Independent Money Favors Incumbent John Lee in L.A. Council District 12 Race

John Lee, Los Angeles City Councilman
John Lee, Los Angeles City Councilman

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles Ethics Commission lifted the campaign-expenditure limit today in the primary election for City Council District 12, in the Northwest San Fernando Valley, as a result of independent spending.

Candidates who participate in the city’s matching funds program must limit their campaign spending in both the primary and general elections. However, the expenditure ceiling is lifted when independent spending in a specific race reaches a certain threshold, depending on the elected office in question, according to the Ethics Commission.

For a City Council race, the threshold is $86,000 spent in one election to support or oppose one candidate.

There are two candidates on the CD 12 primary election ballot, current City Councilman John Lee and astrophysicist and educator Loraine Lundquist, who lost to Lee in the special election in August. Asaad Alnajjar is the only qualified write-in candidate thus far in the CD 12 primary race.

To date, independent spending of $100,330 has been reported in support of Lee, and independent spending in the amount of $583 has been reported in support of Lundquist. Alnajjar has not incurred any independent spending.

Most of the money supporting Lee has come from transportation workers, electrical workers and firefighters unions. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 has spent more than $52,000 in the Lee election effort.

Lundquist’s independent support has come solely from the Courage California State PAC, but she did qualify for more than $147,000 in matching funds, and has out-spent Lee almost twofold from her campaign funds. Lee has spent $72,026 campaigning against Lundquist, who has spent $131,574, according to Ethics Commission records.

Independent spending involves a person or organization spending money on political communication that supports or opposes a candidate or ballot measure and the communication is not coordinated with nor authorized by the candidate.

Independent expenditures must be reported to the Ethics Commission within 24 hours.

Additional information about the candidates, independent spending and political communications in the CD 12 primary election is available on the commission’s Election Totals page at

Campaign activity and political communications can also be searched on the commission’s Public Data Portal at