California Democrats postpone proposal to ban contributions from law enforcement and fossil fuel groups


The California Democratic Party deferred its decision on Sunday on a proposal by racial justice and environmental activists to reject future campaign contributions from law enforcement organizations and fossil fuel companies.

Instead, the party’s executive committee voted create a new committee review all of its campaign contributors and report for another vote in February. The new panel will examine these bans and suggest ways to offset the potential loss of millions of dollars in contributions from banned industries and individuals. The party will not accept contributions from law enforcement or fossil fuel companies until next year’s vote.

The initial proposal was touted as a way for the state’s Democratic Party – the largest in the country – to align its rhetoric on racial justice and the environment with its funding sources.

“This party cannot pretend they think black lives matter and put that sign in their window and then allow the police association’s money to flow through the back door,” the committee told the committee. Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter. Sunday in support of the ban on contributions to the police.

Last year, The Chronicle reported that the state party had accepted $ 1.8 million since 2017 from four police unions and other organizations representing law enforcement officials. Officials said on Sunday that the party had not accepted any contributions from law enforcement or fossil fuel sources since 2020.

Cutting off the flow of political contributions from police unions to politicians is a key part of the police reform movement, Alex Vitale, author of “The End of Policing,” told The Chronicle’s “It’s All Political” podcast.

“The way to do this is to attack campaign contributions and the supports they distribute and make them politically toxic to elected officials,” Vitale said.

The proposals would have affected only the state party – not individual Democratic office holders and candidates. A group affiliated with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association donated $ 1.75 million to support Governor Gavin Newsom in the recent unsuccessful attempt to recall him.

The initial proposal, brought by the progressive wing of the party and members of the environmental justice organization Sunrise Movement – who were protesting outside the state party’s headquarters during Sunday’s meeting – would have banned contributions by more $ 100 from investor-owned utilities, fossil fuel executives, lobbyists and political action committees.

The law enforcement ban would have prohibited the party from accepting contributions of more than $ 100 from organizations that exclusively represent law enforcement personnel, private prison entities and law enforcement leaders. order, executives, lobbyists and political action committees.

But while even many Democrats have expressed support for the spirit of the bans on Sunday, several have said they must be included as part of a comprehensive strategic review of the party’s sources of funding beyond fossil fuels and law enforcement sources.

“It’s important for us to have a process that looks at the totality of how we raise funds,” State party vice president David Campos of San Francisco said on Sunday. “We need to look at the issue of real estate money, developers’ money. We need to look at the issues regarding some of the corporate donations that come from, including companies that are not necessarily the best in terms of treating workers. “

Campos added that “the next step after this vote is that we take responsibility for making sure that we also raise funds from the right sources for the party. It is not enough to say, “Don’t take that kind of money. We need to make sure we raise the funds we need to be successful. “

Some speakers expressed frustration that the party is delaying in taking action on an issue so important to many of its members. Aura Vasquez tweeted of Los Angeles, who spoke in favor of the fossil fuel ban at the meeting: “It is so painful to see fellow Democrats in the AC tiptoeing not to accept contributions. to fossil fuels and make statements against it. We have and must do better !!!

Joe Garofoli is the senior political editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @joegarofoli


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