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Joe Dunn and Orange Juice blogger Paul Lucas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 12, 2010

CONTACT: Carina Franck-Pantone (714) 675-3653

Senator Joe Dunn (ret.) to OC Board of Supervisors: Adopt Lobbying Reforms!
Joe Dunn Plans to Gather Citizen Signatures after Supervisors Refuse to Agendize Proposed
Lobbyist Registration & Activity Disclosure Reforms



SANTA ANA, CA – After the Orange County Board of Supervisors failed to agendize proposed reforms requiring lobbyists to register and report on their activities to influence county government on matters of public interest, Senator Joe Dunn (ret.) spoke during Public Comments, noting he filed a notice to circulate a petition before the voters. Confident taxpayers want County government to operate with transparency and accountability, Dunn plans to lead an effort to gather the nearly 73,000 signatures required to place the reforms on the November 2010 ballot.

While many counties including Los Angeles and San Diego have established reforms allowing the public to know who lobbies and on what issues, Orange County is one of the few counties with absolutely no requirements for lobbyists to register and report their activities.

“Especially in a county where the citizens have strong beliefs that government should not operate in secrecy, we owe it to the taxpayers to tell the whole story about how business is being conducted at County government,” stated the retired lawmaker.

Dunn noted last month’s Grand Jury investigation which found the County’s information technology department spent more than $45 million during the past four years on no-bid contracts. In nearly half of these cases, administrators failed to perform required internal checks, in violation of County policy. Another Grand Jury investigation into the County’s investments in Structured Investment Vehicles found several breakdowns in the oversight process of the County’s public funds.

Dunn points out that the absence of legal requirements for lobbyists to register and report their activities means there is no way for the public to know whether or not lobbying influence contributed to these problems.

During the next months, Dunn plans to build a coalition across the political spectrum to help give taxpayers more confidence in their elected officials – especially when the public’s trust in government is at an all-time low – through transparency created by these the reforms. He stressed that there should be no loopholes or exceptions in order to create “equal and fair play.”

Added Shirley Grindle, government watchdog and author of the county’s campaign finance ordinance TINCUP, “Creating accountability and transparency in county government is a necessary goal. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Joe Dunn on behalf of the public’s interests.”

Full body of the proposed reforms follows.
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NOTICE OF INTENT TO CIRCULATE PETITION
Notice is hereby given by the persons whose names appear hereon of their intention to circulate the petition within the County of Orange for the purpose amending the County Code to regulate lobbying of County officials. A statement of the reasons for the proposed action as contemplated in the petition is as follows:
A. Orange County citizens deserve an open, accessible, and accountable government.

B. However, Orange County does not presently require registration and reporting of attempts to influence how County officials vote on legislative matters, also known as “lobbying.”

C. Nor does Orange County require disclosure of attempts to influence how County officials vote on other County matters, like public contracting.

D. Public disclosure of private attempts to influence important matters affecting all of Orange County will improve public accountability.

E. Further, enacting these reforms by initiative will protect them from amendment or repeal by politicians since only the voters will be able to amend the substantive provisions of the initiative in the future.

Proponent:
Joe Dunn
1911 Heliotrope Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92706

INITIATIVE MEASURE TO BE SUBMITTED DIRECTLY TO VOTERS
[Insert title and summary prepared by County counsel]
To the Orange County Board of Supervisors: We the undersigned, registered, qualified voters of Orange County, California, hereby propose amendments to the Codified Ordinances of the County of Orange, relating to lobbying of County officials and petition the board to either enact the measure or submit the same to the voters of Orange County for their adoption or rejection at the next regularly scheduled County election or at any special County election for which the measure qualifies pursuant to sections 9116 or 9118 of the California Elections Code.
The people of the County of Orange ordain as follows:
Article 3 of Division 6 of Title 1 of the codified ordinances of the County of Orange is hereby added to read:

Sec. 1-6-40 Title

This Article shall be known and may be cited as the “Orange County Lobbyist Disclosure, Accountability and Reform Act.”

Sec. 1-6-41 Purpose

In order to promote accountability, transparency and full disclosure of attempts to influence County officials making decisions on legislative, administrative, and quasi-judicial matters, the registration, reporting, and regulation of lobbyists, and certain disclosures by public officials shall be required. Further, this Act may be amended only by the people voting on such a proposed amendment, except that the Board of Supervisors may amend the Act for the sole purpose of setting and revising the amount of the registration fee required under the Act.
Sec. 1-6-42 Definitions

A. “Administrative action” means the proposal, drafting, development, consideration, amendment, enactment, or defeat of any rule, regulation, policy, or other action in any proceeding that will apply generally to a group or class of persons.

B. “County elected official” means any person who holds an elective office of the County.

C. “County official” means a County elected official and any County officer or employee whose duties are not primarily clerical or manual.

