HJTA wins lawsuit to stop use of public funds for campaigns

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and retired state Senator and Judge Quentin L. Kopp prevailed Monday in a lawsuit to invalidate Senate Bill 1107, a 2016 California law that would have allowed political campaigns to be financed with taxpayer dollars.

“California voters passed Proposition 73 partly to prohibit taxpayer dollars from being used as political slush funds,” said Jon Coupal, president of HJTA. “If politicians want to change that, they have to take the issue back to the voters.”

In a unanimous decision, the Third District Court of Appeal ruled that voters outlawed public funding of political campaigns when they adopted Proposition 73, co-authored by Kopp, in 1988.

Proposition 73 provided,“No public officer shall expend and no candidate shall accept any public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office.” Senate Bill 1107 would have provided instead that “a candidate may expend or accept public moneys for the purpose of seeking elective office.” The Legislature, in passing Senate Bill 1107, included a finding that the bill furthered the purposes of Proposition 73. The Court of Appeal rejected that finding.

Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association opposed SB 1107 and consistently opposes public funding of campaigns.

HJTA and Kopp are represented by Charles H. Bell, Jr., a leading California political law attorney with the firm of Bell, McAndrews and Hiltachk; Anthony T. (Tom) Caso, with the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence; and Allen Dickerson, with the Center for Competitive Politics.

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