For Immediate Release: July 30, 2019
Contact: Tyler Joseph (213) 978-1960
At its meeting today, the City Council adopted a final ordinance that amends the qualification criteria that City candidates must meet in order to qualify for public matching funds. The ordinance implements recommendations unanimously approved by the Ethics Commission at its February 2019 meeting.
Today’s ordinance gives candidates greater access to matching funds by lowering both the aggregate contribution threshold and the minimum number of contributions a candidate must raise. As a result of the new law, the qualification thresholds in the 2020 elections will be $11,400 for a City Council candidate, $32,100 for a City Attorney or Controller candidate, and $64,200 for a Mayoral candidate. This significantly reduces the amount of private contributions that each candidate must receive in order to qualify for public funds. Historically, the qualification thresholds were $25,000 for City Council candidates, $75,000 for City Attorney and Controller candidates, and $150,000 for Mayoral candidates.
The matching funds program provides limited public funds to help qualified City candidates communicate their views without the need for excessive private fundraising and to promote public participation in the electoral process by increasing the value of smaller contributions. The program has been in effect for every City election since 1993. A qualified City Council candidate in the 2020 elections may receive up to $156,000 in public funds during the primary election. A qualified City Attorney or Controller candidate may receive up to $416,000, and a qualified Mayoral candidate may receive up to $1,040,000.
Today’s ordinance must be signed by the Mayor and published by the City Clerk before becoming effective. To follow that process, view the final ordinance, or view the Ethics Commission’s full recommendations, please visit Council File No. 12-1269-S5. Details about the matching funds program are housed in the Campaign Finance Ordinance and the Los Angeles Administrative Code.
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The Ethics Commission was created by Los Angeles voters in 1990 to impartially administer and enforce the City’s governmental ethics, campaign financing, and lobbying laws.