Press Release

Glazer Applauds Ruling Upholding Anti-Corruption law

Sacramento Superior Court rejects big business lawsuit seeking to block bill prohibiting “pay to play” schemes

SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento Superior Court today denied legal challenges to Senator Steve Glazer’s anti-corruption law that prohibits local elected officials from voting on matters from interest groups that have contributed $250 or more to that official.

“The court’s ruling rejected all claims by these special interest groups who fought to maintain their pay to play schemes,” Senator Glazer said. “It is a strike against the power of wealthy financial interests who are corrupting governmental decisions.

“Public trust is greatly enhanced when decision makers maintain their independence from these corrupting influences,” he added.

A coalition of business groups — including the California Building Industry Association, California Restaurant Association, California Retailers Association, California Business Roundtable – sued the Fair Political Practices Commission to stop the law. They asserted that the law violates campaign finance rules and freedom of speech rights of local elected officials and the interest groups who want to contribute to them. 

But, in a preliminary ruling, the Superior Court wrote “Because Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that AB 1439 violates Section 10(c) of Article II of the California Constitution, Plaintiff’s motion for judgment of the pleadings as to its second cause of action is DENIED…”

“In sum, Plaintiffs’ motion for judgment on the pleadings is DENIED, in its entirety,” the court ruled.

The Fair Political Practices Commission was the defendant represented by the Attorney General.

Under the law, local officials cannot receive a contribution of more than $250 in the 12 months after the vote on matters involving the donor. Officials would be able to return a contribution to avoid violating the new law and still vote on the matter.

The law applies to votes on real estate developments, trash hauling contracts and other matters where there is a direct link between an official’s vote and the financial interests of the donor.

California’s local governments have been plagued by scandals in which special interest entities pump campaign cash to the local government officials who determine their fate on licenses, permits, and contracts.