Sunrise Will Ban Campaign Contributions By Key City Hall Officials






Inspired by the ethics controversy sweeping the Broward Elections Office, Sunrise officials are ready to ban campaign contributions from three key officials to any Sunrise election.

Mayor Mike Ryan suggested the new prohibition.

The ban would forbid the City Clerk, City Attorney and Deputy City Attorney from donating to any Sunrise municipal candidate.

The mayor publicly clashed with Elections Office attorney Burnadette Norris-Weeks after he suggested Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes might want to ban her from contributing to campaigns. That e-mail exchange can be seen here.  An earlier public e-mail from Ryan can be seen here. 

Ryan told that his proposal has been unanimously supported by the City Commission, who also wanted the City Manager and Police Chief included as charter officers.   Ryan said the prohibition was backed by officials affected by the ban.

The new law will be prepared and voted on later this year.

Ryan said there is a “strong governmental interests in protecting the integrity of elections and preventing even the appearance of impropriety or a conflict of interest in elections, combined with the narrow prohibition to be only as to elections in which these positions could play a role, makes this prohibition legal and constitutional.  Additionally, the City Clerk, the City Attorney and the Assistant City Attorney welcomed this prohibition and I suspect would voluntarily agree to the waive of any implicated ‘free speech’ rights as it relates to the right to make campaign contributions in Sunrise elections.”

He has e-mailed other Broward cities to determine whether they also have researched or instituted such a ban.

City Attorneys and their offices are contributors to the campaigns of incumbent commissioners in several Broward municipalities, perhaps as a way to insure their continued employment.



19 Responses to “Sunrise Will Ban Campaign Contributions By Key City Hall Officials”

  1. Maybe! says:

    Why would anyone sign a form that gives up a basic right of the Constitution of the United States that is dangerous territory. Just ban it but do not ask someone to give up a right.

  2. Usual bull sheet says:

    The wife of the city attorney can give as well as the husband of the clerk and the girlfriend of the deputy city attorney. Any of their corps can give too… All sizzle no steak

  3. Mark Bogen says:

    I applaud the City of Sunrise for taking this action to protect the integrity of future elections and avoid the appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest.

    Mark Bogen
    Broward County Commissioner.
    District 2

  4. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    As any serious student of legal history, government or politics knows Quintus Hortensius Hortalus became one of the richest men of First Century Before Christ Rome by being a lawyer, although lawyers were prohibited from charging for their services. Marcus Tullius Cicero likewise followed in his footsteps, accumulating wealth and a great number of summer Villas all over Sothern Italy in the same manner as his younger colleague. How did they do this?
    The Roman Republic banned payments to lawyers but not Saturnalia (the precursor of Christmas, why Christmas is in December instead of April when Jesus was probably born if you go by the lunar calendar) gifts, exchanges of farms and villas of unequal value or legacies in wills!
    Lawyers smell ways to get around badly written laws like boars go after truffles.
    This idea is useless! The way officials in South Florida line each others pockets is not usually with two bit campaign contributions but by giving variances, contracts, “of counsel” or “outside counsel” or lobbying jobs. Sure the proposed city ordinance would effect three insignificant officials but not MAYOR RYAN’s income or campaign contributions or those of his colleagues on the Sunrise City Commission. LOOK ANY DECENT LAWYER WHO SERVES ON A CITY COMMISSION OR THE COUNTY COMMISSION OR IN ANY OFFICE CAN MAKE A GREAT LIVIING IF HE OR SHE HAS TALENT WITHOUT ACCEPTING EITHER CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS, GIVING CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS,OR ACCEPTING ANY BUSINESS FROM ANY OTHER GOVERNMENT AGENCY OR ENTITY. YOU’LL NEVER SEE MAYOR MIKE RYAN EVER SUPPORT THAT! Because, when push comes to shove, its not about REFORM or HONESTY but simply attacking Political opponents or people who have opposed him in this or that case. And the idea that suddenly Sunrise Mayor Mike Ryan is “energizing Reform” in Broward County is a laugh!

  5. Richard J Kaplan says:


    Following Mayor Ryan’s lead, I am sponsoring similar legislation in Lauderhill as applied to Charter Officers. It will prohibit them from contributing to, or being involved in any campaign except as required as part of their official duties.

    This only prohibits such actions in Lauderhill municipal elections and not to any election outside of the city. So they are free to do as they wish in other cities, counties, etc.

