Political donors circumventing California's donation limits

Political interests are funneling massive sums to California's elected leaders through methods that "legally circumvent" contribution limits, the state's nonpartisan political watchdog has found.

"The mad scramble for special-interest dollars continues to create profound concerns for the future of representative democracy," the Fair Political Practices Commission said in a report released Monday.

More than $1 billion has been raised by legislative or statewide candidates and officeholders since voters enacted strict limits on the size of campaign contributions by passing Proposition 34 in November 2000.

State law limits the size of donations to campaign and re-election committees but allows donors to contribute unlimited sums to other kinds of candidate-controlled committees, the FPPC found.

Politicians legally can – and do – solicit big bucks to ballot measure committees they control, legal defense funds, pet causes or other accounts, the 35-page report said.

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