The Commerce City Council has unanimously approved an ordinance that limits to $500 contributions from an individual donor to a council candidate.
The ordinance, which takes effect 30 days after its formal adoption on May 4, is a modified version of a measure proposed by Councilwoman Ruth R. Aldaco in February. That proposal, which also would have limited a candidate's campaign spending to $10,000 per election, was defeated for lack of a second.
City Atty. William Camil advised councilmen that the U.S. Supreme Court had deemed unconstitutional such limits on campaign spending.
In addition to the limit on contributions, from which the candidate is exempt, the ordinance requires unspent campaign funds in excess of $5,000 to be returned to contributors or donated to charity. The ordinance also limits total anonymous contributions to a candidate for a single election to $200.
Successful candidates convicted of violating the ordinance, a misdemeanor, are to be removed from office.
In the race for two Commerce City Council seats last year, Councilman James B. Dimas led four other candidates in contributions and spending with $23,378 and $22,437, respectively.