Joe Dunn Plans to Gather Citizen Signatures after Supervisors Refuse to Agendize Proposed Lobbyist Registration & Activity Disclosure Reforms
SANTA ANA, CA â€“ After the Orange County Board of Supervisors failed to agendize proposed reforms requiring lobbyists to register and report on their activities to influence county government on matters of public interest, Senator Joe Dunn (ret.) spoke during Public Comments, noting he filed a notice to circulate a petition before the voters.Â Confident taxpayers want County government to operate with transparency and accountability, Dunn plans to lead an effort to gather the nearly 73,000 signatures required to place the reforms on the November 2010 ballot.
While many counties including Los Angeles and San Diego have established reforms allowing the public to know who lobbies and on what issues, Orange County is one of the few counties with absolutely no requirements for lobbyists to register and report their activities.
â€œEspecially in a county where the citizens have strong beliefs that government should not operate in secrecy, we owe it to the taxpayers to tell the whole story about how business is being conducted at County government,â€ stated the retired lawmaker.
Dunn noted last monthâ€™s Grand Jury investigation which found the Countyâ€™s information technology department spent more than $45 million during the past four years on no-bid contracts. In nearly half of these cases, administrators failed to perform required internal checks, in violation of County policy.Â Another Grand Jury investigation into the Countyâ€™s investments in Structured Investment Vehicles found several breakdowns in the oversight process of the Countyâ€™s public funds.
Dunn points out that the absence of legal requirements for lobbyists to register and report their activities means there is no way for the public to know whether or not lobbying influence contributed to these problems.Â
During the next months, Dunn plans to build a coalition across the political spectrum to help give taxpayers more confidence in their elected officials â€“ especially when the publicâ€™s trust in government is at an all-time lowÂ Â â€“ through transparency created by these the reforms. He stressed that there should be no loopholes or exceptions in order to create â€œequal and fair play.â€
Added Shirley Grindle, government watchdog and author of the countyâ€™s campaign finance ordinance TINCUP, â€œCreating accountability and transparency in county government is a necessary goal.Â I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Joe Dunn on behalf of the publicâ€™s interests.â€
Click Here, for the proposed reforms.
The Orange County Register’s Jennifer Muir has a story hereÂ on the initiative.