Thursday, July 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

FPPC gains power, lacks a chairperson

walters column sig

By
From page A11 | April 11, 2014 |

Whether it’s football, tiddlywinks, poker or politics, the rules of the game can play a big role in determining who wins.

Every election produces examples of that adage – of elections won or lost because of the rules governing voting procedures, setting the boundaries of legislative or congressional districts, limiting campaign contributions and/or expenditures, or prescribing how votes are to be tallied.

The 2000 presidential election, one might recall, hinged on conflict over “hanging chads” and other minute details of voting in Florida that was eventually settled by a divided U.S. Supreme Court.

Two years ago, California voters faced two very contentious ballot measures, one to raise taxes, the other to weaken the political clout of labor unions.

However, the issues themselves were overshadowed by a big blowup over $11 million that flowed into campaigns from an opaque string of front groups.

The state Fair Political Practices Commission vigorously pursued the sources of the money, but only some of the original donors were revealed. It levied fines against the groups it could identify.

The flap over the $11 million in clandestine contributions probably had more effect on the outcome of the two ballot measures than the money itself. The donors, whoever they might be, wound up on the losing ends of both.

Nevertheless, it gave rise to some supposedly corrective legislation, including Assembly Bill 800, which was signed recently by Gov. Jerry Brown, whose 1974 ballot measure created the Fair Political Practices Commission.

AB 800 does several things, but the most important may be to empower the FPPC to conduct audits prior to an election, rather than afterward, even if no reports have yet been filed.

Transparency is a worthy goal, but this is dangerous territory and needs a deft touch because it potentially allows one political faction to trigger an investigation of another during a campaign and affect the outcome, as did the flap over the $11 million in 2012. And it could happen as soon as this year because AB 800 takes effect on July 1.

In other words, the FPPC chairperson, who is appointed by the governor, could – wittingly or otherwise – intervene in an election for one side.

And who, one might wonder, would it be? Ann Ravel, the Brown-appointed chairwoman whose 2012 investigation impacted those two ballot measures, resigned last year to become a member of the Federal Election Commission, but Brown has yet to name a successor.

Leaving the position vacant in an election year, with a new law providing much-enhanced power over election rules and potential outcomes, seems rather odd. And Brown’s office isn’t providing any reasons for the delay.

“We’re certainly aware of the vacancy and candidates are being interviewed,” a Brown spokesman emailed.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him as dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Artists with trowels transform highway wall

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Bertani schedules town hall meet

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
 
County court employees rally against cuts, furloughs

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3, 10 Comments | Gallery

Crews to begin Vacaville slurry seal street project

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

 
2nd candidate eyes Vacaville mayoral run

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

Vacaville police arrest fugitive Dezmon Frazier

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4, 6 Comments

 
 
Sesame Street USO tour visits Travis

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Carranza | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: July 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Weather for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: July 21, 2013

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Lawsuit tests racial policy at California prisons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Lockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Honduran families deported back to a bleak future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

.

Opinion

Is Logue tripping over words?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Watch out for Bobby Jindal

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A7

 
Rick Perry’s contradiction

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoons for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Good men lost due to Bergdahl

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

I resent my husband for not defending me to his mother

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for July 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Filmmaker Michael Moore’s divorce is finalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 3 Comments

CBS says Colbert keeping CBS’ ‘Late Show’ in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
CBS event marks civil rights anniversary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Cespedes hits 2 HRs, A’s hold off Astros 9-7

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Big innings fuels 16-1 Expos victory in Area 1 opener

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders start to arrive for start of camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

 
Tight end Vernon Davis arrives at 49ers training camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Pence drives in 3, Giants beat Phillies 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
4 Cities to meet with USOC about 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Testimony ends in trial over $2B Clippers sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Playful Pole wins Tour stage, as Nibali marches on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Mavericks’ Felton pleads guilty in NYC gun case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles reach deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Seattle’s Sidney Rice announces his retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Broncos owner giving up control due to Alzheimer’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

GM issues 6 more safety recalls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Joseph Ross Smith Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9