D. “County lobbyist” means:

(1) any individual who is employed by a lobbyist employer and spends at least 25 percent of his or her compensated time communicating directly with a County official, other than public testimony, for the purpose of influencing official action on behalf of his or her employer; or

(2) any individual who receives or is entitled to receive $500 in compensation during any calendar month, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, to communicate directly with a County official, other than public testimony, for the purpose of influencing official action on behalf of the person providing such compensation.

(3) “County lobbyist” shall not mean a County official when acting in his or her official capacity, an elected state officer or state agency official acting in his or her official capacity, or an attorney or advocate representing a party to an administrative proceeding the decision of which is reviewable by a court pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 1094.5.

E. “County lobbyist employer” means a person, other than a County lobbying firm, who for economic consideration, other than reimbursement for reasonable travel expenses, either employs a County lobbyist or contracts for the services of a County lobbying firm.

F. “County lobbying firm” means an individual County lobbyist or a business entity that employs or is owned by a County lobbyist and which receives or is entitled to receive compensation for the purpose of influencing official action on behalf of the person providing such compensation.

G. “Ex parte communication” means any direct communication between a County lobbyist or County lobbyist employer and a County elected official attempting to influence quasi-judicial action that is not public testimony or made part of the public record.

H. “Influencing official action” means promoting, supporting, influencing, modifying, opposing, or delaying any administrative, legislative, or quasi-judicial action by any means, including but not limited to the provision or use of information, statistics, studies or analyses.

I. “Legislative action” means the proposal, drafting, development, consideration, amendment, enactment, or defeat of any County ordinance.

J. “Public testimony” means an appearance at a public meeting of the Board of Supervisors, any sub-committee of the Board, or any County agency or commission.

K. “Quasi-judicial action” means the consideration or re-consideration of the granting or denial of any permit, grant, license or other entitlement of use, and the awarding, granting or denial of any County contract for the purchase or sale of property, goods or services by the County or any agency of the County.

L. Any other term not defined by this section but defined in the California Political Reform Act or California Code of Regulations enacted thereto, shall govern the interpretation of this Article.

Sec. 1-6-43 Registration

A. A County lobbyist employer shall, within 10 days of an employee qualifying as a County lobbyist or contracting with a County lobbying firm, register with the County Registrar of Voters by filing a registration statement containing the following information:

(1) The name, business address, telephone, and email address of the County lobbyist employer and the name of the person who shall be responsible for filing statements required by this Article;

(2) The name, business address, telephone, and email address of each County lobbyist employed and each County lobbying firm retained by the County lobbyist employer;

(3) A brief description of the County lobbyist employer’s business, trade, or profession; and

(4) A statement that the County lobbyist employer has read and understands the requirements of this Article.

B. A County lobbying firm shall, within 10 days of receiving or becoming entitled to receive compensation from a County lobbyist employer, register with the County Registrar of Voters by filing a registration statement containing the following information:

(1) The name, business address, telephone, and email address of the County lobbying firm and the name of the person who shall be responsible for filing statements required by this Article;

(2) The name, business address, telephone, and email address of each County lobbyist employed by the County lobbying firm;

(3) The name, business address, telephone, and email address of each County lobbyist employer that has contracted for the services of the County lobbying firm and a brief description of the County lobbyist employer’s business, trade, or profession; and

(4) A statement that the County lobbying firm has read and understands the requirements of this Article.

C. A registration statement filed pursuant to this section shall remain in effect until December 31 of the year in which it was filed unless terminated by notifying the County Registrar of Voters, in writing, prior to December 31.

D. An amendment to a registration statement shall be filed within 10 days of the effective date of any change to a previously filed registration statement.

E. The County Registrar of Voters shall collect a registration fee from each County lobbyist employer and each County lobbying firm upon registration in order to offset the County’s cost of administering and enforcing the provisions of this Article. The amount of the fee shall be established by a resolution of the Board of Supervisors, amended from time-to-time as the Board deems necessary.

Sec. 1-6-44 Quarterly Reporting

A. No later than the end of the first month after the close of each calendar quarter which ends subsequent to the filing of an initial registration pursuant to Section 1-6-43 but prior to a registration termination, each County lobbyist employer shall file with the County Registrar of Voters a report containing the information set forth in subsections (1) through (6) below, regarding the County lobbyist employer’s activities during such calendar quarter. If the County lobbyist employer engaged in no activity as a County lobbyist employer during the quarter, the report shall so indicate.

