An anonymous complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) was filed (complaint ID 07202023-02023) alleging that Pasadena Mayor Victor Gordo’s campaign has exceeded state-imposed campaign contribution limits, in the 2023-2024 election cycle, but there could be a catch.
By News Desk
Assembly Bill 571 sets limits how much a candidate can receive in campaign contributions, specifically for cities that do not set a contribution limit for themselves. Pasadena has not set a limit, therefore the City’s limit falls under this state law.
For 2023-2024, the contribution limit for an individual, business entity, committee or PAC contributing in local races is set at $5,500. Gordo’s 2023 campaign finance filings show that in June of 2023 his 2020 campaign committee for Mayor received $20,000 from the Southern California District Council of Laborers PAC, as well as another $20,000 from the Laborers Local 300 Small Contributor Committee. Each contribution appears to be $14,500 over the state-imposed contribution limit.
However, AB 571 went into effect on January 1, 2021, and the law’s contribution limits are not retroactive for campaigns prior to 2021. Further, the FPPC has determined that AB 571’s post-election fundraising requirements do not apply to campaigns for elections prior to Jan. 1, 2021. Thus, it could be the case that the unions just paid off most of Mayor Gordo’s old campaign debt, which, according to Gordo’s campaign finance reports, consisted of just over $40,000 in loans from himself to his 2020 campaign. Moving forward, this will not be allowed.
In 2021, after Gordo was elected, he supported an ordinance introduced to the Pasadena City Council that set “no” limit for campaign contributions, specifically to bypass AB 571. The ordinance was later tabled due to public opposition and was never revisited. When the ordinance was discussed at the October 18, 2021, Pasadena City Council meeting, Mark Jomsky, Pasadena City Clerk, clarified that the City must adhere to state campaign contribution limits per AB 571 as long as the City does not impose its own contribution limits (see Oct., 18, 2021 City Council meeting video beginning at the 3:32:53 – 3:33:18 minute mark).
> Additional Reading: Pasadena Needs To Get Money Out of Elections
Reina Esparza contributed to this article.
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