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South Bay Digest

Hermosa Beach : Election Contribution Limit

July 30, 1987

The City Council voted 4 to 0 this week to limit campaign contributions to no more than $249 from a single source.

The ordinance also will prohibit the city seal from being used on campaign literature and will require that candidates file an affidavit stating that any claimed or implied endorsement was made with the person's written consent.

A violation of the ordinance by either a candidate or contributor would be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine up to $1,000, six months in jail or both. Falsifying an affidavit would be perjury--a felony--which is punishable by imprisonment for up to three years.

The ordinance will apply the same restrictions to campaign contributions that state law applies to gifts. Under state law, it would be a conflict of interest for a public official to vote on any issue involving a donor of a gift valued at $250 or more.

Councilman Tony DeBellis, who is running for reelection in November, abstained from voting. He has said he supports the ordinance but felt it would be a conflict of interest to vote on the issue because his campaign committee already has accepted donations larger than $249.

City Atty. James Lough has said that a candidate can accept contributions larger than $249 until Aug. 27, when the law will take effect. Candidates are allowed to spend as much of their own money on their campaigns as they want, but the ordinance will prohibit them from getting a bank loan for more than $249 to use in the campaign, Lough said.

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