Candidates for the West Covina City Council have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city’s 2015 law that places a $500 limit on the amount an individual can give to a candidate for City Council.

Frank Weiser, an attorney for Hossein Rambod Sotoodeh, one of four candidates in the Nov. 8 District 5 election, filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Oct. 25. I went to court on Thursday.

Weiser said at issue was the West Covina Act, which “completely violates the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit case law.”

“Setting the limits low favors incumbents,” he said. “My client is unable to raise enough funds to run a viable campaign.”

Hossein Rambod Sotoodeh (provided photo)
Hossein Rambod Sotoodeh (provided photo)

As of Sept. 24, Sotoodeh has so far raised no money, according to his campaign funding documents filed with the city hall.

In 2006, in Randall v. Sorrell, the U.S. Supreme Court passed a Vermont law limiting candidates for governor and other statewide civil servants to a maximum of $400, senators to $300, and congressmen to $200. invalidated, Weiser said in the lawsuit.

Mayor David Carmany did not return two phone messages left on office voicemails, while incumbent District 5 legislator Tony Wu defended the law.

“I think $500 is a good rule, so I have no particular interest,” Wu said.

Otherwise, democracy is in danger, he said.

Campaign donations have been an issue in West Covina before and after the 2015 law was passed.

In 2013, issues were raised after three campaigns in West Covina were mostly funded by corporations.

In 2017, in an attempt to limit the influence of special interest groups in local elections, the city council passed an ordinance prohibiting city contractors from providing campaign funds to city council members, the city clerk, and the city treasurer. Adopted.

The Montebello City Council voted in 2021 and decided to impose an annual campaign contribution limit of $5,000 per candidate.

The council was forced to address this issue in order to comply with state laws that set default limits on campaign contributions. Congressman Kevin Mullin (D-San Mateo) wrote AB 571 and said it would impose the same restrictions that state officials have today.

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