MEMBERS: COUNCILMEMBER HERB J. WESSON, JR., CHAIR COUNCILMEMBER JOSE HUIZAR COUNCILMEMBER MARQUEECE HARRIS-DAWSON
(Richard Williams - Legislative Assistant - (213) 978-1071 or email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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address listed above. The Legislative Assistant may answer questions and provide materials and notice of matters scheduled before the City Council. Sign Language Interpreters, Communication Access Real-Time Transcription (CART), Assistive Listening Devices, or other auxiliary aids and/or services may be provided upon request. To ensure availability, you are advised to make your request at least 72 hours prior to the meeting/event you wish to attend. Due to difficulties in securing Sign Language Interpreters, five or more business days notice is strongly recommended. For additional information, please contact the Legislative Assistant listed above.
Motion (Ryu - Krekorian - Buscaino - Koretz) relative to a request to the City Ethics Commission to draft an ordinance and report on the implications
of increasing the matching funds rate in both primary and general elections for all candidates who qualify for matching funds, and report on whether the maximum per-contribution matches in Section. 49.7.27 of the Campaign Finance Ordinance should be revised to cap matches at lower levels; and, an instruction to the City Administrative Officer to report on the impacts these changes may have on the City's General Fund.
City Ethics Commission (CEC) report and City Attorney report and Ordinance relative to amending the Los Angeles Municipal Code to revise Matching
Fund Regulations; and consideration of CEC proposed amendments to the Campaign Finance Ordinance regarding the Matching Funds Program. (TIME LIMIT FILE - OCTOBER 20, 2018; LAST DAY FOR COUNCIL ACTION - OCTOBER 19, 2018)
Fiscal Impact Statement Submitted: No. Community Impact Statement: None submitted.
ITEM NO. (4) 18-0002-S120
Resolution (Wesson - Ryu - O'Farrell), and Chief Legislative Analyst (CLA) to report, relative to including in the City's 2017-18 State Legislative
Program, support for Proposition 4, the Children s Hospital Bonds Initiative, which would authorize 1.5 billion in bonds for the construction, expansion, renovation, and equipping of children s hospitals in California.
If you challenge this Committee's action(s) in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public
hearing described in this notice, or in written correspondence delivered to the City Clerk at or prior to, the public hearing. Any written correspondence delivered to the City Clerk before the City Council's final action on a matter will become a part of the administrative record.
Vote centers will replace polling places and will be open for ten days leading up to, and including, election day. From ten days to four days before
the election, there will be one vote center for every 30,000 registered voters within Los Angeles County (which currently has approximately 5,130,957 active registered voters); approximately 171 vote centers. For the remaining three days, including election day, there will be one vote center for every 7,500 registered voters, approximately 700 vote centers throughout the County.
The City s voters are accustomed to having convenient, local polling places; on average, the City Clerk provides 1,000 polling locations throughout
the City. The number of voting locations for the City will decrease dramatically as the LA CC/RR will need to distribute 171 voting centers (ten to four days out from Election Day) and 700 voting centers (three days out to Election Day) among multiple cities in a large geographic area.
As prescribes by SB 450, selection of voting locations will involve a great deal of community input and will include many factors, such as
accessibility, proximity to public transit, security, and convenience. The LA CC/RR has contracted with PlaceWorks to facilitate the Vote Center Placement Project (VCPP). They will seek input from the community, participating jurisdictions, community based organizations, and universities, to name some of the participants. After gathering input and conducting assessments, the company will identify and select the vote center locations. Community meetings are scheduled to begin this summer and continue into 2019.
Since the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the amount of money being spent to influence political
campaigns has sharply increased. Absent a new court ruling, or a constitutional amendment, the City has limited authority to regulate outside spending from moneyed special interests. One of the most effective counterbalances to this unregulated and unaccountable spending, would be to increase the influence of small dollar donations by increasing the rate at which the city provides public matching funds.
The Matching Funds Trust Fund, as envisioned in the City Charter, is intended to reduce the power of moneyed special interests in elections by
ensuring qualified candidates will receive enough funding, through public financing, to allow their voices to be heard. At our current rates of match, public funding is not bolstering small dollar donors at the level necessary to ensure qualified candidates can get their message to voters, and the Matching Funds Trust Fund is being replenished at a rate significantly faster than it is being used.
