Sec. 425. - Disqualification due to campaign contributions.A councilmember shall not participate in, nor use his or her official position to influence, a decision of the City Council if it is reasonably foreseeable that the decision will have a material financial effect, apart from its effect on the public generally or a significant portion thereof, on a recent major campaign contributor. As used herein, "recent major campaign contributor" means a person who has made campaign contributions totaling two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) or more to the councilmember or to any campaign committee controlled by the councilmember in the twelve-month period immediately preceding the date of the decision. The mayor is a councilmember for purposes of this section.
Sec. 2-107. - Prohibited campaign contributions.No councilmember or any campaign committee controlled by the councilmember shall solicit or accept any campaign contribution or loan of two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00) or more from any person for a period of three (3) months following the date a final decision is rendered in any proceeding before the council involving a license, permit, or other entitlement, if the councilmember knows or has reason to know that the person had a financial interest in the proceeding. Financial interest, for purposes of this section, shall have the meaning it is defined to have in Title 9 of the California Government Code (the Political Reform Act). The mayor is a councilmember for purposes of this section.
Some may ask how can an elected official be influenced by a mere $250? (In Long Beach the limits are higher -- $350 for council and $500 for the mayor.) Campaign contributions are an indicator of support and while the amount doesn't look high enough to really have an impact on a vote, the reality is that the contribution is what it is: support for the elected official.
I am going to move forward on proposing these reforms -- with more to come about limiting how and when former City employees and/or appointees to key City Commissions, Committees and Boards may lobby or represent clients after they leave employment or appointment.