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California Governor proposes cuts to FPPC budget

The state agency that polices the flow of money into California political campaigns has been targeted for deep cuts by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, even as the agency is looking into the governors' own use of campaign funds.

The cuts could force the Fair Political Practices Commission, formed in the aftermath of Watergate, to halt investigations. And watchdog groups that have criticized the agency as toothless in the past are now rushing to its defense.

"The public should take pause when elected officials are significantly cutting an agency that watches over their behavior," said Andy Draheim, spokesman for California Common Cause.

The controversy is erupting at a time when more money is flowing into state politics than ever. Ballot initiative campaigns with tabs of $10 million are routine. Once-obscure groups such as the state prison guards union have won significant contract gains. And Indian tribes flush with cash from casinos have been using it to curry favor in the Capitol as they seek to expand their gambling operations. -- Cuts at FPPC May Halt Probes (Los Angeles Times)