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Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA March 8, 2011 Election
Measure LA-N
Public Funding of Campaigns
City of Los Angeles

Charter Amendment - Majority Approval Required
Official Results

Pass: 146,456 / 70.7% Yes votes ...... 60,700 / 29.3% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Impartial Analysis |

Shall the Charter be amended to comply with recent court decisions and avoid liability to the City by removing from the Charter three provisions determined by courts to be unconstitutional regarding campaign contribution limits on independent, non-candidate controlled groups' spending in City and LAUSD elections and notice and contribution limits regarding self-financed candidates that lifts contribution limits for only some candidates in City elections?

Summary Prepared by
Ballot Simplification Committee:

Recent court decisions have rendered unconstitutional laws similar to some City of Los Angeles campaign finance laws, and have caused government entities with such laws to pay damages or fees.

In the City, these laws include limits on contributions to independent committees that campaign for or against candidates in City and LAUSD elections. The Charter also limits contributions to candidates, but lifts the contribution limits of City candidates running against a candidate spending more than $30,000 in personal funds, and requires a self-financed candidate to give notice of planned spending.


This measure would bring the City into compliance with the recent court decisions on campaign finance laws by repealing:

  • Contribution limits to independent non-candidate controlled groups in City and LAUSD elections; and
  • Rules that lift contribution limits on candidates running against self-financed candidates; and
  • Notice requirements on self-financed candidates.


You want to repeal City campaign finance laws that are similar to laws that have been found unconstitutional.


You do not want to repeal City campaign finance laws that are similar to laws that have been found unconstitutional.

Fiscal Impact from Miguel A. Santana
City Administrative Officer:
If this measure is adopted, it would allow the City to comply with current Court rulings regarding campaign finance law requirements and avoid potential adverse legal challenges and unnecessary litigation costs.

Impartial Analysis from Gerry F. Miller
Chief Legislative Analyst
The City Charter contains several provisions which regulate campaign contributions and candidates' spending. Recent court rulings, including Citizens United v. FEC and Davis v. FEC, have rendered similarly structured provisions in other cities unconstitutional. This Charter amendment would repeal three sections of the Charter that the City Attorney has advised are in conflict with the recent Court rulings and could subject the City to liability, damages and fees.

The three required changes to the Charter include the following:

1. The Charter currently limits any person's contribution to an independent expenditure committee to $500 in City elections, and to $1,000 in Los Angeles Unified School District elections.

2. The Charter currently requires candidates who finance their campaigns with $30,000 or more from their own personal funds to provide advance notice of their intent to spend those funds.

3. The Charter currently lifts otherwise applicable contribution limits on candidates opposing self-financed candidates until they have raised contributions that equal the amount of personal funds used by those self-financed candidates.

The above provisions mirror provisions deemed to be unconstitutional based on recent Court decisions and, therefore, must be repealed in order to eliminate any liability to the City that might result from keeping those sections in the Charter.

This measure will become effective if approved by a majority of voters.

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Created: September 13, 2011 11:10 PDT
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