Proposed California Bill Would Allow Campaign Funds to be used for Babysitting Costs
California Assemblyman Rob Bonta introduced Assembly Bill 220 (AB 220) last week, which would allow candidates to use campaign funds to pay for childcare expenses. Campaign funds are not currently allowed for things such as ongoing childcare or everyday clothing expenses because both are personal expenses. AB 220 would change the Political Reform Act of 1974, which prohibits the use of campaign funds to pay for professional services not directly related to a political, legislative, or governmental purpose. Assemblyman Bonta stated the following regarding his proposed legislation,
Parents of young children bring an important perspective to policy-making and should be encouraged to enter the political arena and serve. Our campaign laws should support candidates with young children and reflect our California values of inclusion, equity and opportunity. AB 220 will help create greater gender parity among elected officials in California and more broadly help all parents with young children who seek or serve in public office by allowing the use of campaign funds for child care expenses.
The proposed bill just might have a chance of being passed thanks to the precedent set by a Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruling. Last year, the FEC ruled to allow a female candidate from New York running for Congress to use some of her campaign funds to cover child care costs, mainly due to the fact that she worked from home as a consultant while providing full-time care for her children. Assemblyman Bonta believes that more women would run for public office if they could use campaign funds to pay for childcare. We will have to wait and see if the proposed bill is passed.