At FPC, our policy team always takes a calculating and methodical approach to serious political matters–especially those that could have a serious downside or negative consequences.
One such political issue that is fraught with peril if not carefully planned, funded, timed, and targeted are recall efforts.
For example, Title 2, Division 6, Section 18531.5 of the California Code of Regulations states:
“The [campaign finance] contribution limits of Chapter 5….do not apply to contributions accepted by an elected state officer who is the target of a recall….the voluntary expenditure limits of the Act do not apply to expenditures made by an elected state officer who is the target of a recall to oppose the qualification of the recall measure or the recall election.”
So, if an elected state officer in California is the target of a recall (even if that recall has not qualified), there are no limits on the contributions that can be accepted or the expenditures made by that candidate’s recall committee.
Historically, California voters have not been sympathetic to the process. Indeed, in the past 30 years more than 100 recalls have been attempted in the state, only six have even qualified for the ballot, and a mere three were successful.
In recent memory, one might remember the successful Colorado recalls. However, the political environment was and is much different there. In those recalls the people in the affected districts were so incensed that they started recalls against their own representative.
In California, a recall campaign–even an unsuccessful one – could lead to empowering the target with unlimited campaign fundraising capacity, allowing them to collect money to use not only to defeat the recall, but to retain their position of power in the next regular election cycle.