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Whittier : Council Seeks Pre-Election Disclosure of Contributions

October 29, 1992

A dispute over a $40,000 donation to a political organization has prompted officials to seek laws forcing disclosure of all campaign contributions before city elections.

Council members said such rules are needed so voters would know, before Election Day, who gave money to local candidates and political organizations. Some campaign reporting deadlines currently fall after the election.

Mayor Bob Henderson said the issue arose over a $40,000 campaign contribution by the Chevron Land and Development Co., which proposes building hundreds of homes in the Whittier Hills.

A month before the April municipal election, Chevron gave $40,000 to Whittier Citizens for Responsible Government. The organization used the money to send absentee ballots to Whittier residents, said John Pollara, former chairman of the group.

Councilman Allan Zolnekoff, a critic of the organization, called the contribution "an attempt to buy an election," adding, "I feel the public has a right to know before the election, not after it."

Pollara said Citizens for Responsible Government targeted conservative voters but did not use the mailing to promote the three council candidates it endorsed. He said he had no objection to the proposed ordinance.

Before drafting new rules, the city attorney will investigate their legality and enforcement, officials said. If the city cannot adopt such rules, it will seek a revision of state law, officials said.

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