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Lobbyist Sues to Block Ballot Item Limiting Campaign Cash

Miami Herald

A Miami-Dade lobbyist [Eric Zichella] on Monday joined the court fight against a ballot item that would sharply limit campaign donations as advocates release a study claiming smaller donors to local races better reflect the county’s diversity.[...]

The ballot item would ban Miami-Dade contractors and their lobbyists from donating to county candidates, and lower the maximum campaign contribution from $1,000 to $250. That cap is the subject of a new report from advocates of the ballot item claiming large donations in Miami-Dade tend to come from white, non-Hispanic donors.

Demos, a New York-based advocacy group, analyzed six months of campaign donations in Miami-Dade’s commission and mayoral races in late 2015 and early 2016. The study found that while about two-thirds of Miami-Dade’s population is Hispanic, that demographic only accounted for about 40 percent of donations over $1,000. Almost half of donors to commission races are non-Hispanic white, according to the study, far higher than that demographic’s 15 percent share of the population.[...]

Zichella has given at least $15,000 to county candidates during the 2016 cycle. While the proposed measure wouldn’t ban his donations outright, Zichella couldn’t give if one of his clients held a county contract worth more than $250,000 a year.[...]

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