By John Pinkney
Government has a responsibility to abide by a most sacred and honorable code of ethics, sound doctrine and unified state of mind in all matters of justice, equity and legal, executive, and judicial matters. Government has enabled more transparency in their decision-making process. One law that enables a fair process and limits contributors from influencing officials is Section 84308, called “pay-to-play.”
First, in this section of the law, public officials may not be unfairly influenced. If they feel their rights are violated, they must challenge the issue with the contributor in question and may potentially bring the matter to a court proceeding. The law limits pay-to-play scenarios. As such, Section 84308 disfavors three specifically related actions.
The first involves when any party, whether with or without an agency, seeks to license, permit or otherwise self-entitle to usage rights in attempts to contribute more than $250
to an agent or officer during a pending proceeding.
The second prohibited legal action occurs when agency officers solicit such contributions during the proceeding or anytime until three months following the proceeding’s official date of closure.
Agency officials may not likewise participate in any discussion or active decision regarding such license, entitlement or permit if they have recently received $250 or more in contributions from any fellow agent, participant or other related party.
Section 84308′s regulation mainly applies to agencies and not individuals, and certain agencies are exempt. Such include judicial branch agencies, legislatures, the Board of Equalization or BOE, constitutional officers and local agencies with voter-elected members.
On certain conditions, some agency committees may also be exempt. For example, such exemption qualifies if the committee is comprised solely of the governing body’s members or if the governing body acts for other agencies. For more information on your case or municipal law, contact our Coachella Valley government law firm.