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Rattling the TIN CUP Law at Harriett Wieder's Campaign

May 22, 1988

The May 15 Los Angeles Times editorial identified a loophole in the TIN CUP (Time Is Now, Clean Up Politics) ordinance. The ordinance does contain a loophole; however, the source of the problem lies elsewhere.

The TIN CUP ordinance was designed to prevent the selling of Board of Supervisors votes, through political contributions, to the highest bidder. The district attorney is charged with enforcing the TIN CUP ordinance. Since the Board of Supervisors and the district attorney receive contributions from the same sources, a conflict of interests exists.

The current state of enforcement regarding political contributions only benefits those who desire to circumvent a county ordinance and keep their political war chests full. Providing the district attorney performs his obligation under the TIN CUP ordinance, those who circumvent TIN CUP will ultimately answer to the voters.

To avoid waiting for an election to remedy inadequate enforcement, it would be simpler for the district attorney to inform the grand jury of provisions in state law that allow the grand jury to use independent investigators. The grand jury could utilize qualified volunteers as independent investigators to monitor political contributions. These volunteers, effectively, would end the fox-watching-the-hen-house situation that now exists.

STEVEN A. KINGSTON

San Clemente

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