The Council and Task force recognized that monetary contributions to political campaigns are a legitimate form of citizen participation, but that the financial strength of individuals or organizations should not permit them to exercise a controlling influence on the election of candidates. The intended purposes of the City's voluntary campaign expenditure and mandatory contribution limitations ordinance are:
- To minimize the potentially corrupting influence and appearances of corruption caused by excessive contributions; and
- To limit overall expenditures in campaigns, thereby allowing candidates to spend less time fundraising and more time communicating with voters; and
- To provide incentives that encourage candidates to voluntarily limit their campaign expenditures.
Candidates who agree to the campaign spending and contribution limitations are entitled to be featured (at no charge to themselves) on the City's website.
The expenditure limitation cap is established every election year by using the most recent census records and a rate per City resident.
The 2014 election year expenditure limit is $38,064 (63,440 residents x $.60) [effective August 8, 2014]. The contribution limit is $350 per individual and organization [effective August 8, 2014]. Candidates must agree to:
- Spend $1,000 in support of their candidacy or procure 250 signatures of City electors
- Form a controlled committee
- Accept voluntary contribution and mandatory contribution limits
- Provide information from any organization upon the request of the City of Santa Cruz