(The following was originally published on the LPLAC website.)
Yesterday, under the direction of LPLAC’s Executive Committee, I mailed papers (Form 410) to the California Secretary of State, registering LPLAC as a “Recipient Committee” under California law. Registration is required for political organizations that receive $1000 or more in a given year or contribute $500 or more to any single candidate. Registration comes with semi-annual reporting requirements, including the requirement to report the identities of any donor contributing $100 or more in any given year.
Once the papers are processed by the Secretary of State, LPLAC will become the first and (for the time being) the only registered Libertarian Party county committee in Southern California. The Libertarian Party of California has registered two committees, one for general operations and one for candidate support. Sacramento County is the only registered Libertarian county committee in Northern California. These four are the only Libertarian Party-affiliated committees currently registered in California.
As a registered committee, LPLAC will be free to raise money and make monetary contributions to candidates and political causes throughout LA County. This may be of interest to candidates who are able to garner $1000 or more in contributions, but not able to manage the reporting requirements associated with forming a committee. Donors directed to LPLAC by candidates may earmark funds to use in support of a specific campaign, and these funds will be spent at the direction of the LPLAC Executive Committee for the designated purpose. Candidates desiring more control over how donations are spent will have to form their own campaign committees. Infrastructure for receiving and allocating candidate donations to LPLAC is not currently set up, but stay tuned for further developments.
LPLAC may support a limited number of statewide candidates, but is generally limited to supporting candidates running for local or California offices based in LA County only. LPLAC has no plans to support candidates running for Federal office for the foreseeable future. Federal political activity carries with it an independent set of reporting requirements that LPLAC is not currently equipped to manage. Candidates for Federal offices will, for the time being, need to form their own federally-registered committees and/or work with a federally registered PAC independently of the California Libertarian Party.
Candidates outside of LA County may contact the LPC Candidate Support Committee for questions regarding donations and support. The Treasurer of the statewide candidate support committee is Northern Vice-Chair Gale Morgan, who can be reached at . Candidates or officers of county committees in Southern California with questions about receiving support or State reporting requirements may contact the Southern Vice-Chair Jonathan Jaech at .
Campaign Finance Laws are often justified as enabling the public to obtain information about who is donating to which campaigns, as if having this information could actually prevent political favoritism. In reality, the information primarily discourages support for non-incumbent candidates or controversial causes, because it enables those in power and political zealots to know the identities of their political opponents, and take retribution. In addition, campaign finance reporting requirements present another hurdle for independent or minor party candidates who are not well-funded, and thereby suppress competition for political offices. Libertarians may wish to reform or eliminate such laws, but so long as they exist and are enforced, we may as well exploit them to help achieve our political goals.