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Ordinance Proposed to Limit Slate Mailers

April 14, 2002

Re "Slate Mailers Need Scrutiny," Editorial, March 31:

Thank you for spotlighting the legal loophole that allows unlimited contributions to campaign slate mailers.

This is not news to Irvine, where we have strict, voter-mandated campaign-contribution limits. In our last election, some Irvine candidates faced an uphill battle against an onslaught of more than a dozen mailers sent by Hometown Voter Guide.

This project reported spending more than $200,000 that apparently was not subject to contribution limits. As The Times says, it is difficult to determine whether a candidate "received what is tantamount to an unreported campaign contribution." Further, The Times correctly concludes that "regulators will be hard-pressed to determine whether candidates are skirting donation limits by encouraging cash-flush supporters to make donations to friendly mailers."

Nevertheless, it is clear that donations that are 20 to 30 times larger than the Irvine limits violate the intent of Irvine voters. Therefore, I have asked the city attorney to prepare an ordinance to plug this loophole in our election laws.

The voters rightly expect and deserve to know that the limits they voted into law are respected.

Greg Smith

Irvine City Council

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