Santa Monica, CA — Governor Schwarzenegger’s plan to call a special election for November of this year is an attempt to evade campaign finance laws that would prohibit the governor from raising unlimited funds and appearing in campaign advertisements for his ballot measures in 2006, said the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) in a letter sent yesterday. The special election will cost taxpayers between $40 and $70 million.
“A governor who ran for office on a platform of limiting the influence of money in politics should not be calling a special election to evade current campaign finance limitations,” wrote FTCR. “An election crafted to get around campaign finance laws would be any politician’s dream, but it is a nightmare for taxpayers who should not be forced to pick up the bill.”
The Political Reform Act (section 85310) states that any committee which runs political advertisements featuring a candidate for office within 45 days of an election cannot accept campaign contributions above $25,000 from any one person. The ballot measure committee, Citizens to Save California, was formed to promote the governor’s agenda at the ballot. Under a Fair Political Practices Commission regulation (18531.10), if Citizens to Save California accepts more than $25,000 from any one person, the governor would be barred from appearing in the group’s television advertisements during the month and a half before the next election in which he appears on the ballot — the June 2006 gubernatorial primary. The governor is pushing a 2005 election to avoid that campaign law and raise unlimited funds.
“A close examination of campaign finance laws suggests the biggest reason for a 2005 special election is your desire to evade campaign finance laws that prohibit you from appearing in television advertisements by committees that do not accept campaign finance limits,” said the letter. “Your duty to the people of California is to be a responsible steward of our tax dollars. We urge you to call off the special election.”