DOWNEY - Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia has introduced legislation that would ban lobbyists from staging home fundraisers and eliminate the dual standard that allows lobbyists to host at their homes non-reportable private affair fundraisers for lawmakers, valued under $500, while at the same time limiting direct gifts to lawmakers to only $10 per month."It really makes no sense that a lobbyist can't buy lunch for a legislator for over $10, but can provide elaborate, exclusive dinner parties simply by stating that it is under the $500 limit," Garcia said. "As we've seen these in-home lobbyist events fly under the legal radar and I think that they should be banned." Garcia's complete "Political Conduct, Ethics and Public Trust Acts of 2014" legislative package consists of the following 7 bills: 1. AB 1673 - Eliminating Influence Peddling: prevent lobbyists from hosting political fundraisers at their homes and offices. 2. AB 1666 - Penalties & Bribes: would double the existing restitution amounts and prohibit the use of campaign funds to pay a restitution fine under this section. 3. Personal Use of Campaign Funds: to prevent campaign funds from being used to pay for fines that resulted in abuse of the personal use of campaign funds laws. 4. Permanent Ban on Switching Sides: amends existing law to also ban local administrative officials from switching sides where their former agency was a party to the proceeding in which the official was involved. 5. Detailed Disclosure of Government Compensation: expand the details of what a state or local government agency must publicly disclose concerning governmental salaries. 6. Conflicts Stemming from Contributions: prevents appointed members of water boards who are running as candidates from making decisions that affect contributors or potential contributors who appear before them in a proceeding involving a license, permit or entitlement for use. 7. AB 1596 Vote by Mail: require all vote-by-mail applications, when completed, to be mailed directly to the county registrar's office and not to middlemen or political campaign organizations.
********** Published: Feb. 20, 2014 - Volume 12 - Issue 45