Members of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee killed SB 1379, which contained some of the toughest ethics and campaign finance restrictions put forward since three Democratic lawmakers were suspended while facing criminal charges, two of them involving corruption. My bill, the Legislative Reform and Transparency Act of 2014, sought to reform campaign financing and ethics in the California Legislature.
SB 1379 would have limited legal abuses related to the gathering and spending of campaign funds. It attempted to close a campaign fundraising loophole by applying existing campaign contribution limits to candidate controlled ballot measure committees and prohibit the expenditure of campaign funds for criminal defense and for paying a spouse or dependents. This reform measure required 72 hour disclosure of legislative campaign contributions at times other than election cycles; prohibit a lobbyist or lobbyist employer from hiring a legislator’s spouse or child for “do-nothing” jobs and increased the fines and penalties for bribery.
This measure really took the bull by the horns. To reduce corruption in Sacramento, we’ve got to close off the practices that, frankly speaking, may lead even dedicated public servants into temptation. The public deserves a State Legislature it can trust to carry out the people’s business, and not serve just a handful of special interests with deep pockets. I am very disappointed to see these Republican-authored reforms not move forward.