Here’s my letter in support of the Fair Political Practices Commission’s request to state legislators for more power to go after campaign financing abuses that are rampant across the state.

On February 21st the Fair Political Practices Commission reached out to the leadership and members of the Senate and Assembly to request amendments to the Political Reform Act. The FPPC is seeking the authority to bring administrative and civil actions against public agencies and officials who spend public funds on campaign activity. According to the Los Angeles Times, local prosecutors across the state and the Attorney General have not prosecuted any of these cases in recent memory. Furthermore, the FPPC’s ability to punish these types of violations is severely limited.

This type of abuse occurred in Burbank during the 2016 election, when city employees issued a $50,000 donation to the Committee for Yes on Measure B through the Burbank Hospitality Association. The BHA is a tourism business improvement district with at least one high ranking city employee serving on its board. Per the Los Angeles District Attorney, this transaction violated the Brown Act and resulted in FPPC fines of $16,500. The vote for Measure B was directly influenced by the misuse of public funds in a transaction that the Burbank City Attorney admitted “should not have been made.”

Because of your prior efforts for greater transparency in our elections, I am asking you to sponsor or co-sponsor legislation that will give more power to the FPPC to prevent the misuse of taxpayer dollars in elections. This practice is tainting elections all across our state. The abuse is not being prosecuted and is not going away. Giving the FPPC the power to hold public officials and agencies accountable is a crucial step in protecting the integrity of our elections.

Thank you for your time, I look forward to your response.