“California D.A.s Call for Ban on Police Union Money and Endorsements in Prosecutorial Elections”

Eliahyu Kamisher reports for The Appeal:

But a ban on direct campaign contributions will have relatively little effect on the influence of police unions, said Robert Stern, a former attorney who has worked extensively on California campaign finance reform. He noted that the majority of their money is funneled through political action committees, or PACs, that are not subject to contribution limits.

The Los Angeles police union (LAPPL), through two PACs, spent $1 million toward defeating Gascón, who is opposing incumbent Jackie Lacey in a November runoff election for district attorney. Law enforcement groups also spent over $650,000 to oppose Boudin’s contentious run for San Francisco’s top prosecutor role. 

On Monday, the LAPPL focused its anger on Boudin and Gascón, accusing them in a statement of “exploiting the tragic and horrific death of George Floyd.” The union said there is no similar proposal to eliminate contributions from other special interest groups, including defense and civil attorneys. …

Stern said the bar is unlikely to regulate union spending or political support and a move to do so could run afoul of the First Amendment if taken to court.  

“It’s more of moral suasion than it would be law, I just don’t see how the unions would be stopped from doing it,” said Stern, who served as the first general counsel of California’s Fair Political Practices Commission.


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