Clean Election Initiative

Link to Clean Elections Measure.pdf

 


CLEAN ELECTIONS MEASURE
Section 1. Chapter 2, Article 7 of the San Diego Municipal Code, titled Elections,
Campaign Finance and Lobbying, is amended to add Division 33, San Diego Clean
Elections Ordinance, Sections 27.3301 through 27.3318, to read as follows:
Division 33: San Diego Clean Elections Ordinance
§27.3301 Title
This division shall be titled and cited as the San Diego Clean Elections Ordinance.
§27.3302 Purpose and Intent
It is the purpose and intent of the people of the City of San Diego in enacting this
division to provide a voluntary program of public financing for candidates in
municipal elections to help achieve the following objectives: to give
neighborhoods a better chance of being heard at City Hall; to enable
neighborhood-based candidates who might otherwise be well-qualified but lack
the support of large campaign contributors to compete for municipal office; to
strengthen the rights of all citizens to equal and meaningful participation in the
democratic process; to facilitate the free speech rights of all candidates and
voters by providing candidates with resources they might not otherwise have
access to with which to communicate with the voters; to support the First
Amendment right of voters and candidates to be heard in the political process; to
support the core First Amendment value of open and robust debate in the
political process; to diminish any public perception of corruption and strengthen
public confidence in the democratic process and democratic institutions; and to
increase the accountability of elected officials to the constituents who elect them.
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This division provides that the City of San Diego Ethics Commission (Ethics
Commission) will administer this public financing program, with the assistance of
the City Clerk, the City Treasurer, the Department of Finance, the Chief Financial
Officer, and any other necessary City departments recommended by the Ethics
Commission and later added to this division by an action of the City Council. The
Ethics Commission will conduct independent audits of campaigns and campaign
funds, and monitor candidates. The Ethics Commission will serve as the
Enforcement Authority for violations of this division, pursuant to sections
27.3315 and 27.3316.
This division is enacted in accordance with the City of San Diego’s governing
election laws.
§27.3303 Definitions
In addition to the definitions provided in Chapter 2, Article 7, of the San Diego
Municipal Code and in the California Government Code, as part of the Political
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Reform Act, Sections 82000 et seq., and as such sections may be amended, the
following terms shall be defined as follows for this division:
Clean Elections Fund means the San Diego Clean Elections Fund established
pursuant to section 27.3305.
Clean Elections Program means the voluntary program of public financing for
participating candidates
for City Council, as set forth in this division.
Covered office means the office of  City Council
Election includes any primary, general, recall, special or runoff election
Enforcement Authority means the City of San Diego Ethics Commission. Nothing
in this article limits the authority of the City Attorney, any law enforcement
agency, or any prosecuting attorney to enforce the provisions of this article under
any circumstances where the City Attorney, law enforcement agency, or
prosecuting attorney otherwise has lawful authority to do so.
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Ethics Commission means the City of San Diego Ethics Commission.
Expenditure ceiling means the limit on expenditures during the primary election
campaign period and during the general election campaign period by each
candidate who qualifies for disbursements from the Clean Elections Fund.
Exploratory period means the period beginning  January 1 of the year
prior to the expected date of a primary election and ending on the day a
candidate is certified by the Ethics Commission as a participating candidate
pursuant to section 27.3307. This is the period during which candidates seeking to
qualify as participating candidates in the Clean Elections Program are permitted
to raise and spend a limited amount of private seed money.  The distribution of
monies to all  certified Clean Elections candidates shall  be done at the same time
but not later than  January 1st of the election year.
General election campaign period means the period beginning the day after the
primary election and ending at the close of the day of the general election.
Nonparticipating candidate means:
(a) a candidate who is on the ballot but has chosen not to apply for Clean
Elections Fund campaign funding;
(b) a candidate who is on the ballot and has applied but has not qualified to
receive Clean Elections Funding.
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Participating candidate means a candidate who chooses to participate in and
qualifies for the Clean Elections Program.
Primary election campaign period means the period beginning on the day a
candidate is certified by the Ethics Commission as a participating candidate
pursuant to section 27.3307 and ending at the close of the day of the primary
election.
Professional Expense Committee is defined, established, operated and terminated
pursuant to sections 27.2965 to 27.2969 of the Municipal Code.
