By: Supervisor Todd Spitzer
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pursue legislation to allow the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to enforce campaign finance and ethics rules in Orange County. The proposal was introduced at the behest of the Board’s ad hoc subcommittee of Chairman Shawn Nelson and Supervisor Todd Spitzer.
“Under current law, the FPPC is not allowed to enforce Orange County’s campaign finance regulations and gift restrictions,” Supervisor Spitzer said. “Contracting with the FPPC will allow the state’s watchdog agency to provide enforcement, auditing, and training services for campaign finance laws and gift restrictions in Orange County.”
In late June, the Board of Supervisors formed an ad hoc subcommittee to research ways to strengthen ethics enforcement in Orange County. The ad hoc subcommittee examined AB 2146 (Cook, 2012), which was state legislation that permitted San Bernardino County to contract with the FPPC for enforcement of ethics rules.
In September, Chairman Nelson and Supervisor Spitzer met with Janice Rutherford, Chairwoman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors. After a series of scandals rocked San Bernardino County, Rutherford ran on a platform of cleaning up San Bernardino County government and defeated a sitting Supervisor to win the November 2010 elections. Rutherford proposed that San Bernardino County contract with the FPPC for enforcement, auditing, and training. Assemblyman Paul Cook carried the state legislation that permitted San Bernardino do so, which was signed into law in 2012 and took effect in 2013.
Rutherford, her staff, and San Bernardino County’s in-house counsel who worked on the proposal, shared their experiences passing the state legislation necessary to permit the County and the FPPC to negotiate a contract, making the changes to County regulations needed to satisfy the FPPC, and working with the FPPC after the legislation, ordinance, and contract were implemented.
The FPPC was created in 1974 by California voters as part of Proposition 9, better known as the Political Reform Act. The proposal approved by the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday seeks to add Orange County to AB 2146 to allow OC to contract with the FPPC for enforcement, auditing, and training services related to ethics regulations.