Voters approve measure on campaign finance

The Associated Press
Wednesday November 08, 2000

LOS ANGELES — Proposition 34, a plan to limit campaign spending crafted by politicians and denounced by good-government groups, was approved Tuesday by voters who faced their sixth campaign reform measure in 12 years. 

The initiative, placed on the ballot by the Legislature’s leadership, was approved by a nearly 3-2 margin. 

The measure would restrict California’s virtually unlimited campaign spending, but impose more lenient limits than those in a 1996 measure approved by voters. That measure, like all its predecessors, is tied up in court. 

The latest proposal was sponsored by the Legislature’s top Democrats, Senate leader John Burton of San Francisco and Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg of Van Nuys. 

“I think this is about as good as it gets,” Hertzberg said. “I think it reflects people’s frustration and desire for campaign finance reform.” 

Critics included California Common Cause and the League of Women Voters. A television ad attacking the initiative featured Arizona Sen. John McCain, who pushed for campaign finance reform in the U.S. Senate, and actor Warren Beatty. 

Opponents also included Tony Miller, a former top state elections official and supporter of the earlier campaign reform measure with lower limits. 

“It is filled with loopholes. It doesn’t really get the money out of politics at all. It just will be shifted around,” Miller said. 

It would limit per-election donations from most sources to the governor to $20,000, $5,000 for statewide races and $3,000 for legislative candidates. 

Political parties could give unlimited sums to campaigns, though they could collect no more than $25,000 a year from any one donor to support or oppose candidates. 

A donor could give limitless sums of money to a party if the cash was not meant for a specific campaign.