Professional Expense Committee contribution means a contribution to a
Professional Expense Committee.
Qualifying contribution means a contribution of $5 made by an individual who is
a registered voter in   a candidates district  and that is acknowledged by a written
receipt identifying the contributor, the
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candidate for whom the contribution is made, and the solicitor of the
contribution as set forth in section 27.3307(b). No individual shall knowingly make
more than one $5 contribution to any one candidate per race nor be reimbursed for the contribution.
Qualifying period means the period during which candidates are permitted to
collect qualifying contributions in order to qualify for the Clean Elections
Program. The period begins January 1 of the year prior to the expected
date of the primary election for that office and ends January 1 prior to the
primary election.
Seed money means an aggregate amount of private contributions from
individuals that may be raised during the exploratory period for the purpose of
seeking eligibility to the Clean Elections Program not to exceed $7,500.
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§27.3304 Administration of the Clean Elections Program and the Clean Elections
Fund
(a) The Ethics Commission shall administer the Clean Elections Program and
the Clean Elections Fund with the assistance of the City Clerk, the City
Treasurer, the Department of Finance, the Chief Financial Officer, and any
other necessary City departments recommended by the Ethics Commission
to be added to this division and later added by implementing ordinance of
the City Council after the measure is approved.
(b) The Ethics Commission shall adopt rules to carry out the purposes of this
division. The Ethics Commission shall propose and adopt such rules in
public meetings, in compliance with the Ralph M. Brown Act, with two
hearings on proposed rules to provide additional time for public comment.
(c) The Ethics Commission shall:
(1) Prepare and publish written instructions explaining the Clean
Elections Program to candidates and committees;
(2) Conduct workshops explaining the Clean Elections Program to
candidates and committee treasurers;
(3) Develop and distribute forms appropriate for administration of the
Clean Elections Program;
(4) Develop  vigorous audit procedures to verify that a candidate’s qualifying
contributions are from the stated sources, develop procedures to
otherwise determine eligibility for public financing as provided in
this division, and develop audit procedures to track the spending of
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elections funding provided by the City; and conduct timely fiscal
audits to ensure compliance with the provisions of this division.
Audits shall include those of candidate expenditures to assess
compliance with the “Use of Public Funds” restrictions established
by section 27.3311;
(5) Work with the Chief Financial Officer, Department of Finance and
City Comptroller to ensure that campaign money is directed to,
appropriations are being made to, and disbursements made from,
the Clean Elections Fund established by section 27.3305;
(6) Monitor compliance with the provisions of this division;
(7) Enforce or cause to be enforced the provisions of this division;
(8) Adopt a logotype for the use of Clean Elections Program
participating candidates that shall be used to indicate the
candidates’ participation in the Clean Elections Program, which
shall be used only by participating candidates on such printed
literature as they may publish (nonparticipating candidates are
prohibited from using the logotype); the logotype shall also be
prominently displayed as part of a participating candidate’s
statement in the voter pamphlet, and shall also precede such
candidate’s name on the ballot, if such logotype complies with
governing law for ballot materials;
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(9) Select sponsors for debates among candidates, using procedures to
later be implemented by the Ethics Commission, and pursuant to
the following provisions:
(A) Organizations that are not affiliated with any political party
or with any holder of or candidate for public office, and
that have not endorsed any candidate who is seeking
election in the pending municipal election or endorsed such
candidate in an election in the previous four years, shall be
eligible to apply to the Ethics Commission to sponsor one
or more debates. The rules for conducting such debates
shall be solely the responsibility of the sponsor selected but
shall not be made final without consultation with the Ethics
Commission. The sponsor selected shall be responsible for
choosing the date, time and location of the debates.
 (B) Participating candidates for a contested City Council
office shall be required to participate in two debates prior to
the primary election and two debates prior to the general
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election, provided that there are qualified sponsors
available and willing to host such debates;
(D) Nonparticipating candidates shall be invited and permitted
to participate in these debates;
(E) Sponsors shall arrange to have the debates videotaped so
the public can view them, and arrange to have them
televised or live-streamed if possible, to ensure that such
debates are made available to voters; and
(10) Such other duties as may be added or amended by subsequent rules
adopted by the Ethics Commission and by subsequent actions of
the City Council, as necessary for the operation and maintenance
of the program.
