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California: somehow pols are evading the campaign finance laws. Who'd a thunk it?

From a press release of the Center for Governmental Studies: Loopholes, Tricks and End Runs: Evasions of Campaign Finance Laws, and a Model Law to Block Them, a new report issued today by the Center for Governmental Studies (CGS), concludes that while many campaign finance reforms have taken some of the negative influences of money out of electoral and governmental processes, they have been undermined by “loopholes” in existing laws that have allowed candidates and elected officials to raise money far in excess of existing contribution limits.

Loopholes, Tricks and End Runs describes “legal defense funds,” “charitable fundraising,” “political party fundraising,” “reimbursed travel,” “candidate-controlled ballot measure committees” and other devices that politicians use to collect large, and often undisclosed, payments from moneyed donors. The report recommends a comprehensive a model law to plug these loopholes and control the flow of money into politics.

Current campaign finance laws assume that these types of payments to candidates and elected officials are substantively different from the money politicians receive through regulated campaign committees, that they don’t unduly influence their recipients, and that they can be made in addition to the limits placed on normal campaign contributions.

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