(1) The full name, business address, telephone number, and email address of the County lobbyist employer;

(2) The full name, business address, and telephone number of each County lobbyist employed by the County lobbyist employer and the name, business address, and telephone number of each County lobbying firm contracted by the lobbyist employer;

(3) A description of the specific administrative, legislative, or quasi-judicial matter for which the County lobbyist or County lobbying firm attempted to influence official action;

(4) The total amount of all payments made to County lobbyists and County lobbying firms by the County lobbyist employer for County lobbying services;

(5) All gifts made or arranged by the County lobbyist employer and County lobbyists employed by the County lobbyist employer to County officials including the name and position of the beneficiary and of the payee if different than the beneficiary, and a description of the gift and its value; and

(6) All campaign contributions made to a County elected official by the County lobbyist employer and County lobbyists employed by the County lobbyist employer.

B. No later than the end of the first month after the close of each calendar quarter which ends subsequent to the filing of an initial registration pursuant to Section 1-6-43 but prior to a registration termination, each County lobbying firm shall file with the County Registrar of Voters a report containing the information set forth in subsections (1) through (6) below, regarding the County lobbying firm’s activities during such calendar quarter. If the County lobbying firm engaged in no activity as a County lobbyist employer during the quarter, the report shall so indicate.

(1) The full name, business address, telephone number, and email address of the County lobbying firm;

(2) The full name, business address, telephone number, and email address of each County lobbyist employed by the County lobbying firm and the amount paid to each County lobbyist;

(3) The full name, business address, telephone number and email address of each County lobbyist employer that has contracted for the services of the County lobbying firm and the amount paid to the County lobbying firm by each County lobbyist employer, including a description of the specific administrative, legislative, or quasi-judicial matter for which the County lobbyist or County lobbying firm attempted to influence official action;

(4) The total amount of all payments received by the County lobbying firm by County lobbyist employers;

(5) All gifts made or arranged by the County lobbying firm and County lobbyists employed by the County lobbying firm to County officials including the name and position of the beneficiary and of the payee if different than the beneficiary, and a description of the gift and its value; and

(6) All campaign contributions made to a County elected official by the County lobbying firm and County lobbyists employed by the County lobbying firm.

C. Within 90 days from the effective date of this Article, the County shall implement a system of electronic registration and reporting required herein, which shall be made available for public inspection on the County’s website. During the interim period, the County shall accept registration and reporting on forms developed by the County or on forms developed by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, if no County forms are developed, which shall be made available for public inspection on the County’s website.

Sec. 1-6-45 Disclosure of Ex Parte Communications

A. A County elected official shall disclose the identity of the County lobbyist and County lobbyist employer for all ex parte communications regarding quasi-judicial matters pending before the Board as follows:

(1) For ex parte communications that occur prior to the day that the agenda is posted for the next board meeting, the County elected official shall notify the Clerk of the Board of the agenda item and identity of the County lobbyist and County lobbyist employer who engaged in the ex parte communication and that information shall be noted on the agenda under the agenda item to which the ex parte communication relates.

(2) For ex parte communications that occur on the day the agenda is posted and through the day of the board meeting, the County elected official shall verbally notify the Clerk of the Board and the public of the identity of the County lobbyist and County lobbyist employer prior to the agenda item being addressed by the Board during the public meeting of the Board.

Sec. 1-6-46 Prohibited Acts

No County lobbyist or County lobbying firm shall:

(a) Do anything with the purpose of placing any County official under personal obligation to the County lobbyist, the County lobbying firm, or the County lobbyist’s or the firm’s employer.

(b) Deceive or attempt to deceive any County official with regard to any material fact pertinent to any pending or proposed legislative, administrative, or quasi-judicial action.

(c) Cause or influence the introduction of any legislative, administrative, or quasi-judicial action for the purpose of thereafter being employed to secure its passage or defeat.

(d) Attempt to create a fictitious appearance of public favor or disfavor of any proposed legislative, administrative, or quasi-judicial action or to cause any communication to be sent to any County official in the name of any fictitious person or in the name of any real person, except with the consent of such real person.

(e) Represent falsely, either directly or indirectly, that the County lobbyist or the County lobbying firm can control the official action of any County official.

(f) Accept or agree to accept any payment in any way contingent upon the defeat, enactment, or outcome of any proposed legislative, administrative, or quasi-judicial action.

Sec. 1-6-47 Enforcement

Violation of any of the provisions of this Article may be enforced pursuant to Section 1-1-34, et. seq. of the codified ordinances of Orange County as a misdemeanor or as an infraction as provided for in Section 1-1-39.

Sec. 1-6-48 Amendment

The provisions of this Article may only be amended or repealed by a vote of the people pursuant to California Elections Code Section 9125, except the Board of Supervisors may amend this Article for the sole purpose of setting and revising the amount of the registration fee required hereunder.

Sec. 1-6-49 Severability

The provisions of this Article are severable. If any provision of this Article or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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