(d) Based on candidate participation levels in the first election for each
covered office after the effective date of this ordinance, and any election
for a covered office thereafter, within six months after such election, the
Ethics Commission may propose rules changing the number of qualifying
contributions required for any candidate covered by this article by no
more than twenty (20) percent of the number applicable for the preceding
election. Under no circumstances shall the number of qualifying
contributions required by candidates for City Council be less than 240.
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§27.3305 Clean Elections Fund
(a) There is hereby established a Special Revenue Fund of the City of San
Diego to be known as the “San Diego Clean Elections Fund” (Clean
Elections Fund). The Clean Elections Fund shall be used to provide public
financing for the election campaigns of participating candidates; and for
paying the administrative and enforcement costs of the Ethics Commission
related to this division.
(b) The City shall appropriate annually to the Clean Elections Fund at least an
amount equal to  $2  per resident of the City of San Diego, as determined
by the most recent official United States Census Bureau Population
Estimate for the City of San Diego. The City shall begin appropriating
funds for the Clean Elections Fund after the City takes all necessary steps
to create the fund, and staff is in place to run the program, after the
effective date of this ordinance. Within the first year after the measure is
adopted by the voters, the City shall take all steps necessary to create the
Clean Elections Fund, including adopting any necessary implementing
ordinances and appropriating funds for the program.
(c)  Administrative and enforcement costs of this
Division will be determined  by the City Council and may later be
amended by an action of the City Council  if the amount proves to be
insufficient to operate the program.
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(d) In the event that the Ethics Commission, working with assisting City
departments, determines, after the close of the qualifying period of any
election, that the amount in the Clean Elections Fund is insufficient to
fund all participating candidates, the Ethics Commission shall allocate all the funds
equally among the candidates and each candidate may then raise private
contributions up to the cap which they would have been entitled to.
 (e) Under no circumstances shall the amount in the Clean Elections Fund
exceed an amount equal to   $2 per resident of the City of San Diego, as
determined by the most recent official United States Census Bureau
Population Estimate for the City of San Diego.
§27.3306 Statement of Participation or Nonparticipation in the Clean Elections
Program:
No later than at the end of the qualifying period, a candidate for City
Council  shall file with the Ethics Commission a statement of participation
      or nonparticipation in the Clean Elections
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Program on a form designated by the Ethics Commission. This statement
is a public document. A statement of participation in the Clean Elections
Program shall constitute an enforceable agreement between the candidate
and the Ethics Commission, signed by the candidate under penalty of
perjury, and shall state that the signing candidate agrees:
(1) to comply with the voluntary expenditure ceilings set forth in
section 27.3309;
(2) not to solicit or accept any contributions, other than seed money,
qualifying contributions, and Professional Expense Committee
contributions. Unless specified by the ethics commission.
(3) to adhere to all other rules established by the Ethics Commission
for participating candidates; and
(4) that, if elected, the candidate will, during that term of office,
neither solicit, nor accept, any contributions other than seed money,
qualifying contributions and Professional Expense Committee
contributions for the same elected office. However, a candidate seeking to run
for  a  second term must notify the Ethics Commission by January 1st of the year
preceding the election that he or she is running as a  Clean Elections candidate
for  that second term.
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§27.3307 Qualification for Participating in the Clean Elections Program
A candidate for a covered office shall be certified by the Ethics Commission as a
participating candidate in the Clean Elections Program after satisfying all of the
following criteria:
(a) The candidate collects at least the following number of qualifying
contributions before the close of the qualifying period:
(1)  300 qualifying contributions  which must
be made by registered voter residents of the council district the
candidate seeks to represent;
(b) The candidate delivers to and deposits with the City Treasurer all
qualifying contributions pursuant to a schedule established by the Ethics
Commission providing for the submission of qualifying contributions, in
compliance with City deposit requirements, during the qualifying period.
Each qualifying contribution shall be turned over to the City Treasurer for
deposit in the Clean Elections Fund accompanied by a receipt, on a form
developed and distributed by the Ethics Commission, identifying the
contributor by full name and residential address and including a signed
statement indicating that the contributor understands the purpose of the
contribution, that the contribution is made without coercion or expectation
and said contribution was not provided by anyone else  and
that any misrepresentation of these facts may be punishable as a misdemeanor.
