California Lawmakers Tap Rich Loophole in Campaign Finance Law
Surprise, surprise. California lawmakers are increasingly exploiting a legal loophole to skirt campaign finance limits. Does this have a familiar ring?
Somewhat restrained by a $4,100 per election restriction on what they can solicit from individual contributors for their campaign accounts, lawmakers are taking advantage of “campaign measure” committees. That allows them to raise unlimited funds from special interests, ostensibly to support or oppose a ballot measure, but also to organize lavish junkets and dole out favors to friends, campaign consultants and others in their political machines.
A Sunday story by The Bee’s Torey Van Oot detailed how the top loophole exploiters are spending the money they raise. Las Vegas is a favored destination. Sen. Ed Hernandez, who has a “California College Opportunity” ballot committee, spent three-fourths of his committee funds on fundraising, including wining and dining 25 guests on an overnight stay at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, with dinner at Smith and Wolensky. Sen. Kevin de LeÃ³n, D-Los Angeles, held a fundraiser for his “Believing in a Better California” committee at a 2012 Las Vegas prizefight. Later he spent more than $2,000 on “thank you gloves” to 21 lobbyists and other power players who attended the fundraiser.
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