The purpose of these suggestions is to provide a level playing field for candidates or those supporting or opposing City measures, and to provide voters with knowledge of who is funding campaigns.
Post independent expenditures made by anyone and contributions made by political parties on the City Clerk’s election website. These would be expenditures and contributions reported to the City Clerk by citizens during the campaign, and must be posted the same business day as reported. A link to the donor’s website should also be posted if available. This would apply to those made for Council candidates and City propositions. This would inform voters of last minute mass mailings, ads, and other political communications made by special interests.
Limit Campaign Length. “No candidate, including the candidate’s controlled committee, and no committee primarily formed to support or oppose and candidate or candidates for City Council, shall accept any contributions (including candidate’s personal funds) more than six (6) calendar months prior to any election…” (From Thousand Oaks ordinance effective 12/21/2013.)
Require online filing of FPPC required documents (including Form 700’s). Print copies should still be maintained at the City Clerk’s office and the public library. Online documents should have only street addresses redacted.
Limit campaign contributions to $200 per election (instead of year). Require contributions over $5 be made by a personal check or personal credit card. Requiring candidates to seek support in smaller amounts but from a broader number of contributors has a democratizing effect, and can help the competitiveness of community-supported candidates who are not tied to special interests.
Personal Credit Cards This is a difficult issue as it provides for quick, easy donations via the internet making a website that can accept credit card contributions a campaign essential. However, it provides an unfair advantage to candidates that are “tech savvy” enough (or use unreported campaign consultant services) to build their own websites. Incumbents who have a prior campaign website also have an unfair advantage.
One solution might be to require the use of a standardized City hosted webpage for processing credit card donations.
Another idea is to limit the ability to raise funds using personal credit cards only to those candidates who accept a voluntary total contribution cap or a total expenditure cap. The City of Hayward updated their regulations in 2015 to provide different individual contribution limits for candidates that accept voluntary expenditure limits.
Credit Card contributions should only be made via a campaign website which collects required donor information. The contributor must certify by making an affirmative action (like checking a box) that the contributor is responsible for paying all charges incurred in using the credit card and that the contributor’s personal funds will be the true source of the contribution and. The website must make a clear distinction between information that is required by law and information that is optional, such as email address or interest in volunteering on the campaign. No telephone contributions, emails, or portable credit card readers should be allowed.
No other electronic contributions, such as Apple Pay or Bitcoin, should be allowed,
• Out of Coronado donors. Coronado has a growing number of second home owners. Donors whose permanent domiciles are from outside of Coronado have donated to campaigns but listed the address of their vacation home in Coronado as their address. When making a contribution, a donor must certify that the address provided is the address of their permanent domicile and location of their voter registration. Business addresses would not be acceptable.