Commission Weighs Campaign Contribution Hike Plan

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday September 17, 2009 - 09:48:00 AM

Money could play an even more crucial role in Berkeley politics if members of the city’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission (FCPC) approves a proposal to raise contribution limits. 

The proposal will come up for consideration at Thursday night’s FCPC meeting, which begins at 7:30 p.m. (tonight) in the North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave. at Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 

Currently, donors are limited to a maximum of $250 for any individual candidate, though City Councilmember Gordon Wozniak has been pushing to raise the spending cap. 

The commission will also discuss whether or not to hold a public hearing or workshop to consider raising the contribution limit and to discuss modifications of rules governing so-called independent expenditures. 

Also slated for discussion at the meeting is a proposal to add new pre-election reporting requirements for independent expenditure committees, assessment of late filing penalties for alleged violations of the Berkeley Election Reform Act by BASTA! (Berkeleyans Against Soaring Taxes) and a proposed settlement of an FCPC action against former City Council candidate Barbara Gilbert. 

BASTA was formed in 2004 to oppose four proposed ballot measures that increased property taxes in the city.