SF may prohibit lobbyists from making candidate contributions

Voters overwhelmingly approved increased transparency of lobbying activity in San Francisco last week with the approval of Prop. C. And they may soon be asked to prohibit registered lobbyists from making political contributions.

The Ethics Commission requires lobbyists to report their individual contributions, which are limited at $500 per candidate, in addition to the contributions they helped arrange, such as at fundraising events.

Jon Golinger, who helped lead the campaign against the politically well connected 8 Washington development, announced Tuesday he plans to run an “evict the lobbyists” campaign to place a measure on the June ballot that would prohibit registered lobbyists from making contributions to candidates. The measure would not prohibit lobbyists from arranging contributions for candidates.

In making his announcement, Golinger noted some of San Francisco’s top lobbyists who have raised big dollars for candidates this past election. The top five are: Alex Tourk, Ground Floor Public Affairs, at $88,024; Samuel Lauter, BMWL & Partners, at $38,850; Chris Gruwell and David Noyola, Platinum Advisors, at $26,850; Rich Peterson, Charles Goodyear and Boe Hayward, Goodyear, Peterson, Hayward & Associates, at $25,250 and Carmela Clendening, Salesforce, at $22,430.

“Lobbying may have its place, but the unchecked influence of massive amounts of money on public policy is inevitably corrosive, ultimately resulting in bad choices,” Golinger said in a statement.

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