In Riverside County, candidates can no longer hide behind closed doors. Thanks to a big push by Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, those running for office will now have to publicly disclose all contributions more than $1,000 via the Internet.
“The public has no idea of who is doing what until after campaigns are done,” said Jeffries.
Posting the contributions online ensures transparency during an election.
“This was something we were pushing for because we felt it was a good way to make sure that the public could see who was making contributions, when and what amount throughout the year at any time instead of waiting for the report to come out every six months or so.”
In 2011, a county ordinance required that political contributions of $5,000 or more be reported to the Office of the Registrar of Voters’ website during an election cycle.
At the turn of the year, AB 2452 allowed local governments to require that campaign contributions of $1,000 or more be posted online.
The Supervisor proposed the amendment to the county’s rules to match up with the change in California law.
“This move does reflect a trend of lowering reporting triggers that we are seeing around the country, thanks, in part to AB 2452,” said Robb Korinke of Grassroots Lab.
“Riverside County is clearly following a larger state and national trend of bringing more online disclosure in campaign finance. Reducing the eFilter trigger from $5,000 to $1,000 is a critical step and will greatly enhance public access to information about the players in county politics and elections.”
Folks running for assessor-clerk-recorder, auditor-controller, treasurer-tax collector, superintendent of schools, sheriff, supervisor, judge, and district attorney and those sponsoring ballot measures must all abide by the new regulation.
“I believe that if all the money went to the candidates and all of the candidates had to do very quick disclosures, the public would have a better idea of who is supporting them or working against others and make better informed decisions,” said Jeffries.
And effective January 1, 2014 candidates or political action committees will have to post details of a contribution within 10 days if the amount is more than a thousand bucks.
“The better public policy pursuit is having immediate access versus the campaign contribution limits that everyone seems to think is the answer. All that does is push money from campaigns into independent expenditure committees that nobody gets to see how it works,” said Jeffries.