Reacting to allegations that property tax agents slashed assessments for owners who gave money to John Noguez’s successful 2010 campaign for county assessor, the Board of Supervisors Tuesday discussed ways to limit and track campaign contributions from tax agents.
A lawyer with the County Counsel’s office put the brakes on discussion about banning tax agents from contributing to assessor campaigns all together, saying an outright ban—recommended by Supervisor Don Knabe—might be unconstitutional and violate free speech laws.
Knabe said county law already prohibits lobbyists from giving money to people running for public office.
Because of constitutional concerns in restricting political donations, John Krattil of the Office of the County Counsel suggested the board instead wait to see if Assembly Bill 404, which would mandate that counties ban contributions from tax agents to candidates for county office, passes.
The board voted 4-0 to move forward on all fronts: to seek an amendment to the state bill, direct lawyers to draft a local ban and to upgrade campaign contribution databases.