On Wednesday, May 11, 2005, a public hearing is slated for city council chambers at 1:30 pm. I'll be there to testify.
I served on the task force. In 2004 I called for a public hearing about this bill as it was first introduced to council. The first draft was way out of bounds and it got sidetracked, thankfully.
Task Force Draft 3/10/05
Sponsored By: William Peduto
WHEREAS, the integrity of the political process and the trust of the people is essential to a representative government; and
WHEREAS, the cost of running a successful political campaign has become so exorbitant as to dissuade people from running for office; and
WHEREAS, because campaign contributions have risen in recent years, public perception is that special interest groups and wealthy individuals may have unjustified influence in the political process; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Government and most state and local governments have successfully enacted legislation that prevents a “pay as you play” cycle of politics; and
WHEREAS, regulating campaign contributions would promote participation and confidence in and protect the integrity of the electoral process.
NOW THEREFORE, the Council of the City of Pittsburgh hereby amends the City Code by adding, Title I, Article I, Chapter 109 Campaign Financing.
(1) Election Cycle. A four-year period that begins on January 1st of the year following the last general election and ends on December 31st of the year of the general election for the office the candidate is seeking.
(2) Contribution. Money, gifts, forgiveness of debts, loans, paid labor, or things having a monetary value incurred or received by a candidate or his/her agent for use in advocating or influencing the election of the candidate.
(3) Expenditure. The payment, distribution, loan or advancement of money or any valuable thing by a candidate, political committee or other person for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a covered election.
(4) Person. Any actual individual, any business partnership, sole proprietorship, or other form of business organization permitted under the laws of the Commonwealth to make political contributions.
(5) Political Committee. Any committee, club, association, political party, or other group of persons, including the campaign committee of a candidate for office in a covered election, which receives contributions or makes expenditures for the purpose of influencing the outcome of a covered election.
B. Campaign Contribution Limits
(1) No person shall make total contributions per election, including contributions made to or through one or more political committees, of more than two thousand dollars ($2,000) to a candidate for Mayor or City Controller, and one thousand dollars ($1,000) to a candidate for City Council per election cycle.
(2) No political committee shall make total contributions per election of more than four thousand dollars ($4,000) to a candidate for Mayor or City Controller, and two thousand dollars ($2,000) to a candidate for City Council per election cycle.
(3) The limitations imposed by this Chapter shall not apply to contributions from a candidate’s personal resources to the candidate’s own campaign.
(4) The limitations imposed by this subsection shall not apply to volunteer labor.
C. Campaign Accounts
A candidate for Mayor, City Controller, or City Council shall have no more than one campaign committee and one checking account for each city office being sought, into which all contributions for such office shall be made, and out of which all campaign expenditures for that office shall be made. If the candidate for office maintains other political or non-political accounts for which contributions are solicited, such funds collected in these accounts shall not be used for any campaign for municipal office.
D. Eligibility for City Contracts and Grants
Any entity which is owned by or employs a person found to be in violation of this ordinance may not be awarded a competitive or non-competitive city contract or grant for four (4) years from the date on which the person is found to be in violation.
1. Any person residing in the City of Pittsburgh, including the City Solicitor, may bring an action for injunctive relief in any Court of competent jurisdiction to enjoin any violations of, or to compel compliance with, the provisions of this Ordinance.
2. If it is determined that a person makes, or a candidate accepts a political contribution in violation of the limits set forth in section 2 of this Ordinance, and is found by the Court to have violated this ordinance, the Court may award treble damages, a penalty equal to three times the amount over the limits set forth in section 2.
3. If it is determined that a person makes, or a candidate accepts a political contribution in violation of the limits set forth in section 2 of this Ordinance, and is found by the Court to have violated this ordinance, the Court may award to prevailing plaintiff in any such action, his or her costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees.
If any provision of this Ordinance shall be determined to be unlawful, invalid, void or unenforceable, then that provision shall be considered severable from the remaining provisions of this Ordinance which shall be in full force and effect.
G. Conflicting Provisions
Any Resolution or Ordinance or part thereof conflicting with the provisions of this Ordinance is hereby repealed so far as the same affects this Ordinance.
This bill will take effect January 1, 2006