Local Officials and Business Groups Take New Campaign Finance Law to Court

A coalition of business groups and local electeds have filed a lawsuit against the Fair Political Practices Commission seeking to nullify new campaign contribution requirements passed by the State Legislature.

The crux of the lawsuit is Senate Bill 1439, which you can read about here. The bill prohibits elected officials from accepting, soliciting or directing a campaign contribution of more than $250 from a party seeking a contract or license from the city. If the official receives a contribution exceeding that amount, they are required to recuse themselves from voting on these applications for a year.

The plaintiffs include Sacramento County Supervisor Pat Hume and Rancho Cordova City Councilmember Garrett Gatewood. Their lawsuit calls Senate Bill 1439 an unconstitutional abridgment of free speech that will make it harder for people to run for local office. 

“Notably, the Legislature chose to exclude themselves from the draconian new contribution restrictions,” the plaintiffs write.

The law’s author, Sen. Steven Glazer (D-Walnut Creek), says the backlash is expected.

“I think it underscores how much of a political earthquake (the law) has caused within the broader interest-peddling community,” he told CalMatters.  

Read the lawsuit here.