California Election Laws - Political Reform Act

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California Election Laws - Political Reform Act

California’s 1974 Political Reform Act serves to promote transparency and fairness in political and electoral processes. The act regulates a number of players in the political process, including:

First, the act requires that political candidates and ballot measure groups keep detailed records of their campaign contributions and expenditures and only use them for appropriate purposes. These rules include:

Limitations on Contributions

To promote equal treatment of all citizens by government officials, the act places limits on campaign contributions. This helps limit government influence from high capital entities. The specific limitations on contributions vary depending on the office a candidate is running for.


The act also seeks to monitor individuals and entities that serve to influence public officials and requires that all lobbyists register with the state and file reports showing receipts and expenditures of their lobbying activities. A lobbyist is defined as any party who is compensated for communicating directly with legislative officials to influence their activities.

Conflicts of Interest

To promote impartiality in the political process, the act requires that all public agencies adopt a conflict of interest code. These codes require that public officials file statements of economic interests and refrain from participating in political processes that affect their financial interests.

Statements of economic interest include a public official’s:

The Fair Political Practices Commission is charged with administering and enforcing the Political Reform Act. This includes:

Contacting an Attorney

If you have a government dispute, you should contact an attorney to help resolve your issue.

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Last Modified: 03-12-2014 10:27 AM PDT

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