Public Financing Review

In June of 2018, the Commission identified a review of the City’s public financing program as its top policy priority. For this project, Staff conducted a substantive review of the program, including outreach efforts to better understand how candidates, treasurers, and members of the public viewed the program’s effectiveness, to better understand what participants’ experiences with the program had been, and to solicit input as to what changes might be made to further strengthen the program.

The purpose of this research was to analyze how well the program was serving its intended purposes, which are to: ensure that candidates with demonstrated community support have sufficient resources to run a competitive campaign; decrease the amount of time candidates spend raising money; increase the opportunity for candidates to run for office; ensure the integrity of the electoral process; enhance the discussion of issues of public interest; assist voters in making informed decisions; and restore trust in government, among others.

Staff approached the review process in two phases. The first phase of the review addressed procedural aspects of the program and sought to identify ways to increase participation rates and improve program outcomes without changing the program’s basic features. The second phase of the review aimed to strengthen the program by analyzing how well the basic features of the program were accomplishing their goals and recommending improvements. These features include how much money candidates can receive under the program, how the money is allocated to candidates, and the requirements for qualifying for the program.

This project resulted in numerous regulatory changes and the passage of two ordinances (File No. 190287 and File No. 190660).

Links Related to this Policy Project

Interested Persons Meeting Announcements to Discuss:
Staff Reports:
Key Commission Meetings:
  • June 15th, 2018: Discussion and possible action on proposed Policy Prioritization Plan for Fiscal Year 2019. (Agenda | Minutes | Summary)
  • October 19th, 2018: Discussion and possible action on Public Financing Review Project – Findings and Recommendations. (Agenda | Minutes | Summary)
  • April 12th, 2019: Informational presentation and discussion of Agenda Item 4 – Public Financing Review Project – Phase II Findings and Recommendations. (Agenda | Minutes | Summary)
  • May 29th, 2019: Discussion and Possible Action on Public Financing Program – Phase II Legislative Recommendations and Draft Ordinance. (Agenda | Minutes | Summary)
Legislation:
  • File No. 190287: Ordinance modifying the deadline for participation in the City’s public financing program and the operation of individual expenditure ceilings for participating candidates. – Status: Passed
  • File No. 190660: Ordinance increasing the matching ratio for campaign contributions raised by candidates participating in the City’s public financing program and the amount of public funds available for those candidates. – Status: Passed

 

 

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