Today (12) Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and retired State Senator and Judge Quentin L. Kopp filed suit against Governor Brown and the Fair Political Practices Commission to invalidate a new law that would allow public funds to be used for political campaigning.
In September, the Governor signed Senate Bill 1107 which provides that a “candidate may expend or accept public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office” from a fund established to finance campaigns with taxpayer dollars.
In 1988, California voters amended the Political Reform Act by adopting Proposition 73. Among other things, Prop 73 outlawed public financing of campaigns and prohibited candidates from accepting public funds for campaigns.
The bill signed by Governor Brown purports to amend the Political Reform Act without the voters’ approval. It deletes the prohibition against public financing of campaigns, and replaces it with an express authorization giving candidates access to taxpayer funds to spend on political advertising. “California voters decided to prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used as political slush funds,” said Jon Coupal, President of HJTA. “If politicians want to change that, they have to take the issue back to the voters.”
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association opposed SB 1107 and has consistently opposed public financing of campaigns. HJTA is joined in its lawsuit by Quentin Kopp, a co-author of Proposition 73.
The lawsuit, filed in the Sacramento Superior Court, seeks an order that the bill signed by Governor Brown is invalid unless it is placed on the ballot and approved by voters. The suit also requests that the Fair Political Practices Commission continue to publish the Political Reform Act without the new amendment unless voter approval is obtained.
HJTA and Kopp are being represented by Chuck Bell, a leading California political law attorney with the firm of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk; Anthony T. (Tom) Caso, with the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence; and Allen Dickerson, with the Center for Competitive Politics.