Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s Campaign Fundraising Reform at School and College Districts Passes Assembly Elections Committee

AB 1431 by Gonzalez Proposes A Ban on School & College Board Fundraising by District Superintendents & Administrators

SACRAMENTO – (Tuesday, April 1, 2014) – The California State Assembly’s Elections and Redistricting Committee approved legislation authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) today that would ban School and College District superintendents and administrators from raising campaign cash for the board members that they serve.

Under Assembly Bill 1431, administrators at California’s public school districts and community college districts would be prohibited from soliciting contributions on behalf of the campaigns and legal defense funds of candidates and incumbent board members that govern those districts. Violators would be subject to penalties assessed by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

That practice – alleged in several of the ongoing corruption cases involving officials at southern San Diego County’s Sweetwater Union High School District, San Ysidro School District and Southwestern College – created a troublesome dynamic between staff and board members at those districts. In the allegations, administrators raised money for their board members from contractors with business before their districts, allowing them to exert inappropriate influence over their own job security with the boards that hired them as well as the process for selecting contractors to rebuild and revamp the districts’ campuses.

“These corruption cases have become a huge distraction to our goal of improving public education opportunities in the South Bay, and the common thread in these cases is that administrators were improperly acting as political moneymen for board members’ campaigns,” Gonzalez said. “There are currently no statewide campaign finance restrictions for school and college board elections and this bill will stop the conflicts of interest that are perceived by the public in the best case scenario or real in the instances of the unfortunate scandals at our schools in south San Diego County.”

The bill was supported by Assembly Elections and Redistricting Committee Chair Paul Fong of San Jose and Assemblymembers Henry Perea, Freddie Rodriguez, Isadore Hall and Kevin Mullin.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa. For more information, visit http://asmdc.org/members/a80/.


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