The Morning Report
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I’ve been rambling on and on about the phenomenon of member communications and how it’s completely transforming the way candidates for local elections are funding their campaigns and, consequently, undercutting — if not making irrelevant — local restrictions on campaign donations.

I was particularly interested in a bill that sailed through the California Assembly that would prohibit local cities from restricting the flow of big donations to political parties. The parties can spend unlimited amounts coordinating with a candidate to get him or her elected.

The media attention is building. The U-T finally picked up on it last weekend with this story.

And the Los Angelse Times had a pretty passionate editorial. Remember, while Republicans have become the experts in San Diego at exploiting the member communications system, in LA, it’s the Democrats that run local politics with that kind of money.

The LA Times thinks the Assembly bill isn’t so great.

As it is, contract seekers and influence buyers can get around L.A.’s $500 limit on donations to a City Council candidate ($1,000 for a mayoral candidate) by giving thousands to a political party, which then bombards voters with mailers touting their candidate. The party avoids the donation caps by claiming that it’s simply trying to keep in touch with its members. But city law still requires the party to identify the ultimate source of the money and to make that information available quickly so voters can know who really is pulling the candidate’s strings.

And a stirring ending:

Let’s hope senators reject the bill and show Californians what members of the Assembly lacked: a concern for the public or, lacking that, at least a sense of shame.

SCOTT LEWIS

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