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(c) The candidate signs a statement of participation in the Clean Elections
Program with the Ethics Commission pursuant to section 27.3306.
(d) The candidate agrees to furnish to the Ethics Commission any information
and proof of compliance as may be requested.
§27.3308 Obligations of Participating Candidates
(a) A participating candidate shall meet the candidate nomination
requirements established by Article 7, Division 2 of the Municipal Code
and qualify to have the participating candidate’s name appear on the
ballot for the covered office for the election in which public funds are
received.
(b) A participating candidate and the treasurer of the participating
candidate’s campaign committee shall attend a Clean Elections Program
workshop conducted by the Ethics Commission pursuant to section
27.3304(c)(2).
(c) A participating candidate who accepts any Clean Elections Fund funding
during the special or primary election campaign period shall comply with
all the requirements of this article through the general election campaign
period whether the candidate continues to accept Clean Elections Fund
funding or not.
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(d) During the exploratory period, which shall run from January 1 of the year
prior to the election to January 1 of the election year  a candidate may raise,
accept and spend a limited amount of seed money. This period is established to
allow candidates to explore their potential candidacy and eligibility for the Clean
Elections Program. Seed money contributions shall not exceed $100 per
contributor, including the candidate; this amount shall not include the
candidate’s nomination fee, which may be paid from the candidate’s own
funds, if desired. Any seed money contributions for a participating
candidate that are not spent by the end of the exploratory period shall be
paid to the Clean Elections Fund.
(e) A participating candidate shall not use personal funds in connection with
the candidate’s election, except for: (1) one $5 qualifying contribution, (2)
a seed money contribution up to the $100 limit established by subsection
 (d) of this section, (3) to pay the  nomination fee to seek the elective office, and
(4) a Professional Expense Committee contribution up to the limit established by
the Commission and Municipal Code.
(f) If sponsors agree to host debates under the terms of this division, and in
the number provided:
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  (1)Participating candidates in contested races for the office of City
Council member shall participate in two one-hour debates during a
contested primary election and two one-hour debates during a
contested general election.
 (2)  Debates shall be held as set forth in section 27.3304, videotaped
with access to the public, and publicly televised and aired online if
possible, to ensure voters’ access to such debates.
  (3)The obligation that a participating candidate participate in a
debate required by this section shall be waived at the discretion of
the Ethics Commission, upon a determination by the Ethics
Commission that the failure to participate in the debate occurred
under circumstances beyond the control of the candidate and of
such nature that a reasonable person would find the failure
justifiable or excusable.
(g) All expenditures by a participating candidate during the primary election
campaign period and general election campaign period shall be funded by
the Clean Elections Fund distributed pursuant to section 27.3310 and shall
not exceed the expenditure ceilings established by section 27.3309.
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§27.3309 Expenditure Ceilings
(a) A participating candidate or candidate’s controlled committee shall limit
campaign expenditures to the following amount:
  $0,08 per resident of the City of San Diego during the
primary election campaign period;
  $0.16 per resident of the City of San Diego during the
general election campaign period.
   $0.04 per resident of the City of San Diego for each candidate should
two Clean Election candidates in the same council district both qualify for the
general election run-off.
(b) The expenditure ceilings established by subsection (a) of this section shall
be based on the total population of the City of San Diego as determined by
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the most recent official United States Census Bureau Population Estimate
for the City of San Diego.
§27.3310 Disbursements of Public Funds
(1)shall occur on or before January 1 of the election year, with
all certified candidates receiving funds simultaneously.
(2) twenty-five percent of the expenditure ceiling for that office and
election as provided in section 27.3309, in the case of a
participating candidate who is unopposed.
(c) If there are insufficient public funds in the Clean Elections Fund available
for all participating candidates, whatever funds are available in the Fund
shall be distributed on a pro rata basis to participating candidates as
determined by the Ethics Commission, working with the City’s
Department of Finance. At the time the Ethics Commission, working with
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the Department of Finance, determines that there are insufficient public
funds in the Clean Elections Fund and no additional funds will be
appropriated to the Clean Elections Fund pursuant to section 27.3305(d),
all participating candidates shall be permitted to use the remaining public
funds as set forth in section 27.3311 and other governing laws.
