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Supervisors to consider raising campaign spending limits

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider raising the limit of what individuals can contribute to county campaigns, from $1,675 per election cycle, to $2,500.

If approved, the new limit would apply to races for county supervisor, assessor, auditor-controller, county clerk-recorder, district attorney, sheriff-coroner, and treasurer-tax collector.

The Contra Costa County Election Campaign Ordinance was first adopted in 1984. The $1,675 limit for individual campaign contributions to non-supervisorial county office candidates was last revised in 2004.

The limit for individual campaign contributions to supervisorial candidates was last revised in 2005. The proposed new limit of $2,500 could be extended to $5,000 in two circumstances: where the total cumulative expenditures of the committee or committees making independent expenditures opposing the candidate or supporting the candidate's opponent equal $75,000 or more; or when the candidate faces a self-funded opponent, as defined by county ordinance.

According to a staff report for Tuesday's meeting, all other provisions of the election campaign ordinance would remain unchanged.

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The report also explains why the raise is being proposed for the first time in 16 years.

"The cost of election campaigns has significantly increased due to the rising cost of living and the increased cost for outreach resulting from the increased county population," the report says. "Another related factor in rising campaign costs is the larger role of independent expenditure committees for or against candidates in campaigns at the local level. Independent expenditure committees can raise large sums of money that can have an impact on the outcome of an election. Raising the individual campaign contribution limits for county elected offices will help candidates offset the potential impacts of the changes that have raised the costs of local campaigns."

A state law that took effect on Jan. 1, 2021, applies campaign contribution limits of $4,900 per election (adjusted every odd year) to city and county races in jurisdictions that don't already have their own laws. Contra Costa's ordinance supersedes it.

If adopted, the new limits would go into effect March 2.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meets virtually at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The meeting can be viewed at www.contracosta.ca.gov or on Zoom.

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Supervisors to consider raising campaign spending limits

by Tony Hicks / Bay City News Service

Uploaded: Mon, Jan 17, 2022, 3:53 pm

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will consider raising the limit of what individuals can contribute to county campaigns, from $1,675 per election cycle, to $2,500.

If approved, the new limit would apply to races for county supervisor, assessor, auditor-controller, county clerk-recorder, district attorney, sheriff-coroner, and treasurer-tax collector.

The Contra Costa County Election Campaign Ordinance was first adopted in 1984. The $1,675 limit for individual campaign contributions to non-supervisorial county office candidates was last revised in 2004.

The limit for individual campaign contributions to supervisorial candidates was last revised in 2005. The proposed new limit of $2,500 could be extended to $5,000 in two circumstances: where the total cumulative expenditures of the committee or committees making independent expenditures opposing the candidate or supporting the candidate's opponent equal $75,000 or more; or when the candidate faces a self-funded opponent, as defined by county ordinance.

According to a staff report for Tuesday's meeting, all other provisions of the election campaign ordinance would remain unchanged.

The report also explains why the raise is being proposed for the first time in 16 years.

"The cost of election campaigns has significantly increased due to the rising cost of living and the increased cost for outreach resulting from the increased county population," the report says. "Another related factor in rising campaign costs is the larger role of independent expenditure committees for or against candidates in campaigns at the local level. Independent expenditure committees can raise large sums of money that can have an impact on the outcome of an election. Raising the individual campaign contribution limits for county elected offices will help candidates offset the potential impacts of the changes that have raised the costs of local campaigns."

A state law that took effect on Jan. 1, 2021, applies campaign contribution limits of $4,900 per election (adjusted every odd year) to city and county races in jurisdictions that don't already have their own laws. Contra Costa's ordinance supersedes it.

If adopted, the new limits would go into effect March 2.

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors meets virtually at 9 a.m. Tuesday. The meeting can be viewed at www.contracosta.ca.gov or on Zoom.

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