POLITICS (Sacramento City Hall): "Behests" to nonprofits, unlimited donations to charities favored by Sacramento city officials: Editorial, "FPPC must limit donations to politicians' charities"....
***Following up on earlier item noted here ("behests" to nonprofits affiliated with Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson and Councilman Jay Schenirer)....
* Sacramento Bee (editorial): "FPPC must limit donations to politicians' charities" - From the Bee:
Even in a political town like Sacramento, the numbers are eye-popping. Last year, more than $7.1 million in contributions flooded charities favored by Mayor Kevin Johnson and other Sacramento City Council members. That compares to barely $500,000 in "behests" in 2011 and less than $16,000 in 2005. The 2012 total is three times more than payments solicited by all 120 members of the state Legislature combined, according to an analysis by The Bee's Ryan Lillis published on Sunday.
It shows just how much these unlimited donations from deep-pocketed corporations and wealthy individuals have grown as a backdoor way to win favor with Sacramento's elected officials. Our local politicians also have the dubious distinction of apparently being the only ones in California ever fined for running afoul of the only real rule governing these payments – reporting within 30 days those of $5,000 or more in a calendar year from the same source.
Last December, the state Fair Political Practices Commission penalized Johnson $37,500 – $1,500 for each of 25 violations of the reporting requirement on behests totaling more than $3.5 million and going back to 2009. He blamed an "unintentional administrative lapse."
The mayor is driving this surge of money, responsible for more than 90 percent of the total last year. . . . . . . .
Enforcing the disclosure requirements – highlighted by the FPPC as an increased area of focus in 2012 – is important. But it's not enough. Chairwoman Ann Ravel and other commissioners need to take a hard look at restricting behests before they spin further out of control. Just as there are limits on contributions to elected officials while they're seeking office, there should be appropriate limits on donations to favored charities while they're serving.
The politicians and contributors say there's nothing untoward going on. The money is going to worthy causes, they say, and undoubtedly some of it is. But the potential forcan't be ignored............