Citizen Group Declares California Needs Kickback Protections
Citizen volunteers with the Oaks Project denounced Governor Davis’ receipt of campaign contributions from a firm he recently awarded a state contract to consult on the energy crisis. The Oaks Project challenged the State Legislature to adopt strong anti-kickback provisions, modeled on those enacted over the past year as citizen initiatives in cities across California, that would have prevented the Governor’s receipt of campaign contributions from a company he awarded taxpayer money.
Governor Davis accepted $9,000 in campaign contributions from Deloitte & Touche on April 23, just over a month after his March 19 announcement that he had hired the consulting firm. Deloitte & Touche did not donate to the Governor the previous year.
“Was there a trade between the Governor and Deloitte & Touche?” questioned Carmen Balber, Director of the Oaks Project. “The public is sure to think so, and that appearance cannot be tolerated. Taxpayer money should spent to further the public good, not to line a politician’s campaign chest. The anti-kickback law we propose would give the public that necessary ounce of prevention.”
Oaks Project volunteers campaigned over the last year to pass the reform as citizen’s initiatives in five California cities: San Francisco, Santa Monica, Pasadena, Claremont and Vista. Oaks Project members collected nearly 70,000 all-volunteer signatures to put the initiatives on the ballot. Locales across California have begun to express interest in adopting similar provisions.
“It’s time the Legislature adopted safeguards to ensure there is no quid pro quo between politicians and the people they award taxpayer money,” stated Valerie Rodriguez, Oaks Project volunteer. “The overwhelming success of our initiatives proves that Californians want this reform. If our lawmakers don’t listen, citizens may have to take to the streets and put a statewide initiative on the ballot to do it ourselves.”
The measure proposed by the Oaks Project would prevent a public official from accepting campaign contributions, gifts or employment from entities that receive a public benefit, for instance, a state contract.