Clean Money and Politics

By Sara Nichols, Letter to the Editor

Re "Democrats' flood failure," editorial, April 27: The Bee got it right in tracing the dollars from the banking industry to the members of the Assembly banking committee. But it should add the solution: the California Clean Money bill, AB 583 (Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley). The Clean Money bill would create a publicly financed system of elections, which would allow candidates for state offices to run "clean," taking no money from special interests, and instead collecting a set number of signatures and $5 contributions from people in their districts to qualify for public elections funds.

One little-known attribute of the current system is that legislators who represent districts with large numbers of low-income people and very few frequent voters tend to look outside the district for campaign funding. There's precious little of it in their districts. As a result, legislators from these districts often become overly beholden to wealthy special interests.

AB 583, up for a vote May 3 in the Senate Elections Committee, needs the votes of Sens. Kevin Murray (D-Los Angeles) and Gloria Romero (D-Los Angeles), who represent precisely such districts. Let's hope they recognize the liberating power of public financing of elections and vote to pass the bill.

Sara Nichols, Sacramento

See the article on Sacramento Bee website

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