Dr. Richard Pan Introduces Bill to Boost Campaign Ethics Oversight & Accountability

Senate Bill 267 to foster public trust in our political system by providing cost-effective oversight

February 9, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Dr. Richard Pan, a pediatrician and Senator representing the Sacramento region, announced today that he and Assemblymember Kevin McCarty have introduced a measure to allow the City of Sacramento to contract with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) to investigate and enforce the City’s campaign finance ordinance. 

“At a time when our federal government is looking for ways to weaken oversight, it is heartening to see the stark contrast between our City government officials who are actively seeking out ways to hold themselves accountable,” said Dr. Richard Pan. “With the mechanisms already in place to investigate and enforce possible ethics violations, it makes a lot of sense to contract with the state’s independent government watchdog.”

“When it comes to enforcing our local campaign finance laws, we do not need to recreate the wheel,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. “Contracting with the FPPC will achieve robust enforcement and compliance for what would likely be a fraction of the cost of investigating and enforcing campaign finance laws at the city level. Thank you to Dr. Pan and Assemblymember McCarty for championing legislation authorizing the City of Sacramento to begin down this path.”

“We must do all we can to ensure that our government is operating at the highest ethical level.” said Assemblymember Kevin McCarty (D – Sacramento), principal coauthor of the measure. “As a former Member of the Sacramento City Council, I worked closely to bring ethics reform to City Hall. This legislation by Senator Pan and myself will bring needed ethics oversight to Sacramento City Hall.”

SB 267 permits the City of Sacramento and the FPPC to enter into an agreement requiring the FPPC to investigate possible violations of the city’s campaign finance ordinance and bring administrative actions against candidates who violate the ordinance. The FPPC was created through the Political Reform Act of 1974, and provides impartial and independent enforcement of the Act. 

In January, the City of Sacramento approved a package of ethics reforms that will update the city’s campaign finance ordinance, as well as create a new ethics commission and a code-of-ethics ordinance. Enforcing such a robust campaign finance ordinance at the City level would be costly.  By contracting with the FPPC, the City will ensure a much more transparent and open election process at a lower cost to taxpayers.

Only two other local jurisdictions have authorized similar agreements with the FPPC through legislation: the County of San Bernardino and the City of Stockton.