Council addresses campaign finance laws

June 11, 2010

Council President Marco Sommerville (W3) and Councilpersons Jeff Fusco (At Large), Kelli Crawford (W10) and Ken Jones (W5) introduced legislation at Monday’s council meeting that would modify municipal campaign finance laws.

The new legislation is the first recommendation to come from the Mayor’s Task Force on Municipal Campaign Finances. It redefines “candidate” as any person who has been certified for the ballot or files an intent to be a write-in candidate for city council or mayor. Additionally, it excludes from campaign finance limits fundraising that is for anything other than influencing the candidate’s nomination or election.

“This charter revision would clear up questions that have arisen when currently elected officials and candidates have raised money that they didn’t use for election expenses,” said Tina Merlitti (W7), Chairwoman of the Rules Committee. “This would make funds that are raised by a candidate for a political party or, perhaps, for seeking an office other than city council or the mayor exempt from the city’s campaign finance laws,” she said.

Merlitti’s Rules Committee will discuss the proposed legislation next Monday afternoon, and it is likely to be voted on by council at Monday night’s meeting. Even if council approves the legislation, voters will have to approve it also in order to change the city charter.