Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Heather blows the cap, first time in history?


The San Francisco Ethics Commission announced today that San Francisco’s $90,000 voluntary spending limit for candidates for the Board of Education of the San Francisco Unified School District in the November election has been lifted. Elimination of the spending limit was triggered by one candidate, Heather Hiles, who rejected the voluntary spending limit and made expenditures of funds in excess of the spending limit. Yesterday afternoon, Ms. Hiles filed a form, as required by law, indicating that she had made expenditures to her campaign exceeding 100 percent of the $90,000 voluntary spending limit. Accordingly, by law, the Ethics Commission is required to lift the spending limit.

The Commission has notified all candidates for the School Board that the spending limit is no longer in effect in that election.

Under the City’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance, the voluntary spending limit for candidates for the office of Board of Education is lifted if a candidate who does not agree to abide by the spending limits receives contributions or makes qualified campaign expenditures in excess of 100 percent of the $90,000 voluntary spending limit. The limit is also lifted when a committee, or committees in the aggregate, make independent expenditures in support of or in opposition to a candidate that exceed 100 percent of the $90,000 spending limit.

Michael Garcia, Chairperson of the Ethics Commission, said: “It’s clear that the voters want voluntary spending limits because they approved it by a vote of nearly 80 percent in 1999. However, the lifting of the limits for the first time in a school board race makes clear that the Commission must revisit the law and make adjustments as necessary to make sure that spending limits are meaningful. I hope the Commission will be able to consider these matters after the November election.”
All candidates running for City office who agreed by the deadline to comply with the voluntary spending limits are acknowledged in the Voter Information Handbook distributed to San Francisco voters."

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