Patt Morrison for May 11, 2010

Debating Proposition 15 and the future of publicly financed elections

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The state may allow for publicly funded campaigns

In a time of increasing awareness of the roll of money in political campaigns, Proposition 15 is a proposal for the fairly radical notion of publicly financed elections but through measured, incremental steps. Prop. 15 would repeal the ban on public funding of political campaigns in California, and as a first step it creates a voluntary system for candidates for the office of Secretary of State to qualify for a public campaign grant if they agree to limitations on spending and private contributions. Funding for Secretary of State race would come from an increased fee on the lobbyists doing business in California. Would Prop. 15 radically alter the fiscal landscape of California’s elections? Probably not at first, but the eventual effects might be dramatic, as cities, counties and the state government could be free to experiment with using taxpayer dollars to fund campaigns. How does Prop. 15 play into the larger debate of campaign finance reform?

Guests:

Trent Lange, campaign chair of the Yes on 15 campaign; President of the Board of Directors of the California Clean Money Campaign

Richard Wiebe, partner at public affairs firm Schubert-Flint; organizers of the Stop 15 campaign

James Sutton, attorney specializing in political, election & non-profit law and head The Sutton Law Firm

LeeAnn Pelham, executive director of the Los Angeles City Ethics Commission


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