WE THEREFORE MOVE that the Ethics Commission be requested to prepare and present an ordinance and report on the implications of increasing the
matching fund rates from the current 2:1 match in primary elections and 4:1 match in general elections to 6:1 in both primary elections and general elections for all candidates who qualify for matching funds.
The recommended changes to ordinance language are provided in Attachment E (clean version) and Attachment F (redline version). Additional detail,
including written public com ments, can also be found in the staff reports for the Ethics Commission meetings in February, April, June, and August of 2018. The staff reports are online at ethics.lacity.org/meetings/ archives/.
Several factors led to this review. First, the voters adopted a change to the City s election cycle, which will move City elections to even-numbered
years. The first of these elections will be held in 2020, and there is some uncertainty about the ability of City candidates to raise sufficient campaign funds when competing with state and federal candidates.
Second, the 2015 and 2017 elections represent the first complete election cycle to fully incorporate the current requirements of the matching funds
program. As a result, data regarding the existing program is now available for analysis. Finally, the review addresses two City Council motions that were introduced last year regarding the matching funds program. See Council File Nos. 15-1088-S1, 17-0058.
As with every Ethics Commission policy review, these recommendations reflect many months of discussion across disciplines within the agency. The
Ethics Commission has analyzed data, considered previous recommendations, evaluated experiences with the existing program, and examined laws in other jurisdictions. More information about the jurisdictions surveyed in this review is provided in Attachment A.
The Ethics Commission s recommendations affect both the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) and regulations in the Los Angeles Administrative Code
(LAAC). The Los Angeles City Charter (Charter) establishes specific procedures for regulations adopted by the Ethics Commission. The regulations are subject to City Council approval but cannot be modified. Charter 703(a). In addition, a public hearing must be held, and action to approve or disapprove must be taken within 60 days of the date the Ethics Commission adopts the recommendations. Charter 703(b). The Ethics Commission adopted the recommendations on August 21, 2018; and the 60-day deadline is, therefore, October 19, 2018.
In 1990, City voters created a voluntary program to provide limited public funding to the campaigns of qualified City candidates (the program does
not extend to candidates for the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education). The goals of the matching funds program include helping candidates raise enough money to communicate their views without requiring excessive fundraising, limiting campaign spending, increasing the value of smaller contributions, making elections more competitive, and helping avoid the appearance of corruption that can occur when financial ties exist between elected officials and special interests. Charter 471(a)(2). The 1993 elections were the first in which matching funds were distributed to qualified candidates.
To fund the program, the City is required to make a minimum appropriation to the Public Matching Funds Trust Fund (the trust fund) each year, unless
a fiscal emergency is declared. Charter 471(c). The trust fund is used to make matching funds payments to qualified candidates. The appropriation to the trust fund changes each year, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), and the total appropriation this fiscal year is 3,265,683. The balance of the trust fund is projected to be approximately 19,707,000 at the end of the fiscal year on June 30, 2019.
File all required campaign statements. Limit personal and campaign spending to specific amounts. Receive 200 qualified contributions from individuals
who reside in their City Council district (or, for Citywide candidates, the City). Receive minimum amounts of qualified contributions, depending on the office sought ( 25,000 for City Council; 75,000 for Controller or City Attorney; 150,000 for Mayor). Agree to participate in debates.
The match rate depends on the number of valid signatures the candidate obtains during the nominating petition process. If a candidate collects 500
valid signatures, the match rate is one public dollar for every qualified private dollar (1:1) in both the primary election and the general election. If a candidate collects 1,000 valid signatures, the match rate is two public dollars for every qualified private dollar (2:1) in the primary election and four public dollars for every qualified private dollar (4:1) in the general election. LAMC 49.7.27(B)-(C).
In its assessment of the matching funds program, the Ethics Commission compared the public financing programs in a variety of cities. Five California
cities have matching funds programs: Berkeley, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Sacramento (not funded since 2011), and San Francisco. In addition, Oakland has a public financing program that reimburses qualified campaign expenditures made by its city council candidates.
