California Democratic Party and open-government groups fight proposal to lift contribution limits for legislative leaders

Faced with opposition from the California Democratic Party and open-government advocates, divided state lawmakers advanced a bill Tuesday that would increase the amount of campaign money that can be accepted by Democratic and Republican legislative leaders. The proposal approved Tuesday by a 3-2 vote of the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee would allow partisan caucuses in the Legislature to accept campaign contributions of $36,000 from individual sources for state races, up from the current limit of $4,400. The bill would also allow the caucus committees to make unlimited contributions to state candidates and accept unlimited funds for independent expenditures not coordinated with favored candidates. “AB 84 would be the biggest rollback of California’s campaign finance law in at least a decade,” Nicolas Heidorn of California Common Cause told the panel.

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