Santa Ana City Council Campaign Contribution Law
Posted by Charles Hart on May 6, 2012
Tonight the Santa Ana City Council is going to, more than likely, vote to remove a restriction on campaign contributions and loans and the effect they play on how our Councilmembers vote.
California Government Code and the Political Reform Act, along with Santa Ana Charter, require that elected officials abstain from voting on any matter where the official received a campaign contribution of more than $250 in the 12 months immediately preceding a vote. In November 1996, Ordinance NS 2034 was adopted by the City Council which imposed an additional restriction prohibiting a Councilmember from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions or loans of more than $250 for a period of three months following a vote.
The current sitting Santa Ana City Council has been plagued with controversy over Councilmembers voting on matters for which they have received campaign contributions. Back in 2010, Councilmembers Sal Tinajero and Michele Martinez received several thousand dollars in campaign contributions from companies with a financial stake in a land project called the Station District. Without their votes the council did not have the votes to approve the project. The contributions came both before and after the vote.
This was in direct violation of the state and city laws discussed above, and when exposed, the Councilmembers returned the contributions, but the vote had already been cast. The legally correct thing to do would have been to undue the vote and sanction or fine the Councilmembers that illegally voted, but our City Council claimed it was too late to undue the contractual commitments made. A contract illegally entered into is void, and that is what should have occurred, but our Council once again failed to do the right thing.
Tonight our City Council is going to try and make things right by simply making the law that makes what they do illegal, go away. So if we stop saying that robbery is illegal then it’s okay for us to rob and be robbed – right?
Wrong! A rose by any other name is still a rose; and the practice of putting your vote out for sale is wrong. Santa Ana City Councilmembers are very arrogant in the positions of authority that they have been elected to and have repeatedly said “Hey, if you don’t like it – vote me out.” Well, I agree with that statement and I urge the Santa Ana Voters to do just that this November.