JD, Bob Stern is past President of the Center for Governmental Studies, where he studied the government process for nearly 30 years. He was the co-author of numerous books, including the Center's Democracy by Initiative: Shaping California’s Fourth Branch of Government. He was a principal co-author of the Political Reform Act of 1974 (Proposition 9), passed by 70% of California voters, and called by the 2015 book, Game Changers, one of the 12 most important election results in California history. He was the first general counsel of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the agency in charge of administering California’s campaign disclosure, ethics and lobbying laws. He also worked for Jerry Brown when he was the Secretary of State and for Henry Waxman, when he was a state legislator. The Washington Monthly magazine described him as a “campaign finance guru," and Peter Schrag, in the Sacramento Bee, called him the “godfather of modern political reform in California.” In April, 2022, he was given California Common Cause’s Democracy Hero award, and in 2023, the Los Angeles Times editorial board called him “one of the state's foremost political ethics experts.”
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