FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Kim Alexander
145 LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES AND INCUMBENTS SIGNCITIZENS' PLEDGE TO ETHICAL CONDUCT
SACRAMENTO -- Today the California Voter Foundation (CVF) announced that 145 legislative candidates and incumbents have signed the Statement of Accountability, pledging to adopt and follow ethical standards and conduct.
The Statement of Accountability was drafted over a five-month period by a group of San Jose-area citizens involved with Your Voices Count, a non-partisan civic journalism project designed to help the public get involved in the issue of how money influences the California State Legislature.
CVF Executive Director Kim Alexander said that the number of candidates who have signed the pledge so far represents one-third of this year's legislative candidates. CVF will continue to accept pledges throughout the election year and maintain an online "scorecard" identifying which candidates and lawmakers have signed the pledge. A package of information about the Statement of Accountability, including the text of the pledge, the scorecards, and related news articles, is available through CVF's homepage:
"The Statement of Accountability is the product of a non-partisan citizen effort to address the corrupting influence of money in the California State Legislature," Alexander said. "The citizens who drafted the Statement of Accountability come from all types of political perspectives, yet strongly agree on one point: citizens have a role to play in cleaning up California politics." Alexander also noted that the pledge provides a way for California voters to find out where candidates stand on the issue of money and politics.
Specifically, the legislators and candidates who have signed the Statement of Accountability have promised to:
- Report colleagues who behave illegally or unethically to the appropriate authorities;
- Refuse to participate in action that would pose a conflict of interest;
- Decline gifts that appear to be linked to legislation;
- Support bipartisan efforts to reduce the influence of money in the Legislature;
- Treat colleagues and constituents with dignity and respect;
- Vote their conscience and put the interests of their districts before those of contributors;
- Conduct legislative business openly;
- Ensure that campaigning does not interfere with legislative duties;
- Avoid personal attacks while campaigning; and
- Take full responsibility for the actions of campaign staff.
The pledge was delivered twice in January to all 118 legislators, and was mailed to the 418 legislative candidates on February 8th. So far, 29 of the 118 sitting lawmakers have signed the Statement of Accountability, 24 of whom are candidates this year. Another 116 non-incumbent candidates have also signed the pledge, bringing the total signature count to 145. Your Voices Count members have vowed to monitor the pledge, and are hopeful that the news media and citizens throughout the state will join in the effort.
Your Voices Count is one of numerous civic journalism projects experimenting with ways for the news media to help citizens engage in public issues. CVF, along with the San Jose Mercury News and KNTV, San Jose's ABC affiliate, launched Your Voices Count in June, 1995. The project, which received financial support from the Pew Center for Civic Journalism, concludes this month; project participants, however, plan to continue working together to promote accountability in state government.
Copies of the Statement of Accountability and Candidate Scorecard are available through the California Voter Foundation. The California Voter Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to shaping a more informed and engaged California electorate.
STATEMENT OF ACCOUNTABILITY: LIST CANDIDATES WHO HAVE TAKEN THE PLEDGE, AS OF MARCH 18, 1996:
KEY CODE:* - denotes legislative incumbents SD = Senate District AD = Assembly District D = Democratic Party R = Republican Party L = Libertarian Party NL = Natural Law Party REF = Reform Party I = Independent G = Green Party