Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Created: 12/11/2011 08:25:53 PM PST

Campaign-finance limits and tougher penalties for violating them are on a list of reforms submitted to San Bernardino County supervisors by an ethics advisory group formed by Supervisor Janice Rutherford.

Rutherford, who campaigned on a platform of governmental reform amid continuing corruption scandals in the county, said she will begin working on reform ordinances – targeted at people in county office and people who aspire to it – next month.

They will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.

“I think they’re all great ideas and take positive steps toward demonstrating to the people that we really plan on conducting ourselves differently in San Bernardino County,” Rutherford said.

The advisory group – composed of businessmen, politicians, an educator and a rabbi – has proposed the following seven reforms:

Campaign-finance limits and penalties consistent with those of state legislators. Penalties could range from three times the amount the individual failed to report or unlawfully contributed, up to $10,000.

Have the state Fair Political Practices Commission enforce the county’s campaign- finance ordinances. In addition, the group recommends that the Board of Supervisors guarantee continued funding of the District Attorney’s Office’s Public Integrity Unit.

An ordinance requiring political lobbying businesses to register with the clerk of the board. The group proposed that the rules could be modeled after California’s lobbyist requirements.

A policy prohibiting staff members of elected county officials from being paid staff members on their political campaigns. In addition, the group recommends that elected officials prohibit their staff from volunteering on their campaigns.

A charter amendment to include the county’s new governance structure and to remove outdated and overly broad language that is no longer relevant to how the county operates today.

An ordinance requiring elected officials to disclose gifts on a rolling quarterly basis. Gifts from lobbyists registered with the clerk of the board should be limited to $10 in one rolling calendar year.

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