Over the last few days, we've spend a lot of time talking about the great bills that were signed, and those that were vetoed. But because of the Dem-tilt to the Legislature we rarely get real stinkers passing and heading to the Governor's desk. Well, congratulations Legislators, you let a real stinker move. So, without further ado, I give you the freshly minted California law formerly known as AB 1430 (Leg. Analysts's Summary): (Bill info here)
Existing law provides that, for the purposes of contribution limits imposed by the Political Reform Act of 1974, payments for communications to an organization's members, employees, shareholders, or their family members, to support or oppose a candidate or ballot measure are not contributions or expenditures if not made for general public advertisements, such as broadcasting, billboards, or newspaper ads. However, existing law requires that payments by a political party for communications to registered party members that would otherwise qualify as contributions or expenditures be reported in accordance with provisions governing the filing of periodic campaign reports, and governing the filing of reports online or electronically with the Secretary of State.
Existing law provides that the Political Reform Act does not nullify contribution limitations or prohibitions of any local jurisdiction that apply to elections for local elective office, except the limitations and prohibitions may not conflict with these provisions regulating payments for communications.
This bill would provide that certain restrictions and limitations by a local jurisdiction on payments for a member communication, as defined, would conflict with these provisions and would be prohibited..
So, basically, this would effectively neuter local campaign finance law. It's a little blurry about that, but once you think about it for a while, you realize that's what it does. It allows you to fundraise for some organization and then funnel money around in such a way as to create a loophole on local legislation that would blow away any rules.
I would like to be able to say that at least some Dems put up a fight on this, but ultimately, few did. It passed the Assembly unanimously, and only 9 senators (Alquist, Florez, Kuehl, Lowenthal, Migden, Scott, Simitian, Steinberg, and Yee) voted against it. In defense of the Assembly folks, this bill was passed under the nose of the Common Cause, etc type of groups with no objection raised. As for the Senators? No such excuse can be made, Clean Money Campaign blasted the bill before the Senate vote, yet 16 Dem Senators voted for it. And then, of course, Arnold signed it. Hooray for democracy!