San Diego Review June 1, 1995
Quotes from Lowenstein & Holtan
By Dwayne Hunn
Quotes from some participants in People’s Lobby’s upcoming educational video series on Campaign Reform & Politics. Periodically, thought provoking or informative quotes from these videos will be printed in the Review.
Dan Lowenstein is a UCLA Law Professor and was first Director of the Fair Political Practices Commission. The FPPC was established by Proposition 9 of 1974 which People’s Lobby initiated. The triumphriate of People’s Lobby, Common Cause and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown carried it to a 70% electoral victory.
On campaign reform, contributions limits and public financing elections:
“What I think would be a better approach would be to give the democrats and republicans in the legislature a significant amount of money that they (their parties) can divide up among their candidates as they see fit. That way there are no strings attached in terms of subsidizing my (or anyone’s) private contribution, which may be a special interest contribution. Secondly, money will be used efficiently, where we can get some real competition. Because that’s another problem people are concerned about — there’s not enough competition.
“This way the parties can fund some real challenges to incumbents on both sides. You know, give some incumbents some clean money to defend themselves, and we’ll have some real competition in those races. That would be a better system. If we did that we’d get a lot of electoral competition and use the money efficiently. We could limit contributions to say $100. or $50, so we would really eliminate the special interest element.”
Sometime in June of ‘95, Common Cause is expected to announced the launching of a Campaign Reform initiative campaign. Ruth Holton, Executive Director of California Common Cause said:
“We are going to have spending limits…. We think the key to reform is having contributions limits and spending limits. Contributions limits alone force a candidate to spend that much more time raising money and really advantages those candidates who have the largest network of people who can give at the highest amount. Now if you think about that, those people are incumbents. So contributions limits alone really benefit incumbents. What you need is spending limits to help balance the scales, so that everyone gets to only raise a certain amount. Then after that they can spend their time actually — walking precincts, talking to voters, such an unusual concept these days….
“But the Supreme Court has ruled that you can not have mandatory spending limits. You have to provide some kind of incentive to candidates to participate in the spending limit system and the spending limit system has to be voluntary.
“So the incentive we will be providing is: Candidates that abide by spending limits will be allowed to receive double the amount in contributions than a candidate that doesn’t…”