The goals of the in-district contribution requirement are to encourage interaction between candidates and constituents and to establish a candidate s
public support. However, because each district has its own economic realities, it may be more difficult for candidates in some districts to obtain 200 in-district contributions.
In addition, the Ethics Commission found that a 200-contribution requirement tends to be burdensome for candidates and to affect staff processing
times. Since the 2011 elections, the number of contributions submitted and the amount of staff time required to verify each claim for matching funds have both increased dramatically. For example, from 2011 to 2015 (two election cycles in which the same seats were on the ballot), the total number of contributions submitted increased by 166 percent, and the time required to verify an average claim increased by 814 percent. This increase results because more contributions are being submitted and because it takes more time to verify individual addresses.
The Ethics Commission considered data about the geographic sources of City contributions and found that most contributions come from within the City.
Since 2011, City contributions have ranged from 53 to 61 percent. Contributions from within Los Angeles County (including the City) have been even more consistent, ranging from 84 to 87 percent. Contributions from outside the county have not exceeded 16 percent since 2011, and those from outside the state have been either five percent or seven percent, depending on whether the Citywide seats are on the ballot. This data is summarized in the chart on the next page.
The Ethics Commission also looked at contribution requirements in other jurisdictions. While no other California city requires in-district
contributions, several do require in-city contributions. For example, San Francisco requires mayoral candidates to collect 500 (non incumbent) or 750 (incumbent) contributions from city residents, and it requires board of supervisor candidates to collect 100 (non-incumbent) or 150 (incumbent) contributions from city residents. In Berkeley, candidates must obtain 30 contributions from city residents.
Outside the state, in-district contributions are required. Seattle requires city council candidates to receive 150 in-city contributions, 75 of which
must be in-district. Their city attorney candidates must receive 150 in-city contributions, and their at-large city council candidates must receive 400 in-city contributions. In New York City, city council candidates must receive at least 75 in-district contributions, and borough president candidates must receive at least 100 in-borough contributions. New York s mayoral candidates must receive at least 1,000 in-city contributions, and its other citywide candidates must receive at least 500 in-city contributions.
When a candidate wants to qualify for and receive public funds, the candidate must submit a Form 22 (Matching Funds Request for Qualification / Claim
for Payment) and list all contributions being submitted for qualification or payment purposes. The law currently requires candidates to list their in-district contributions separately. LAAC 24.32(b)(2)(A)(iii). However, a separate list has never been required or necessary, because the Form 22 includes a spreadsheet with a column for identifying the in-district contributions.
Another qualification criterion requires candidates to agree to participate in one debate with opponents in the primary election and two debates with
the opponent in the general election. LAMC 49.7.23(C)(6). This requirement has existed since the inception of the matching funds program in 1993 and requires only that candidates agree to participate. The Ethics Commission recommends an amendment that would require candidates to actually participate in a debate or conduct a town hall meeting. See proposed LAMC 49.7.23; proposed LAAC 24.31(11), 24.32(a)(3)(B).
This qualification requirement is designed to help ensure that candidates engage with the public and that the public is aware of a candidate s views
on important issues. However, in order to avoid a scenario in which a non-participating candidate could prevent a participating candidate from receiving public funds simply by refusing to engage in a debate, actual participation has never been required.
As mentioned above in Section B.1, public funds are paid to qualified candidates at rates that are based on how many signatures the candidate gathers
from registered voters during the nominating petition process. With 500 signatures, a candidate receives a 1:1 match rate in both primary and general elections. With 1,000 signatures, a candidate receives a 2:1 match rate in the primary election and a 4:1 match rate in the general election. This first became effective with the 2015 elections. Prior to that, all qualified candidates received the same 1:1 rate of match in every election.
To qualify for the ballot, candidates are required to demonstrate public support by obtaining at least 500 valid signatures from registered voters.
Further public support is demonstrated through the in-district contribution requirement. As a result, the Ethics Commission does not believe an additional signature requirement is necessary to demonstrate that a candidate has sufficient public support to justify the receipt of public funds. In addition,