McCurdy: I won't raise money from lobbyists, special interests during session if I become state Dem chair

Freshman Democratic Assemblyman William McCurdy has committed not to raise money from anyone with interests before the Legislature during the 2017 session should he become state Democratic Party chairman.

McCurdy’s disclosure came in response to an inquiry from me for my Sunday column about a relatively meaningless ethics law.

The so-called blackout law says lawmakers cannot raise money for 30 days before and after the Legislature and during the session. In the past, the law has been found not to apply to lawmakers seeking federal office.

“This is an issue I looked into before I made my mind up to run for state party chair,” McCurdy said in an email. “A sizable proportion of the state party’s fundraising each cycle falls into the federal category. Even though it’s perfectly within the bounds of the law to raise federal funds for the state party, if I'm elected Chair I’ve committed to not raise any federal money during the blackout period from lobbyists or corporations with business before the legislature.”

That’s pretty admirable.

But it’s also clear that McCurdy, who is expected to have the backing of most elected Democrats, has thought through the fundraising issue. He added:

“Part of my agenda for the state party is long-term sustainability. To support year-round field/research/communications programs, I would invest in a more robust small-dollar fundraising program and form a Finance Council to make raising money a community effort, so that the focus of fundraising isn’t entirely on the Chair’s office. I'm also proud to have the support of many of the state's top elected Democrats and they've assured me they’ll work to ensure the party continues to be successful and well-funded for 2018 and beyond.”

The election is March 4 in Las Vegas. McCurdy is facing other relative unknowns, including Bernie Sanders backer Owen Carver, who has been endorsed by former Democratic National Committeewoman Erin Bilbray. Bilbray originally filed to run for chair, then dropped out a few days later to endorse Carver.