dan schnur

Professor Dan Schnur listens as then-Mayor Villaraigosa speaks during a leadership class Schnur teaches at USC. Schnur announced Friday he is running for California secretary of state. (Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times / January 24, 2012)

SACRAMENTO -- USC politics professor and former Republican strategist Dan Schnur announced Friday that he will run for California secretary of state on a platform of proposals that includes banning lawmakers from campaign fund-raising while the Legislature is in session.

A former spokesman to Republicans including  Gov. Pete Wilson and 2000 presidential candidate John McCain, Schnur dropped his Republican Party affiliation in 2011 and plans to run as a "no party preference" candidate.

Schnur is on leave as director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC, where he also teaches political science classes.  He is also former chairman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces campaign finance laws.

"I know how the system works, I know how it's broken and I know how to fix it," Schnur said during a news conference at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento.

He has proposed dramatic changes in the way political campaigns are funded. He proposed that all political donations be disclosed to the public within 24 hours. To reduce influence of special interests, Schnur has proposed that lawmakers be prohibited from raising campaign funds while the Legislature is in session.

“Sacramento has become a never-ending smorgasbord of fundraising breakfasts of fundraising lunches and fundraising dinners every day that the Legislature is in session [that] has corrupted this process and it's long past time that we need to clean that process up," Schnur said.

Secretary of State Debra Bowen is prohibited by term limits from seeking reelection.

Schnur joins a crowded field of announced candidates that includes Republican academic Pete Peterson, Democratic state Sens. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), and Democrat Derek Cressman, former vice president for Common Cause.

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com