Lobbyists Adjust to New Political Disclosure Laws

Sacramento Business Journal

Nossaman Associate Amber Maltbie is featured in the Sacramento Business Journal article "Lobbyists adjust to new political disclosure laws" about recent reforms to the Political Reform Act of 1974.  Ms. Maltbie cites the passage of Proposition 34 in 2000, which limited contributions to members of the Legislature, but not independent expenditures in support of a candidate, as an example of how contributors can adapt to changing rules.  In 2000, independent expenditures for legislative candidates totaled $376,000, but by 2006, the total had risen to $23.48 million.  Ms. Maltbie is quoted as saying, "however the rules change, the regulated community and the community that has a vested interest in the Legislature will adapt." 

Regarding financial disclosure provisions, Ms. Maltbie notes that Courts have taken the position that there's a great need to disclose donors to candidates because candidates can be corrupted.  Ballot propositions can't be corrupted, but there's still a need to know where the money is coming from, Ms. Maltbie stated.  She continued, "When you are talking about who we are entrusting to lead our democratic system, I think it is paramount that we have transparency about who is influencing the decision."  The article noted that 40 years of reforms to the Political Reform Act have created a complex set of rules and some local campaigns can run into trouble even if they are trying to comply.  Ms. Maltbie commented, "It can cause havoc at the local level."

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