It's been an eventful month in the battle over a June ballot measure that would create a pilot program to allow candidates for secretary of state to draw on state money to finance their campaigns, permanently repealing the state's ban on public financing in the process.
State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley
Yesterday, opponents of Proposition 15 attacked its legislative sponsor, state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, for inviting lobbyists to a political fundraiser and breaking bread with the same people whose influence the measure is designed to weaken.
"Even by Sacramento standards, the hypocrisy is astonishing," said Richard Wiebe, a spokesman for StopProp15.com. "She's taking full advantage of the system she characterizes as the root of all that is evil in the Capitol."
The icing on the attacks was a sarcastic cake sent to the fundraiser held by Prop.15. Hancock acknowledged that lobbyists were at the event but argued she was simply raising money within the rules as they exist today.
"If there were public financing, I wouldn't be doing it," she told the LA Times. "In the meantime, while I am trying to change the rules, I am following the rules."
The fundraiser flap follows two superior court rulings earlier this month as the proposition's supporters and opponents sparred over how the measure would be presented to voters.
The first suit, filed by Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – a prominent Prop. 15 opponent – ended with the measure's ballot language being changed to specify that it would permanently repeal a ban on the public financing of campaigns.
Taxpayer money has been banned from California elections for more than two decades, and opponents of the bill have crowed about the public financing repeal for months. The subject was raised in a legislative analysis of Hancock's bill, but slipped largely under the radar until the ruling earlier this month.
In a second suit last week, a superior court judge sided with the measure's supporters when he ruled that the ballot argument against the proposition could not imply that it would raise taxes. Public financing in Prop. 15 is supposed to be funded by an increase in lobbyist registration fees.
A trade group representing lobbyists unsuccessfully filed suit last year to have the measure taken off the ballot.