    The response by staff effected by this new law has been supportive since it has been the unofficial policy of the city and is consistent already with the ethical duties of organizations they belong to and/or their personal view.

  6. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:


    Why not just go to taxpayer funded campaigning? No private or personal money allowed at all.

    Everybody who qualifies by showing enough registered voter signatures on a petition gets the same amount from the government entity they seek to serve. You run your campaign from that allocation, no exceptions on contributions. It’s fair and affordable because citizens and businesses will save tons in the long run.

    The measures discussed above are helpful and deserve consideration. But ultimately, they’re just variations on the larger theme. Why operate on the basis of half measures? Reform campaign finance completely and you go much further toward restoring public trust to government.


  7. Where is the fire? says:

    Buddy can you post any donations given by these city positions from any city in Broward? Is this just more bloviating about Broward County ethics which remove constitutional rights from its citizens?


    It doesn’t remove constitutional rights from anybody. People who want the jobs would agree not to donate money. If they want to keep the right to donate money, they don’t have to hold that job.

    Waving certain constitutional rights is not an unusual requirement of a job. Judges are forbidden from saying certain things. They give up the absolute free speech right to be a judge. Many employees agree to be searched at any time or to take a drug test at any time– waving the 4th and 5th Amendments against self-incrimination and a warrantless search.

  8. Kevin Hill says:

    I don’t care what municipal or county ordinances, or state or federal law say:

    ANY elected official who solicits or takes campaign contributions from people over whom they have hiring and firing power is FUNDAMENTALLY CORRUPT.

    That’s some serious Tammany Hall stuff right there.


  9. Realist says:

    This is common sense. I’ve also heard that Ms. Weeks has been calling around to the Broward Mayors’ asking them to not support this common sense ethics policy. What her basis for asking them not to support it is beyond me. I can’t think of one reason why it shouldn’t have 100% support.

    And @maybe! they are literally signing away their rights, by agreeing to the policy, understanding its best for the voters, they are waiving their right to get involved in campaigns that they might be called to give advice on.


    I applaud Commissioner Bogen, Mayor Ryan and Mayor Kaplan.. I hope the other cities fall in line and follow suit..

  10. Caitlyn says:


    Now, I know this defies all conventional wisdom trends and styles, Yet I’ve considered my decision carefully and just feel it will be better for all concerned…not reading the comments made from someone who exhibits poor judgment with comments on social media and then responds with vulgarity is not an easy choice to make but in reaching this difficult decision I hope all of you will understand.

  11. No Brainer says:

    I understand #1’s point, but I would surprised if the City Clerk, City Attorney and Deputy City Attorney didn’t want to go along with this. Giving up the “right” to make contributions to your bosses is a no-brainer. “Sure, I would love to contribute $500 to every commissioners’ campaign. Oh yeah, the law prohibits me from doing that. I even signed away my “right” to make contributions.”

    Every city and the county should have similar rules. Why is there even a question that the one office which is charged with making sure we have fair elections doesn’t have this requirement?

  12. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Dear 10:

    Up yours, worm.


  13. wendy's brother says:


    What a class act you are!

  14. Really Dude? says:

    @commissioner angelo Castillo – You are a perfect example of why I wouldn’t support a public financing of campaigns – I would never want 1 penny going to a guy who is a “commissioner” and gets on a blog and says “up yours, worm” – very classy, you must make your constituents proud!

  15. Ha Ha Ha says:

    @14 – Public financing of campaigns could come with certain conditions. Violating those conditions could result in the loss of funding.

  16. Really from Angelo? says:

    I doubt comment #12 was really from Commissioner Angelo Castillo, it was under 700 words.

  17. Mitch Mi says:

    This is not a real issue. Bogen is upset that he did not get his way with Snipes. Ryan thinks he is king of all Broward mayors and looking to run for a higher office. Ryan works for Skip Campbell’s firm. Campbell’s son works in Bogen’s office. Let’s just say, the boys are hard at work.

  18. Knows Stuff says:

    Any city people in Sunrise who would be hurt by losing their right to participate should call Attorney Bill Scherer to file a lawsuit. BTW Ryan, we have bigger problems like crappy water and bad roads.

  19. Barry Williamson says:

    To Usual Bull Sheet…Sunrise’s city attorney is a woman. Why do you assume that a city attorney has to be a man?