Establishes default campaign contributions limits of $4700 for local city and county elections
Contact: Susan Kennedy
916-319-2022 (W) 925-437-2510 (C)
Sacramento – Until today, California was one of the very few states to have state campaign contribution limits, but no state required local limits. That changed when Governor Newsom signed AB 571, by Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin.
“AB 571 is focused, flexible legislation that establishes default campaign contribution limits of $4700.00 for cities and counties that have not adopted their own limits,” Speaker pro Tem Mullin stated. “This is the same individual contribution limit we are bound by in the State Assembly and Senate.”
While state law established contribution limits for candidates running for state office, there were no contribution limits in place for candidates running for local office in 78 percent of the cities and 72 percent of the counties in California. Without a local government adopting its own campaign contribution limits, literally any amount could be contributed directly to a candidate running for local office. Jurisdictions adopting their own contribution limits, whether higher or lower, would not be subject to the default limit.
“AB 571 will fix a big loophole in our campaign finance laws that allow wealthy special interests to give six-figure campaign contributions to city councilmembers,” said Rey Lopez-Calderon, Executive Director of California Common Cause. “Contribution limits force candidates to reach out to more of their neighbors to fund their campaigns, which promotes more representative and accountable officeholders. Candidates for local office should not be funded by just a few mega-contributions from the mega-wealthy.”
“Keeping big money out of local elections is a win for representative democracy and the people of California,” said Dora Rose, Deputy Director of the League of Women Voters of California. ”Setting a reasonable contribution limit, that could be changed up or down by local voters, puts the interests of ordinary Californians ahead of the donor class.”
“As a result of AB 571, California is enacting local campaign contribution limits for the first time,” Mullin stated. “I also want to stress that AB 571 maintains complete local control and a local jurisdiction can opt out at any time by enacting their own contribution limits. I believe this is a good governance measure that will help maintain the public trust in our local elections.”