Saying that action must be taken to reduce the power of special interests in the State Capitol, Senate candidate Steve Glazer called on his election opponent, Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, to join him in making five clean government promises.
These pledges include a refusal to accept gifts, meals and drinks from groups influencing the lawmaking process; a ban on accepting campaign contributions during times when most laws are passed; and a commitment to publicly release secret candidate questionnaires.
The pledge would also ban tax free Per Diem payments for work in the State Capitol on weekends and holidays when a legislator is not present, and a prohibition on giving special interest campaign contributions to family members in the form of payment for services.
“The power of special interests in the State Capitol need to be curtailed,” said Glazer. “These five simple reforms will improve public confidence in our lawmaking process by scaling back the corrosive influence of campaign contributions, gifts and secret agreements.”
“Voters expect an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay,” said Glazer. “It is wrong to receive tax free Per Diem expenses for work in the State Capitol when you are at home on weekends and holidays.” The Per Diem rate is set by the State Board of Control and is currently set at $168 per day. *1
In February, Glazer challenged Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla to sign a transparency pledge that would require public release of all answers to special interest questionnaires. Glazer has not filled out any of these surveys, but has posted his positions on numerous issues on his webpage for all to see at GlazerforSenate.com. Thus far, Bonilla has refused to share her secret answers.
“In the final days of each legislative year when hundreds of proposed laws hang in the balance, special interests shower lawmakers with campaign contributions, gifts, food and drinks,” said Glazer. “I support a ban on gifts at all times and a prohibition against taking campaign money from these lobbying entities during the most impactful time in the legislative calendar.”
“Taking these five clean government actions will make our lawmaking process have more integrity and be more transparent and honest. I will follow this Clean Government Pledge. I hope my opponent will do so as well.”
Glazer currently serves as the Mayor of Orinda and a Trustee of the California State University 23-campus system.
Senate District 7 includes the communities of Alamo, Antioch, Bay Point, Bethel Island, Blackhawk, Brentwood, Byron, Clayton, Concord, Danville, Diablo, Discovery Bay, Dublin, Lafayette, Moraga, Oakley, Orinda, Pacheco, Pittsburg, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Sunol and Walnut Creek.
The general election will be held Tuesday, May 19.
*1 Sacramento Bee, January 15, 2015: “Under the state constitution, lawmakers receive daily tax-free living expenses on top of their salaries, as long as they are not out of session for more than three consecutive days. While the state Senate and Assembly usually meet on a Monday-Thursday schedule, the extra day will allow legislators to collect their per diem allowances over the holiday. The per diem rate rose slightly in October to $168, according to the Assembly Rules Committee, from $163 in the 2013-14 fiscal year.” Read more here.
Clean Government Pledge
Broad reform is needed to inject our lawmaking process with more integrity, transparency and honesty.
Today, special interests collude with candidates during an election on hidden promises in the form of secret candidate questionnaires.
These narrow interests shower elected officials with campaign contributions right before critical votes and provide them with gifts, including sports tickets, meals and drinks. Their campaign donations even go to support a lawmaker’s family.
Lawmakers supplement their state mandated salaries by arranging to be paid tax free Per Diem for working in the State Capitol on weekends and holidays when they are not even there. This is wrong!
We need to take important steps to limit the corrosive impact of special interest power and lawmaking abuse. I will follow this Clean Government Pledge. I hope my opponent will do so as well.
Clean Government Pledge
1. I will not accept any gift, including meals and beverages, from any special interest group who lobbies in the State Capitol.
2. I will publicly disclose every answer to any special interest questionnaire.
3. I will not pay family members from campaign contributions.
4. I will not accept any tax free Per Diem expense payments for work in the state Capitol on weekends and holidays.
5. I will not accept campaign contributions in the final 60 days of each legislative year from any individual or entity that has legislation under review. *1
*1 (July 15 – September 15 in first year of session and July 1 – August 30 in second year of legislative session)
In response, Bonilla offered the following:
“The influence of big money in politics is a serious problem – but half hearted campaign gimicks like Mr. Glazer’s ‘pledge’ won’t do anything to solve the problem. Real actions and real legislation will. I’ve taken a voluntary pay cut to help balance the budget and have been a steadfast supporter of the comprehensive clean money campaign finance reform bill in the legislature. While I’ve spent my career as a public servant championing important reforms like these – Glazer has spent his career as a high paid corporate political consultant helping special interests like big tobacco game the system.”
The election to fill the final 18 months of the unexpired term of now Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, will be held May 19.