On Thursday the Los Angeles Ethics Commission announced that they will be seeking to boost the amount of campaign money candidates running for city offices can receive from public funding.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the commission has recommend that the city match up to six dollars for every dollar a candidate raises in primary elections. Presently, the city matches up to four dollars for candidates vying for office in two-way runoffs in general elections.
The increase in the matching dollar amount, according to Jessica Levinson, vice president of the commission and a professor at Loyola Law School, will give candidates more time to speak to the issues and less time that they have to spend on raising money. Levinson feels that the less time “money controls the game” the better. “You want to allow people to talk to constituents, not just donors, and I think that increasing the match will reduce the amount of time you have to spend fundraising,” Levinson said.
Aside from having to limit the amount of money candidates contribute to their own campaigns, they have to agree to debate their competitors in order to qualify for the matching funds. Moreover, according to The Times, candidates have to reach a certain threshold of funds before they can receive money from the city: $25,000 for council candidates, $75,000 for controller and city attorney candidates, and $150,000 for mayoral candidates.
Money Out Voters In, which opposes the latest Supreme Court decision granting donors unlimited aggregate campaign contributions and seen as a victory for freedom of speech to many, hailed the new campaign finance recommendations by the commission. “We’ll never get all the money out of politics, that’s just the reality of it,” said Brad Davis, a representative of the grass roots organization. “But, with a certain amount of money, at least you can run a credible campaign.”