PRESS RELEASE: City Council Approves Campaign Finance Reform

Los Angeles -- Today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion co-introduced by Councilmember Ryu to reform campaign finance laws in the City, including a ban on developer donations and behested payments. The motion, approved alongside an Ethics Commission Report and Rules Committee instructions, would create one of the greatest reforms to campaign finance laws in the City’s history.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

May 22, 2019

Contact:

Estevan Montemayor

estevan.montemayor@lacity.org

213.605.4145



City Council Approves Campaign Finance Reform

Motion and report call for ban on developer donations in City campaigns

Los Angeles -- Today, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved a motion co-introduced by Councilmember Ryu to reform campaign finance laws in the City, including a ban on developer donations and behested payments. The motion, approved alongside an Ethics Commission Report and Rules Committee instructions, would create one of the greatest reforms to campaign finance laws in the City’s history.

“Today, we have achieved an incredible milestone in our City’s history. Today, the City Council unanimously agreed that the status quo no longer works for our City government, for local voters, or for a strong democracy in Los Angeles,” Councilmember Ryu said. “Reform is here. It’s time to make clear to Los Angeles voters that their needs come first. It’s time to rebuild trust in City Hall.”

The motion approved today seeks to add certain developers to a list of restricted sources, barred from making campaign contributions or behested payments in City elections. This ban would extend from the date property owners and their principals file an application for any significant planning entitlement process with the Department of City Planning to 12 months following the final resolution of the application.

"With trust collapsing in our government, we need to send a strong message that the Los Angeles City Council cannot be bought or sold and that the voices and votes of everyday residents count more than money from special interests,” Rey López-Calderón , the Executive Director of California Common Cause, said. “These reforms will help end the perception of pay-to-play politics at City Hall."

In February, the Ethics Commission approved a report recommending a similar ban on developer donations, following Councilmember Ryu’s passionate remarks, urging adoption of these reforms. The report offered an additional definition of developers and how to restrict their donations. The task now moves to the City Attorney to draft multiple ordinances restricting developer donations that City Council can choose from.

“The goal is to pass an ordinance that is effective, enforceable, and legally sound,” Councilmember Ryu said. “Many people have said that this was impossible - but I’ve heard ‘impossible’ before. This can - and will - be done.”

As part of his efforts to pass these reforms, Councilmember Ryu submitted an independent legal analysis to the Council File that provided a legal precedent for such reforms. Included in the analysis was a 2013 decision by the Ninth District Court upholding the standard that “the appearance of corruption has always been an accepted justification for... campaign contribution limitations.”

The motion, co-introduced by Councilmember Ryu and five other members of City Council on January 15th, is the third time the Councilmember has attempted to limit developer donations citywide since entering City Council in 2015. Councilmember Ryu refused developer donations in his own campaign to represent District Four.

“This is the first step, not the last,” Councilmember Ryu said in his remarks on the Council floor today. “But we cannot move our City forward without the trust of its people, and we cannot take our next step until we address this issue once and for all.”

Read the motion here.

Read the Committee Instructions here.

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Los Angeles City Councilmember David E. Ryu represents the 4th Council District which includes Griffith Park, Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, Hollywood, Hollywood Hills, Los Feliz, Silver Lake, Miracle Mile, Hancock Park, Windsor Square, Larchmont and portions of Koreatown and Van Nuys.

 


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