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Isn’t $250,000 Enough?

By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

Hansen

As a candidate for governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed “I don’t need to take any [campaign contribution] money from anybody else; I have plenty of money myself.”

And he warned that, “Any of those kinds of real, big, powerful special interests, if you take money from them, you owe them something.”

Five years later, Governor Schwarzenegger has collected over $124 million in campaign contributions from special interest groups, the largest chunk, over $20 million, coming from real estate, development and construction concerns, according to ArnoldWatch.org. And critics say he has served the needs of corporations over the needs of the people.

While cynics, who lament the loss of “one person one vote” to “one dollar one vote,” created by corporate donors and PACS, and call for public financing of campaigns as a solution, Huntington Beach Councilmember Don Hansen and some of his colleague’s think they have a better idea: allow unlimited individual campaign contributions to city council candidates.

Last August, Hansen proposed increasing the current $300 limit to $500 retroactively, but removed the latter when skeptics objected that past limit violations could be covered up. A subcommittee was then formed to study the overall issue of campaign regulation reform and to make recommendations to the city council at a later date, which it did at a March 17 study session.

Hansen chaired the committee and councilmembers Cathy Green and Jill Hardy joined him along with several H.B. residents. The committee met 5 times and reviewed campaign regulations for 7 other Orange County cities and the State.

Two main issues remain unsettled: spending limits and whether to redact personal address information from electronic (Internet) filings of candidates’ financial contribution updates. (more…)

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