Lake Forest Considers Restricting Political Contributions of Vendors

At their regular meeting Tuesday, Lake Forest City Council members will discuss potential restrictions on political contributions from vendors on city contracts.

In light of a new state laws impacting public contracting, including changes focused on monitoring prevailing wage for public works contracts, city is making several modifications of its standard template forms for public contracting.

At their Dec. 2 meeting, council member Jim Gardner – a former member of the Voice of OC Community Editorial Board – requested a legal analysis of whether the city could restrict political contributions from vendors, without violating First Amendment rights to political speech.

A report from the city attorney is recommending the council consider modeling its ordinance after the Levine Act, a state law restricting some appointed local officials from accepting, soliciting, or directing a direct campaign contribution of more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) from donors who are involved in license, permit or non-bid contracts, for three months after a decision is made.

The Levine Act also requires officials disclose their conflict and recuse themselves from a vote within twelve months of such a decision.

You can read the full staff report, which contains further legal analysis of the issue, and read the entire meeting agenda on the city website.