(January 8, 2003) -- In the second of a pair of closely watched cases on which the future of much of LB's Campaign Reform Act (Prop M) depended, a CA Court of Appeal has upheld City Hall's power to pursue civil enforcement of the voter-enacted ordinance...this time applied to activities by the CA Republican Party which in April 2003 backed a candidate for Mayor.
The victory means a clean sweep for LB City Attorney Bob Shannon, who personally argued both cases before separate three-judge panels of the 2d district CA Court of Appeals...and prevailed in both.
In the latest ruling, the appellate court reversed a lower court and reinstated a City Hall civil enforcement action that alleges the CA GOP violated Prop M's expenditure limit with April 2002 actions -- not directed or controlled by a candidate -- that supported Norm Ryan for Mayor.
The CA GOP, which denies any wrongdoing, argued that its actions were 1st Amendment protected speech in communication with party members who are registered Republicans.
In upholding City Hall's pursuit of its Prop M civil enforcement action, the Court of Appeal noted that a separate appellate panel had (in Aug. 2003) upheld a LB Prop M civil enforcement action against CA Citizens for Neighborhood Empowerment (CCNE). CCNE, an independent committee not directed or controlled by a candidate, backed then-Mayoral candidate Dan Baker in the April 2002 election. City Hall's civil enforcement action alleges CCNE violated Prop M by accepting contributions in excess of Prop M's limits.
CCNE denies any wrongdoing...and neither Ryan nor Baker are alleged to have committed any wrongdoing in either case.
The CCNE case is now being litigated...and the CA GOP case is now also remanded (sent back) to the trial court to proceed.
The Court of Appeal said issues such as whether Prop M is preempted by state law and whether the CA Republican Party broke any law "are a matter for decision in the trial court in the first instance upon remand of the case."
In the CCNE case, the Court of Appeal ruled LB's civil enforcement action was not subject to dismissal under the state's anti-SLAPP suit law and ordered that ruling certified for publication so it can be cited as precedent in subsequent cases. The Court of Appeal ruling in the CA GOP case is not certified for publication, but the CCNE opinion -- a key decision -- remains published precedent.
As in the CCNE case, the appellate court in the CA GOP case awarded LB City Hall its costs on appeal.
City Att'y Wins Big Reversal In Court of Appeal: Justices Say LB Campaign Reform Act Isn't Subject To Anti-SLAPP Suit Defense, Reinstate Prop M Enforcement Action Against CCNE (stemming from April 2002 election) (includes Court of Appeal opinion)
Read Briefs By Both Sides In City of LB Appeal Of Lower Court Dismissal Of City's Prop M (LB Campaign Reform Act) Civil Enforcement Action Against CCNE
Court of Appeal Hears Oral Argument In CCNE / LB Campaign Reform Act Case