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L.A. Councilman Proposes Full Public Funding for City Campaigns

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Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, speaking at City Hall in 2015, wants voters to consider a proposal that would allow candidates to rely on taxpayer money rather than private contributions to fund their campaigns. (Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles lawmaker called Monday for the city to move to a public financing system for local elections, saying it would help address fears that wealthy donors buy influence at City Hall.

Councilman Mike Bonin said he wants voters to consider a proposal next year that would allow candidates to rely on taxpayer money rather than private contributions to fund their campaigns.

Under the voluntary system, candidates seeking public funding would have to gather a minimum number of small donations from their constituents to show that their campaigns are viable, then forgo any further fundraising. They would also have to promise not to heavily bankroll their own campaigns.

Bonin, who is running for reelection in the March 7 election, made his announcement a week after several council members proposed banning campaign contributions from real estate developers seeking city approvals. Although he signed on to that proposal, Bonin said the city should do more.

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