Feuer Urges Election Reforms

TIMES STAFF WRITER

After his election defeat, Los Angeles Councilman Mike Feuer called Wednesday on the city to change its laws to discourage people from making independent expenditures like the ones that helped his opponent win the city attorney's race.

In a motion presented to the council, Feuer asked the city to make a variety of election law revisions, including giving matching funds to candidates in races with opponents who have benefited from large sums in so-called independent expenditures. Such spending is done to aid a candidate but is independent of his campaign organization.

In the city attorney's race, more than $900,000 in independent expenditures was made on behalf of his opponent, Rocky Delgadillo, who won with 52.4% of the vote. Billboard companies accounted for $426,000 of those expenditures, while Mayor Richard Riordan kicked in $265,000.

"Independent expenditures played a much larger role in the recent election than any of our experts or rules anticipated," said Feuer, who in the past took a hard line against billboard companies. "A few wealthy individuals and special interests exerted influence disproportionate to their numbers, diminishing the role played by individual contributors, increasing the pressure on other candidates to raise money."

Under the councilman's motion, contribution and spending limits would be lifted for the opponents of a candidate who benefits from independent expenditures that exceed $200,000 in the mayoral race and $100,000 in the city attorney's race. Limits would remain in place for the candidate supported by the independent spending.

Kristina Scott, a former Delgadillo campaign manager, declined to say whether Delgadillo will oppose the measure, which the city Ethics Commission is expected to review in coming weeks.

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