Bill Mason's handpicked campaign finance reform panel continues to slog away at possible improvements to local elections. Their meetings — held during business hours and mostly at the Justice Center - have been sparsely attended, but the panel is now ready to get public input and share ideas with a wider audience.
The forum will take place Tuesday, April 27 at 7 p.m. in Independence, at the Independence Civic Center at 6363 Selig Drive. Panelists say they welcome ideas from people concerned about the influence of campaign contributions on local elections and public policy.
The group is crafting recommendations to pass along to the new county government that takes office in 2011. At the panel’s last meeting April 14, the group agreed upon its first recommendation: that all candidates for county offices file campaign finance reports electronically. The panel is suggesting that county leaders adopt an extensive electronic filing system in three phases over 36 months.
However, the group is stuck on how to implement a lobbyist registration system for Cuyahoga County, and how those rules might be enforced. The vagueness of the new county charter (as reported by Scene in “Some Sunshine, But Mostly Cloudy,” April 14) isn’t helping. When panelist/lawyer Subodh Chandra asked Mason if the new county council will have the power to adopt its own criminal statutes to possibly enforce campaign finance rules, Mason responded: “That’s a good question.”
Information about the group’s past work and meeting schedule can be found here. — Damian Guevara