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County Supes Schedule Hearing on Campaign Contributions

Plan proposes unlimited political party contributions and raising the individual limit.

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday scheduled a Dec. 4 public hearing on a plan to do away with a $1,000 limit on the amount of money political parties are allowed to contribute to candidates in county elections.

The proposal to amend the county’s campaign finance laws would end the restriction on party contributions and increase the $500 donation limit for individuals, in step with the area’s inflation rate.

Municipal elections in Poway, such as the race for City Council, have a $100 limit on contributions from political parties and individuals. In February, the Council debated raising the limit to $200, but the motion failed.

Poway’s municipal code on campaign spending and contributions is posted on the city’s website.

The county’s individual donation level would be adjusted for inflation by the Registrar of Voters in $50 increments, tied to changes in the consumer price index for San Diego County.

The supervisors unanimously voted, without comment, to schedule the public hearing.

The issue stems from the resolution of a lawsuit involving the city of San Diego, in which a judge struck down prior party contribution limits as being too restrictive.

City officials have been wrestling with proposed changes to San Diego’s campaign finance ordinance for most of this year. The City Council was scheduled to take action last week on proposed amendments, but the item was postponed to give the City Attorney’s Office more time to study certain legal issues.

Because of the judicial ruling, political parties can give as much money as they want in city of San Diego campaigns this year. The Nov. 6 general election will decide a replacement for termed-out Mayor Jerry Sanders and whether Councilwoman Sherri Lightner will retain her seat representing the northwestern portion of town.

-City News Service

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