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California will close a loophole in campaign finance laws

The Los Angeles Times reports:

State officials are moving to bar lawmakers from taking donations of unlimited size in campaign accounts created before new contribution caps took hold.

The Fair Political Practices Commission is expected next week to reverse a decision it made in 2001 that allowed such fundraising. The decision created a loophole used by Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, state Senate leader John Burton (D-San Francisco), Assembly Speaker Herb Wesson (D-Culver City) and other officeholders to tap donors for millions above current contribution limits.

In a memo recommending the reversal, the commission's attorneys said the "potential loophole ... may give some candidates an unnecessary and unfair advantage."

"By amending the regulation," the nine-page memo says, "the commission can ensure that incumbents and challengers conduct their campaigns under the same set of rules and that neither has an unfair advantage over the other."

Advocates of campaign finance limits praised the commission for moving toward repeal of the 2001 rule. The board is expected to act Wednesday.