Participating candidates shall then be permitted to raise and spend private
contributions subject to the private contribution limitations established by
Article 7, Division 29, of the Municipal Code,   and subject to the expenditure
ceilings established by section 27.3309 of this ordinance.
§27.3311 Use of Public Funds
(a) Notwithstanding section 27.2917 of the Municipal Code, public funds
disbursed to a participating candidate from the Clean Elections Fund shall
be used exclusively for the purposes of promoting that candidate’s
candidacy and shall not be expended for any other candidacy or campaign,
transferred to any other person, or converted to personal use. Personal use
includes any use of public funds to fulfill a commitment, obligation or
expense that would exist irrespective of the candidate’s campaign. The
Ethics Commission shall adopt rules further defining permissible and
impermissible uses of public funds.
.
(b) Participating candidates who purchase fixed assets, including accessories,
purchased with campaign funds that can be used for non-campaign purposes with
a value of $200 or more,  shall turn these fixed assets into the Ethics Commission
no later than 14 days after the primary election or the general election if the
candidate was successful in the primary. For purposes of determining whether a
fixed asset is valued at $200 or more, the value shall include any accessories
purchased for use with the fixed asset in question. A candidate may elect to keep
an item by reimbursing the Ethics Commission for 80% of the original purchase
price including the cost of accessories.
.
(c)  A candidate may not pay clean election funds to:
 – the candidate or a sole proprietorship owned by the candidate,
– the candidate’s spouse or domestic partner or a sole proprietorship owned by
the candidate’s spouse or domestic partner,
– a member of the candidate’s immediate family or household,
– a business entity in which the candidate or a member of the candidate’s
immediate family or household holds a significant proprietary or financial
interest,
– a nonprofit entity in which the candidate or a member of the candidate’s
immediate family or household is a director, officer, executive director or chief
financial officer.
(d) Unexpended or unencumbered public funds on the day following the
defeat, withdrawal or election to office by a participating candidate shall
revert back to the Clean Elections Fund, and shall be deposited with the
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City Treasurer by said participating candidate within 30 days after certification of
the election results by the City Council.
§27.3312 Special Elections
Public campaign financing shall be available to candidates in special elections.
The Ethics Commission shall propose implementing rules for special elections,
which will be approved as amendments to the Municipal Code and this division
by the City Council after public hearings. Such modifications may include a
reduction in the number of qualifying contributions a candidate must collect, as
well as a reduction in the number of days in which such qualifying contributions
must be collected. Under no circumstances, however, shall the number of
qualifying contributions be reduced by more than fifty (50) percent.
§27.3313 Electronic Filing and Disclosure
The Ethics Commission shall adopt rules requiring all participating candidates to
file all campaign finance reports and other required forms and documents
electronically using the City Clerk’s online filing system described in section
27.2931, or as the section may be amended in the future.
§27.3314 Cost of Living Adjustments
The Ethics Commission shall, in January of every fourth year following the year
of enactment of this San Diego Clean Elections Ordinance, adjust the dollar
amounts referenced in this section to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index
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for San Diego as determined by the United States Department of Labor. Those
adjustments shall be rounded to the nearest:
(a) $0.01 for the per-resident voluntary expenditure ceilings established by
section 27.3309;
(b) $1 for the per-resident appropriation established by section 27.3305(b),
and in compliance with the per-resident Clean Elections Fund amount
limit established by section 27.3305(e);
(c) $1,000 for the aggregate seed money limit established by section 27.3303
and the electronic filing threshold referenced in section 27.3313.
§27.3315 Enforcement
Violations and alleged violations of this division shall be subject to the complaint,
investigation, and enforcement procedures established by Article 6, Division 4,
Municipal Code sections 26.0401 et seq. for the Ethics Commission, serving as
the Enforcement Authority.
§27.3316 Penalties
Violations of this division shall be penalized pursuant to the City of San Diego
Municipal Elections Campaign Control Ordinance, Municipal Code section
27.2991, by the Enforcement Authority. In addition to the penalties set forth in
section 27.2991, a person who violates a provision of this division shall be
required to return public funds received pursuant to this division and deposit such
funds with the City Treasurer.
