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County plans to require more from campaign finance disclosures

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The Board of Supervisors today signaled its support for amending Riverside County's campaign finance regulations so candidates for county office would be required to publicly disclose via the Internet all contributions of $1,000 or more.

"This is a simple transparency issue," Supervisor Kevin Jeffries said. "It's not going to break or hurt anybody. Electronic filing saves time and money."

A county regulation approved by the board in 2011 requires that political contributions of $5,000 or more be posted on the Office of the Registrar of Voters' website during an election cycle.

A state law that took effect Jan. 1 allows local governing bodies to require that campaign contributions of $1,000 or more be posted online in the interest of public scrutiny.

Jeffries proposed an amendment to reflect the change in California law.

"This will make it easier for the media and voters to see who's contributing what," the supervisor said.

County Registrar of Voters Kari Verjil called electronic filing a "great success," noting that since it went into effect in 2011, staff workload has decreased because there's less time spent scanning, copying and e-filing documents, which candidates are required to do themselves when the amounts received exceed $5,000.

The proposed $1,000 threshold will necessitate amending the 2011 campaign finance disclosure ordinance.

If the board approves the amendment -- following at least two public hearings -- a candidate or political action committee would thereafter have to electronically post details of a contribution within 10 days.

The proposed revision would only affect candidates for county offices or ballot measures that are countywide in scope.

The Office of County Counsel is expected to draft a proposed amendment and bring it back for board consideration in the next couple of months.

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