Campaign Reforms Effective, Ethics Panel Study Finds

Eight years after Los Angeles voters approved a sweeping ethics and campaign finance reform measure, the city's Ethics Commission released its first report on the law's effects, showing it has resulted in more competitive city elections by controlling candidates' spending.

The study, released at the commission's monthly meeting Thursday, found overall that the law has reduced excessive fund-raising by incumbents, that candidates relied much more on individuals to fund their campaigns and that public matching funds enabled candidates to spend less time fund-raising and more time campaigning.

"It's exactly what we told voters they could expect if they approved the measure," said Rebecca Avila, the Ethics Commission's executive director.

The city law, considered one of the most comprehensive campaign finance systems in the country, sets limits on nonelection year fund-raising by incumbents, established public matching funds and sought limits on overall expenditures in campaigns. The Ethics Commission study examined the three city elections held since the campaign financing law was enacted.

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