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California paper unearths another form of corruption -- oh, lordy

Rules written before the Internet explosion allow independent expenditure committees to request photos from candidates without violating regulations banning expenditures "made at the behest of" a candidate. Candidates' downloadable photo galleries comply with the law, an official said Friday.

"If all you're doing is getting a photo, then you still fall under the definition of independent expenditure," said Stephanie Dougherty of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.

Money-starved candidates are putting out the digital welcome mat. Candidates' Web site photo galleries offer a smorgasbord of possible campaign art. Most show the candidates with other elected officials. Candidates also appear with police officers and firefighters or strolling with their families.

Several photos from Emmerson's campaign Web site ended up in pro-Emmerson television commercials and brochures paid for by the California Dental Association's political action committee. -- Campaign funding loophole exploited (Press-Enterprise)