UPDATE: After receiving clarification from the FPPC, Consumer Watchdog’s concerns
about public disclosure under the new regulations were eliminated. All
new information concerning ballot measure spending will be available
in online reports to the public.
Santa Monica, California — Consumer Watchdog applauded new rules approved by the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) today that require candidates to justify how they spend the often 6 and 7-figure contributions they raise into ballot measure committees, and restricts that spending to actual ballot initiatives.
“Candidate ballot measure committees now engage in the kind of Wild West spending that voters thought they eliminated when they approved limits on campaign contributions. The new rules clamp down on these unregulated political slush funds and will require candidates to spend ballot measure funds on actual ballot measures,” said Carmen Balber with Consumer Watchdog.
The regulations require candidates to spend funds raised for ballot measure committees on ballot measure advocacy, and to identify each expenditure with a specific measure or measures. The rules would not allow candidates to spend funds from these committees on lobbying activities unrelated to ballot measures. Governor Schwarzenegger’s “Dream Team” ballot measure committee, for example, has spent millions that were not identified with any initiative. According to filings with the Secretary of State, the “Dream Team” spent $4.9 million between January and June of 2008 but directed just $2.4 million to an initiative, Proposition 11. Committee expenditures during that time frame included hundreds of thousands of dollars to “Executive Jet Management” for the governor’s private plane.
Read Consumer Watchdog’s letters to the Fair Political Practices Commission here: