities, pollute the environment and control what people see and hear in the media, according to a report card released Tuesday by a group critical of corporate excesses.  Full story

Chick to Push for Reform of City's Ethics Laws

Los Angeles Times, by Jessica Garrison, 12/19/03

Days after warning of "potential illegal acts" in connection with the Los Angeles airport department, Controller Laura Chick said Thursday that she would push to reform the city's ethics laws to prevent city commissioners from raising or giving money for political campaigns.   Full story

Apolitical Ads Look Mighty Partisan

San Francisco Chronicle, by John Wildermuth, Rachel Gordon, 12/5/03

A diverse selection of party groups, advocacy organizations and special interests are pumping their own money -- and ferocious attack ads -- into the contest for San Francisco's mayor.  The independent expenditures don't explicitly tell people how to vote, but attack one candidate or another based on the "issues".  Full story

Donor Tells of Campaign Gifts

Los Angeles Times, by Anna Gorman and Patrick McGreevy, 12/3/03

A termite contractor made $10,000 in illegal contributions to a Los Angeles mayoral candidate after an executive in a prominent real estate firm solicited the donation, according to transcripts of Los Angeles County Grand Jury testimony reviewed Tuesday by The Times.  Full story

Villaraigosa to Pay $5,100 in Ethics Fines

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 12/3/03

Los Angeles City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa has agreed to pay $5,100 in fines to the city Ethics Commission after acknowledging that his 2001 mayoral campaign violated campaign finance laws.  Full story

Campaign Finance Probe Targets L.A. Developer

Los Angeles Times, by Anna Gorman and Patrick McGreevy, 11/25/03

Alan Casden, one of the most successful real estate developers in Southern California, is the target of an investigation into the alleged laundering of campaign contributions to four politicians, including the Los Angeles city attorney and two members of the City Council, Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley said Monday.   Full story

Public Office: No Place for a 'For Sale' Sign

Los Angeles Times, by Jim Davy, 11/16/03

"Public financing seems to be the only effective way to counteract special-interest domination of election campaigns... Thus, many of us join you and the Clean Money Campaign in urging the state to yank the for-sale signs in California — both regionally and locally."  Full story

Air District May Impose Heavy Fees

Los Angeles Times, by Mark Arax, 11/10/03

The San Joaquin Valley, now the smog capital of the nation, is daring to do something that no other major region in California has done: impose hefty fees on new houses, strip malls and distribution centers to offset their effects on the air.  Other air districts have declined to impose the mitigation fee is a reluctance to take on powerful builders and developers.   Full story

Ethics Fines With No Sting

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 11/6/03

"Mayor James K. Hahn held a fund-raiser in September to cover his $53,522 campaign finance fine for improper fund-raising activities... the fund-raisers soften the sting of the law. The Ethics Commission should bar them. Fines for accepting contributions above the $1,000 limit, like tickets for running red lights, are meant to be punitive..."   Full story

Let's See If Cooley Can Hit One Out of the Park This Time

Los Angeles Times, by Steve Lopez, 10/24/03

"This was potentially about who owns whom at City Hall and at the L.A. County Board of Supervisors, among other places. It was a window into a world in which public officials hand out jobs and contracts like Christmas presents under pressure from shady operators with fat checkbooks.  It was about the rip-off of taxpayers."   Full story

How D.A.'s Office Failed to Follow Up on Graft Allegations

Los Angeles Times, by Ralph Frammolino, Nicholas Riccardi and Ted Rohrlich, 10/23/03

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office missed a rare opportunity to plumb back-room patronage and deal-making when it shut down a corruption investigation earlier this year without fully exploring allegations that an influential lobbyist had engaged in bribery and other wrongdoing.   Full story

Cooley Upbeat on His Bid to Keep D.A. Job

Los Angeles Times, by Anna Gorman, 10/23/03

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley has raised more than $710,000 for his reelection campaign.  Critics contend that Cooley has not fulfilled basic campaign promises and has not been an aggressive leader. Political consultants say Cooley will very likely succeed unless a strong opponent jumps in and raises a lot of money quickly.    Full story

Laguna Beach May Triple Donor Limit

Los Angeles Times, by Jean O. Pasco, 10/18/03

Laguna Beach City Council members will vote Tuesday on tripling the city's campaign contribution limit from $250 to $750, the first increase since the city ordinance was adopted in 1994.  The boost is needed so candidates can compete with opposition by committees that are independent of candidates and have no spending limits, argued Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman.  The Laguna Beach proposal irks Mayor Toni Iseman, who said such a large increase is unnecessary.  Full story

Hahn's Eat-and-Get-Fat Diet

Los Angeles Times, Editorial, 10/9/03

"Please join City Planning Commission Chair Mitch Minzer and me for an intimate luncheon with Mayor James Hahn.

— City Hall lobbyist Steven Afriat to business owners who gave $1,000 to L.A. Mayor James K. Hahn's reelection campaign.

P.S. RSVP to my secretary.