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§27.3317 Amendment of the San Diego Clean Elections Ordinance
The City Council may, by majority vote, and without a subsequent vote of the
people, amend this division to carry out its purposes and intent if, at least ten
days before the Council hearing on the amendment, the proposed amendment in
its final form has been delivered to the Ethics Commission and made available to
the public in compliance with open meetings laws.
§27.3318 Reports by City of San Diego Ethics Commission
Following each election for a covered office, and at any other time upon the
request of the Mayor or the City Council and at such other times as the Ethics
Commission deems appropriate, the Ethics Commission shall review and evaluate
the effect of this ordinance upon the conduct of election campaigns in the City of
San Diego and shall submit a report to the Mayor and the City Council that may
suggest amendments to the ordinance and include, as information may be
available, the following:
(a) The number and names of candidates qualifying for and choosing to
receive Clean Elections Fund funding pursuant to this ordinance, and of
candidates failing to qualify or otherwise not choosing to receive such
funding, in the last election;
(b) The amount of Clean Elections Fund funding provided to the controlled
committee of each participating candidate pursuant to this ordinance and
the contributions received and expenditures made by each such candidate
and the controlled committee of such candidate, in the last election;
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(c) The number and names of non-participating candidates in the last election,
together with the expenditures made by each such candidate and the
controlled committees of such candidate in that election;
(d) Recommendations as to whether the provisions of this ordinance
governing maximum contribution amounts, thresholds for qualification for
the Clean Elections Program, and expenditure ceilings should be amended
and setting forth the amount of, and reasons for, any amendments it
recommends;
(e) Analysis of the effect of this ordinance on election campaigns, including,
to the extent available, information regarding its effect on the sources and
amounts of private financing, the level of campaign expenditures, voter
participation, the number of candidates and the candidates’ ability to
campaign effectively for public office;
(f) A review of the procedures utilized in providing Clean Elections Fund
funding to candidates; and
(g) Recommendations for other changes to this ordinance as it deems
appropriate. Such recommendations may be submitted to the City Council
as the subject of an ordinance to amend provisions of this division to
ensure the proper operations of this program.
Section 2. Article 7, Division 2, Section 27.0220 of the San Diego Municipal Code is
hereby amended to read as follows:
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§27.0220 Nominating Fee
The election nominating fee for the offices of City Councilmember shall be
established according to the City Council’s User Fee Policy. The fee schedule shall
be filed in the Rate book of City Fees and Chargesin the Office of the Clerk. The
nominating fee is non-refundable and shall be paid when nomination papers are
submitted for filing. The nominating fee shall be refunded to a candidate upon
such candidate’s certification as a participating candidate in the Clean Elections
Program pursuant to Municipal Code section 27.3307. The nominating fee is
otherwise non-refundable.
Section 3. Article 7, Division 6, Sections 27.0625 and 27.0634, of the San Diego
Municipal Code are hereby amended to read as follows:
§27.0625 Clerk’s Duty to Send Voter Pamphlet
The City Clerk shall send to each voter, together with the sample ballot, a voter
pamphlet which contains the written statements of candidates’ qualifications and
photographs that are prepared pursuant to this division. The voter pamphlet shall
also include a description of the San Diego Clean Elections Ordinance. The
description shall indicate that each candidate whose name is preceded in the
voter pamphlet by the Clean Elections Program logotype developed pursuant to
Municipal Code section 27.3304(c)(8) is a participant in the Clean Elections
Program. The Clean Elections logotype shall precede the name of each
participating candidate in the Clean Elections Program in the voter pamphlet.
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§27.0634 Listing of Candidates on Ballots
Names of candidates as they shall be listed on ballots shall be determined in the
following manner:
(a)-(b) [No change in text.]
(c) The Clean Elections logotype, developed pursuant to Municipal Code
section 27.3304(c)(8), shall precede the name of each participating
candidate in the Clean Elections Program, pursuant to Municipal Code
section 27.3307, in the voter pamphlet.
SEVERABILITY
If any section, subsection, sentence, clause or provision of this ordinance is held
invalid, the remainder of this ordinance, to the extent it can be given effect, or
the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those to
which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby, and to this extent the
provisions are severable.
EFFECTIVE DATE
Posted in General, Newsletter.

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