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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Hired Firm to Defend Campaign Reform

October 03, 1994|DEBRA CANO

The city attorney's office is looking for a few good law firms with experience defending local campaign ordinances.

The City Council recently decided to find an outside attorney to fight a lawsuit challenging the city's campaign reform ordinance.

The lawsuit, filed Aug. 2 in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, contends that the city's campaign law restricts freedom of speech.

Mayor Linda Moulton Patterson said hiring an expert in the field of campaign law would be in the city's best interest.

"It's just such an important case," she said. "The people are very tired of these large special interest groups dumping large sums of money into Huntington Beach council races to get their candidates elected."

The lawsuit challenges the city's $300 limit on individual campaign contributions to any political committee.

Shirley Grindle, an advocate for campaign reform who succeeded in getting the county to pass a campaign reform law, said she supports the city hiring an outside attorney.

Grindle said the case affects other Orange County cities that have similar campaign reform laws.

"If this section (challenged by the lawsuit) is dropped out of the ordinance, it will create a loophole big enough to drive a Mack truck through," Grindle said.

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