Bzzzzzzzzzzzz. "Mr. Afriat? The City Council Budget Committee wants to meet with the mayor, but they don't have $1,000 for lunch. I guess things are tight. Can they come if they just have coffee? No?..."  Full story

It's the Best $1,000 Lunch in Town

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 10/6/03

All sorts of business people take lobbyists' advice and shell out the money to dine with Mayor Hahn. It's all about access, they say.  "It's no secret that making campaign contributions helps get access," said City Hall lobbyist Steven Afriat.  Full story

Newsom Rakes in $450,000 Since July 1

San Francisco Chronicle, by Patrick Hoge, 9/27/03

Supervisor Gavin Newsom extended his fund-raising lead over his competition in the San Francisco mayor's race, pulling in more than $450,000 since July 1 and raising his total take to $2 million, new campaign disclosure reports show.  Several contributions to the Newsom campaign are from companies and individuals who do business with the city and lobby City Hall officials.   Full story

Bustamante Ruling Has Implications

Los Angeles Times, by Jean O. Pasco, 9/25/03

A court ruling this week barring Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante from collecting political contributions that exceed state law sent a chill through some campaigns in Orange County, where a similar lawsuit accuses a local assemblyman of violating the county's strict campaign ordinance by transferring   Full story

Delgadillo Broke Campaign Laws, Ethics Panel Says

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 9/19/03

The Los Angeles Ethics Commission alleged Thursday that City Atty. Rocky Delgadillo's 2001 campaign violated state and city campaign finance laws.  The allegations come as the Ethics Commission conducts routine audits of campaigns in the 2001 city election. Earlier this month, Mayor James K. Hahn agreed to pay $54,522 in fines to settle similar allegations.   Full story

Publicist Is Fined for Illegal Donations in Perris Campaign

Los Angeles Times, by Janet Wilson, 9/12/03

A San Diego publicist laundered thousands of dollars' worth of campaign contributions to candidates for the Perris City Council and mayor's office while representing a major Southern California developer that wanted to build large housing projects in Perris, state authorities said.
  Full story

Campaign Against Westwood Project Builds

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy, 8/30/03

Activists try to put pressure on Councilman Jack Weiss to block a $100-million high-rise development in Westwood.  Opponents say that the complex would be too big and too high, that it would worsen the area's traffic congestion and parking shortage.  Weiss has received 78 political contributions totaling $32,300 from consultants, attorneys, lobbyists and subcontractors for Alan Casden.   Full story

Donation or Bribe? Case May Clarify the Line

Los Angeles Times, by Tony Perry and Anna Gorman, 8/30/03

As three San Diego City Council members were arraigned on federal corruption charges Friday, legal analysts agreed that the case involves one of the murkiest areas of law: When does a political contribution become a bribe?   Full story

3 Councilmen in San Diego Indicted

Los Angeles Times, by Tony Perry and Anna Gorman, 8/29/03

Three members of the San Diego City Council were indicted Thursday for allegedly taking illegal campaign contributions from the owner of a nude-dancing establishment in exchange for loosening restrictions.  A defense lawyers says "everything Michael did was normal and standard. It happens every day between elected officials and lobbyists."   Full story

Incumbents in Trouble With Union

Los Angeles Times, by Catherine Saillant, 8/1/03

Mounting a $161,000 political war chest for next year's Board of Supervisors race, the union representing Ventura County sheriff's deputies will back candidates who support public safety "not just in words but in action," a labor official said Thursday.   Full story

Lobbyists Prepare to Fight L.A. Proposals

Los Angeles Times, by Patrick McGreevy and Jessica Garrison, 7/16/03

Lobbyists at Los Angeles City Hall, outraged about proposals for tough new ethics rules affecting their business, said Tuesday that the time has come for them to lobby on behalf of themselves....  LeeAnn Pelham, executive director of the Ethics Commission, said she was concerned about the lobbyists' efforts to scuttle the lobbyist ordinance.   Full story

Mayor's Fund-Raiser Got Millions

San Francisco Chronicle, by Lance Williams and Patrick Hoge, 7/13/03

Carolyn Carpeneti, Mayor Willie Brown's fund-raiser and mother of his 2-year-old daughter, has been paid at least $2.33 million over the past five years by nonprofit groups and political committees controlled by the mayor and his allies, public records show.   Full story

Campaign reform or incumbent insurance?

Santa Clarita Signal, by Opinion, 7/13/03

"[The Santa Clarity city council] voted unanimously on Tuesday to take the first step toward hiking the limit from its present $250, per person, per election cycle, to $1,000 per person, per election cycle....  With all due respect to Councilman Ferry, we believe his logic is flawed.... Who is more likely to know a large number of people willing to part with $1,000 to donate to a Santa Clarita City Council campaign?  The little guy?  Or, the big guy?"   Full story

If Council Cleans Up Act, L.A. Voters Will Come

Los Angeles Daily News, by James Bennett Saxon, 6/11/03

"Perhaps it's not so clear to some on our council why voters don't vote. ... The voters are waiting for our damaged system to be repaired. ... Get money, especially outsider money, out of politics. Support fair campaigns. Support ethical elections. Then, council members, your votes will come."   Full story

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