Jun 7, 2024 - News

Residents, Cleveland.com call for veto of council campaign finance ordinance

Photo illustration of Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb with lines radiating from him.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Sarah Rice for the Washington Post via Getty Images

Cleveland.com's editorial board and concerned residents have urged Mayor Justin Bibb to veto legislation passed by the city council this week, which doubles campaign contribution limits for council candidates.

Why it matters: The ordinance was passed on an expedited schedule — only four days after its introduction — in the face of resident opposition.

  • It passed 14-3 Monday night, with council members Rebecca Maurer, Charles Slife and Jenny Spencer voting against it.

By the numbers: The new annual limits will be $3,000 for individuals and $6,000 for PACs.

What they're saying: "Adopting lightning-fast emergency measures to thwart council challengers should offend all of us — including Bibb," the Cleveland.com editorial reads.

The latest: Residents who signed an open letter opposing the ordinance are gathering signatures for another letter urging Bibb to veto it.

  • "In passing this ordinance, Council opened the door to further corruption of the electoral process, in essence hanging a 'For Sale' sign on Cleveland City Hall," it reads.

The other side: Council president Blaine Griffin justified the legislation as a response to inflation and the increased costs of campaigns.

  • Other council members articulated a deeper motivation — fortifying incumbents against progressive challengers.

What we're watching: Tension between the Bibb administration and council is already high. Several council members speculated on Monday that Bibb, whom they perceive to be in league with progressive activists, was orchestrating a slate of challengers for the 2025 races.

  • A veto would likely inflame tensions further.

The bottom line: The Cleveland.com editorial acknowledged that a veto could mean a "clash" with the council but argued it was right to do it regardless.

What's next: Bibb has 10 days to sign, not sign or veto the ordinance.

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